Sister Elinor Callanan (Mother Dolores Mary), who was a Sister of the Holy Child Jesus for 61 years, died Nov. 4 in Rosemont at the age of 93.

Born in New York City, Sister Elinor was the youngest of three children of Mary (Murphy) and Thomas Callanan.  All three followed religious vocations — Joseph as a priest in the Archdiocese of New York and Marian who, as Mother Mary Ferdinand, was a Sister of the Holy Child.

Educated at St. Walburga Academy in New York City and at Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart, Sister Elinor was a gifted mathematician. In 1962, she earned a master’s degree in mathematics from Villanova University.


During World War II, she worked for the Naval Quartermaster and then, in 1948, she entered the Society of the Holy Child Jesus.

In 1952, Sister Elinor began teaching in New York and Philadelphia. Ten years later she left for West Africa where she taught for an additional 12 years in Nigeria and Ghana. In 1974 Sister Elinor returned to the United States to care for her father until his death. From 1976 through 1979 she was the business manager at Connelly School of the Holy Child, Potomac, Md.

In 1979 Sister Elinor returned to the Philadelphia area where she served her religious community in several capacities.

In 2005, failing vision brought Sister Elinor to Holy Child Center, Rosemont. There she prayed continuously and was keenly interested in world events, especially news of her beloved New York.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Thursday, Nov. 7 in Rosemont. Memorial donations may be sent to the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont, PA 19010.