Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Sister Susan McGillicuddy: a famous family name, a quiet life of service

ST. PETERSBURG — She lived in the convent on the grounds of St. Anthony's Hospital. Hospital staffers regularly saw her serving Communion to patients.

Worldly pleasure for Sister Susan McGillicuddy might mean a slice of pizza or a glass of wine or taking in a Tampa Bay Rays game. She had taken vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

But not many Catholic sisters come from famous families steeped in politics and baseball. Sister Susan was the granddaughter of Connie Mack, a Hall of Fame baseball manager; the sister of former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III; and aunt of former U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV. Three ancestors on her mother's side (a great-grandfather, a grandfather and a stepgrandfather) were Texas congressmen.

Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle weren't just household names but family friends.

Her parents had left their children free to pursue their own paths. It was just as well, because Susan seemed wedded to the lifestyle she had chosen so long ago.

Sister Susan, a quiet force for giving at St. Anthony's Hospital Foundation, died Monday at St. Joseph's Hospital after heart surgery. She was 74.

Connie Mack III called his sister a "peaceful soul" who took to heart an admonition by St. Francis of Assisi that effective preaching did not always require a lot of words.

"I think that Susan's life was in fact carrying out that commandment," Mack said.

"It's the importance of a presence," Sister Susan told a newspaper three years ago about her ministerial work. "It's not so much what to say. … You can say nothing and somebody will say you helped."

Around St. Anthony's, Sister Susan was a "calming, reassuring presence," said Bill Ulbricht, the hospital's president.

"When she came into a room, there was a certain amount of reverence she received from every member of our organization," Ulbricht said.

Founded in 1859 in Allegany, N.Y., the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany have been running hospitals since 1883. The sisters founded St. Anthony's as a mission in 1931 during the Depression, then opened St. Joseph's in Tampa in 1934. Both hospitals are now managed by BayCare Health System.

Susan Rita McGillicuddy was born in 1939 in Philadelphia, the eldest of eight children. Her father, Connie Mack Jr., was a coach and executive of the Philadelphia Athletics. (Her grandfather Cornelius McGillicuddy preferred the sobriquet Connie Mack, as have Connie Macks down the line.)

"We went to the ballpark all the time," Connie Mack III said. "Our mom taught us to keep score since we were 5 years old."

The family moved to Fort Myers in 1951. Susan attended Catholic schools and joined the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in 1957. She professed final vows in 1965, then taught at Catholic schools.

She started working in hospitals in 1981, the year after her mother had undergone a mastectomy. She joined the St. Anthony's community in 1991 and served in a variety of functions, including chaplain. Later, the hospital's foundation asked her to become involved in fundraising.

"She was persuasive," said Robert Sherman, the foundation's executive director. A key donation included $250,000 from her brothers Connie, the former senator, and Dennis, a cable television company founder and philanthropist. The money helped establish the Susan Sheppard McGillicuddy Breast Center, named after their mother, who died in 1997. She stepped down in 2011 but continued to volunteer, starting a website to take prayer requests from strangers.

The foundation brought the brothers back in February to watch Sister Susan receive its Helen D. Roberts Philanthropy Award. Connie Mack said the award was presented after a litany of glowing attributes, and took his sister by surprise when she was finally named.

"Her reaction was, 'This is wrong. I don't deserve it.'

"That to me shows her humility, the way she led her life."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437 on Twitter.

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning one win from Stanley Cup final

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Lightning one win from Stanley Cup final

The Lightning plays in Washington tonight with a chance to close out the series and advance to the Stanley Cup final. Tom Jones joins Rick Stroud to talk about the game and why Andrei Vasilevskiy and the defense is playing so well.Plus, the...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Forecast: More tropical moisture brings river flooding, drenching rains to Tampa Bay

Forecast: More tropical moisture brings river flooding, drenching rains to Tampa Bay

More tropical showers and thunderstorms could be headed to Tampa Bay as a low pressure system that is developing in Western Caribbean waters is expected to track up through the Gulf of Mexico, promising more rain for an already soggy region. Much lik...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Softball: Scouting the Admiral Farragut vs. John Carroll semifinal

Admiral Farragut (17-5) vs. John Carroll Catholic (11-11)When/where: 4:50 p.m. Monday at Historic Dodgertown, Vero BeachHow they got hereAdmiral Farragut defeated Naples St. John Neumann 17-0; defeated Bradenton St. Stephen's 3-1John Carrol...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Cyclists in fatal cougar attack did ‘everything they were supposed to do’

Cyclists in fatal cougar attack did ‘everything they were supposed to do’

SEATTLE — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle. They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even s...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Starbucks: You don’t have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You don’t have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lava from Kilauea volcano enters ocean, creates toxic cloud

Lava from Kilauea volcano enters ocean, creates toxic cloud

PAHOA, Hawaii — White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago. Auth...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Saints, Eagles, Steelers.Three games against three playoff teams to open the NFL season.Who in the league scheduling office did the Buccaneers tick off?What an injustice!Or not.Maybe the league did the Bucs a favor.Would you rather face the Saints, E...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning watch party tonight for Game 6

Lightning watch party tonight for Game 6

Tampa Bay Lightning fans can gather to witness the team's possible clinching of a Stanley Cup final berth tonight in downtown Tampa.The watch party for Game 6 in Washington starts at 6 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.It will include three screen...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75; persistent rain continues; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches

The Daystarter: Lightning back in DC for Game 6; crisscross interchange comes to I-75; persistent rain continues; Scott omits mentions of Trump in speeches

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• The week ahead sees rain and storm chances every day with highs in the lower to middle 80s, according to the National Weather Service. • As you head out for your morning commute, chec...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

Florida has a gem of an idea to move traffic on and off I-75. It's called diverging diamonds

TAMPA — Driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t just for the British any more under an innovative plan for moving traffic through three local Interstate 75 interchanges. Construction will soon begin on a $37 million, three-year proje...
Updated: 3 hours ago