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Fr. Thomas Healy

Pastor emeritus

Father Thomas I. Healy, 94, died Jan. 15. He was pastor emeritus of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish (Belmont Avenue).

Born in Chicago, he attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1952.

Father Healy served as assistant pastor of St. Gertrude and St. Ferdinand. He also was a professor at St. Mary of the Lake Junior College in Niles and Niles College of Loyola University in Chicago, and chaplain of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. In 1977, Father Healy became pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, a position he held until 2001. He retired in 2002.

Retired Auxiliary Bishop John Gorman was one of Father Healy’s classmates. Bishop Gorman remembered Father Healy as very bright and studious.

“Father Healy shepherded his parish well and was loved by his parishioners,” Bishop Gorman said. “He had a constant love for the history of the church and was a very fine theologian. He served with patience and was a wonderful priest.”

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Deacon Daniel Patiño

Class of 2001

Deacon Daniel Patiño, 81, died at home Jan. 17. He was ordained in 2001 and served at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

He is survived by his children, Daniel Patiño, Monica Peace, Cristina Swiatnicki and Rocio (José) Palacios; six grandchildren; and his brother, Gustavo Patiño. His wife, Maria (“Cuco”), died in 2019.

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Deacon José Vázquez

Class of 1986

Deacon José Vázquez, 76, died Jan. 17. He was ordained in 1986 and served at Maternity B.V.M. Parish, which is now part of San José Luis Sánchez Del Río Parish.

He served as president of the National Hispanic Diaconate Council for many years and as president of Neighborhood Housing Services in the 1980s.

After retiring from Coca Cola in the early 2000s, Deacon Vázquez spent much of his retirement organizing tours abroad and traveling around the world.

He and his wife, Ivette, were married for 52 years.

He is survived by his children, José Jr., Lynette, José J. and Lisandra, and five grandchildren.

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Sr. Mary John Zielinski

Building engineer

School Sister of Notre Dame Mary John (Geraldine) Zielinski, 90, died Nov. 29, 2020.

Born in Chicago, she was baptized at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. She entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame at the Milwaukee motherhouse in 1949, professed first vows in 1952 and professed final vows in 1958.

She came to the community with a “feel” for tools, having worked in a Chicago hardware store, and “when she decided to accept a religious life, she set only one condition—that she be permitted to bring her carpentry tools with her when she took the veil,” her community said. 

She ministered in the printing room and as a cook and refectorian and as a licensed building engineer, heading a crew of four men at the community’s campus in Mequon, Wisconsin.

In 1984, Sister Mary John moved to the Academy of Our Lady in Chicago, where she served as maintenance supervisor and consultant for the physical plant there. When the school was sold to the International Charter School—Longwood Campus in 1999, she continued on staff until she retired in 2003. In 2005, she moved to Marian Village in Homer Glen, Illinois, and in 2008 to Resurrection Life Center, in Chicago, where she resided until her death.

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Fr. Kenneth Sedlak

Spiritual director

Redemptorist Father Kenneth Sedlak, 74, died Dec. 19 in Liguori, Missouri, after suffering from several health issues.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, he entered the Redemptorist seminary system, made his first profession of vows in 1967 and his perpetual vows in 1970. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1972.

After earning a degree in spiritual direction, Father Sedlak joined the faculty of Holy Redeemer College in Waterford, Wisconsin, and built a spiritual director program for students. He served in the youth apostolate at Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Rolling Meadows during the 1980s.

He was assigned as associate pastor of St. Michael Parish (Cleveland Avenue) in 1990, and dedicated the next 30 years to that parish community. In addition to offering spiritual direction, Fr. Sedlak hosted numerous parish prayer services and was involved in many parish programs, notably RCIA. He also co-founded Pathways, which sponsors programs for young professionals seeking to integrate body, mind, and spirit, and served on the core team of Stillpoint, a contemplative outreach center.

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Sr. Francesca Koller


Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Francesca “Fran” Koller, 89, died Jan. 19 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Born in Wisconsin, she made her first religious profession in 1952 and her perpetual profession in 1955.

She was a teacher, pastoral minister, chaplain and assistant prioress who ministered in Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee and Alaska, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. She also was a talented singer and watercolor artist.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Visitation School.

She is survived by a sister, Janet Nelson; and a brother, Emil Koller.

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Sr. Mary Ellen Beck


Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sister Mary Ellen (Roland) Beck, 87, died Jan. 19 at Resurrection Life Center.

She was in religious life for 70 years and taught and was a principal in Illinois, Arizona, Michigan and California. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at St. Adrian and St. Bride.

She brought her love of music and sports to all her interactions with students, no matter their age or background, and was able to say she loved each of her assignments, community leaders said. 

She retired in 2000.