OBITUARY

Mary Vernon Gentle

November 20, 1941November 16, 2021

Sister Mary Vernon Gentle, born Mary Ann, entered this world on November 20, 1941. She was the first of three children born to George Vernon Gentle and Marie Margaret Gentle (nee Lively), in Birmingham, Alabama. She attended Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Birmingham, and entered the Sisters of Mercy in Mt. Washington, Maryland in September, 1960. She earned a Bachelors degree at Mount St. Agnes College in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1964. She taught at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Baltimore and at Our Lady of Sorrows in Birmingham before she made her perpetual vows as a Sister of Mercy in 1968. While she was at Our Lady of Sorrows she began her ministry to developmentally disabled children. She earned a Masters Degree in Special Education from Cardinal Stritch College in 1974. She dedicated her ministerial life to children and youth with developmental disabilities in the diocese of Birmingham for fifty-five years. She served as Associate Director of Nazareth House, a ministry of the diocese of Birmingham, with Father Patrick Cullen, who directed the ministry. They moved its location to whichever parish Father Cullen pastored, making sure that those with disabilities had a place where they were strongly welcomed in the Catholic Church. Over the years Sister Mary Vernon educated high school students to be volunteer catechists with their young peers in the Nazareth House Program. Without giving up her ministry to the developmentally disabled, Sister Mary Vernon worked for her Mercy community in helping newer members from 2000 to 2009. She spent hours on the phone accompanying younger members of the Sisters of Mercy, helping them to decide if they had the vocation she lived so vibrantly. She invited women to be Associates with the Sisters of Mercy, and developed strong relationships with those called to live Mercy through Association. Mary Vernon was known as gentle, persistent, generous, dedicated to the needs of those she served, and very kind. She was a great storyteller. She died at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL, on November 16, 2021, four days short of her 80th Birthday. She is survived by her brother “Skip”, George Vernon Gentle, Jr, and his wife, Claudette; three nieces: Christine Casey (Chris), Veronica Ann Dent ( Jerry), and Theresa Marie Davidson, and four grandnieces.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, November 20, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, November 20, 2021

Memories

Mary Vernon Gentle

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Angela Sciascia

November 18, 2021

I have had the privilege to see Mary every other Thursday for the last 18 years. She was the sweetest, caring and loving woman. I enjoyed our talks and her stories so much! I will miss her greatly! She was such a wonderful person to be around! She truly will be missed!

Theresa Troncale-Newell

November 18, 2021

Sr Mary Gentle lived up to her name - always quiet and gentle, sweet and smiling are my memories of her during our years at John Carroll HS. I trust she loved her Lord Jesus and served. Him well through the long years and rests in Him today.
Dr. Theresa Troncale Newell

Ann VonderMeulen,OSF

November 18, 2021

From the first time I met Sr. Mary Vernon Gentle in our shared ministry with people with developmental disabilities, "gentle" was the best description of her person and her ministry. She was a gift to the Birmingham area and always willing to share her ideas with those new to the field throughout the US....a gift to many!

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY