Sr. Virginia Gillis, RSM, died of cancer March 9 at age 78. She had served the ministry for three decades, most recently at San Diego's Scripps Health.
She professed her vows as a Sister of Mercy of Burlingame, Calif., in 1955, taking the name Sr. Mary Francella. She taught junior high school for 16 years and served as assistant principal at several Sisters of Mercy schools before taking a position directing teaching education and coordinating curriculum for Burlingame's Russell College, which now is closed.
She served on her congregation's general administrative council from 1974 to 1979.
After earning a doctorate of education in institutional management, Sr. Gillis served in the Catholic health ministry, first as director of mission services at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Phoenix; then as associate vice president for sponsorship at CHA in St. Louis; then as vice president for mission services for Mercy Health Services of Farmington Hills, Mich. (now part of Trinity Health of Novi, Mich.); and then as an administrative staff member at St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, Savannah, Ga.
After next serving in the Diocese of Savannah as vicar for religious, she joined the Scripps Health board of trustees and was an advisor to the mission integration committee of the San Diego area's Scripps Mercy Hospital.
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