Sr. Mary Ita Hayes – 65 Years

Sister Mary Ita was born in Melrose, raised in Medford, Massachusetts, and entered the Community in 1953.

In her early years as a Mission Helper she conducted religious education programs for adults and children in parishes—large and small—in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Massachusetts.

In 1977 she became an advisor to the Mission Helpers Community Service Board, where she served until 1980 when she was elected president.  During her eight years as president, the Community created Mission Helper Productions, an independent video production facility, and participated in planning for The Villa, a joint venture retirement community with the Sisters of Mercy.

During her tenure the Community re-established its mission in Puerto Rico and decided to re-direct the mission in Venezuela to the remote, impoverished region of Manzanita.

At the end of her presidency, she spent five months studying Spanish at Maryknoll Language Institute in Bolivia and living with a local family—an experience that she says was “one of the best times of my life.”

She then spent eight months in a volunteer ministry in Puerto Rico before returning to her native Massachusetts and serving for six years as pastoral associate at St. Benedict Parish in Somerville and St. Joseph Parish in Malden.  In 1996 Sister Mary Ita moved to Altamonte Springs, Florida, and served as the marriage preparation coordinator at Church of the Annunciation.

Today she lives at Village Crossroads, a senior community in Baltimore County where she participates in a prayer group and provides spiritual support for the residents.

Sister Mary Ita has a B.A. in Sociology from Notre Dame University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Providence College in Rhode Island.