Sister Mary Elise Finnigan was born on Oct. 12, 1929, in Kenmore and was baptized Dolores Margaret at St. Paul Parish in Kenmore. Sister Elise was the third oldest of the 12 children of Walter and Dolores Finnigan. After graduating from St. Nicholas Academy in 1947, Dolores entered the sisters of St. Francis in 1948 taking the name Sister Mary Elise. Following earning a bachelor's degree in Education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers College (now Medaille) and earning permanent New York state certification for Elementary Education, Sister Elise began a career of 30 years teaching at various Buffalo diocesan schools including Holy Name, Buffalo; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Silver Creek; St. Francis of Assisi, Buffalo; St. Nicholas, North Java; and Our Lady of Pompeii, Lancaster.
After four years as principal and teacher at Most Holy Redeemer School, Buffalo, Sister Elise started a new career as a nurse's aide at St. Mary's Manor, Niagara Falls, and at St. Mary of the Angels at both the Mill Street and Reist Street locations in Williamsville. Later, Sister Elise began a third career as director of activities at St. Francis Home and Holy Family Home, and assisted with activities at the regional house all in Williamsville. For a brief two-year period, Sister Elise was director of the Brother Leo's Spirituality Center in Fairfield, Pa. Most recently, Sister Elise assisted in community and prayer ministry at 201 Reist St. In 2002, Sister Elise was honored as the Holy Family Home Volunteer of the Year at the 25 annual Western New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Sister Elise was recognized for her years of dedication as well as her Irish smile and ready wit.
A funeral Mass will be offered on Monday, Oct. 21 at 10:30 a.m. in the Chapel at Fredonia Place of Williamsville, 201 Reist St.