Sister Mary Lois Speaks, 72, an Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph, died May 6, 2017, in her 54th year as an Ursuline Sister. She was a native of Henderson, Ky.
Sister Mary Lois greeted everyone with a wide smile, and was always available with a listening heart. She loved nature and teaching, fought for social justice issues and helped organize the Ursuline Associates as their second director from 1991-96.
Sister Mary Lois was a teacher in Kentucky at St. Ignatius School, Louisville (1966), St. Alphonsus School, St. Joseph (1966-67) and Blessed Mother School, Owensboro (1967). She also taught at St. John School, Plattsmouth, Neb. (1968-70). She was principal at Sacred Heart School, Russellville, Ky., (1970-72) and St. Leonard School, Louisville (1976-79). She was parish coordinator at St. Pius X Parish, Owensboro, (1972-76) and at St. Columba Parish, Louisville (1979-82).
She served as the charismatic renewal coordinator for the Archdiocese of Louisville (1982-89), then in 1991 became director of the Ursuline Associates, beginning an advisory board and a newsletter, both of which continue today. In 1997 she moved to Marion County, Ky., where she served briefly at the Marion County Adjustment Center and then for 14 years at Marion County High School. She retired in 2011, but remained in Marion County offering spiritual direction to those in need until 2017. Sister Mary Lois also served a term as the Ursuline representative on the UNANIMA International board, a nongovernmental organization that works with the United Nations on issues affecting poor women and children, especially in human trafficking.
Survivors include a sister, Phyllis Speaks of Henderson; three brothers, Don Speaks and William Francis Speaks of Henderson and John Speaks of Owensboro; nieces and nephews and members of her religious community.
Visitation at Mattingly Funeral Home in Loretto, Ky., is 3-8 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 8. Visitation at Maple Mount begins at 4 p.m. CDT Tuesday, May 9, in the Motherhouse Chapel, with a wake service to follow at 6:30. The funeral Mass is at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 10. Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory is handling arrangements.
Gifts in honor of Sister Mary Lois can be made to the Ursuline Sisters, 8001 Cummings Road, Maple Mount, KY 42356.