Michael Leo Mullaney, SCN

Posted by Spalding Hurst

September 27, 2018

Sister Michael Leo Mullaney, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. She passed away on September 26, 2018, at the age of 96 at Nazareth Home in Louisville. She was a professed Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 63 years.

Sister Michael Leo graduated from the Bentley College of Accounting and Finance in Boston and later completed a master’s degree in hospital administration from St. Louis University. In 1966, she was appointed administrator of Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington.

During her time in leadership at Saint Joseph Hospital, Sister Michael Leo liquidated the hospital’s $1 million debt, introduced computerization into the hospital offices, expanded services, and put into practice programs initiated by Medicare and Medicaid. Under Sister Michael Leo, the hospital was enlarged twice, increasing its capacity from 285 to 468 beds. Saint Joseph Hospital was, at that time, the largest hospital in central Kentucky. Sister initiated the construction of Saint Joseph Office Park connected to the Hospital by a walkway bridging Harrodsburg Road. Sister Michael Leo was responsible for top hospital innovations, including the first physician-staffed emergency room and the first cardiac intensive care unit in central Kentucky, the first balloon angioplasty program in the state, the first hospital helipad in Lexington, and the first computerized tomography (CT) scan equipment in the state.

In 1978, Sister became the first woman to serve on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In 1981, Sister Michael Leo was elected president of the Kentucky Health Association, the first woman to hold this position in almost forty years. In 1987, she received the Kentucky Hospital Association Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to hospitals in Kentucky. In 1988, Sister Michael Leo was honored by The Bluegrass Chapter of The National Conference of Christian and Jews for outstanding leadership in fostering amity, justice and cooperation among those in central Kentucky.

Sister Michael Leo served as hospital administrator of Saint Joseph Hospital for 22 years before serving as president of The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Healthcare System from 1988-1992. She went on to become a lobbyist for the Kentucky Catholic Conference, a member of the Kentucky Health Policy Board, and Director of Missions for the Diocese of Lexington.

She received many awards for her work in health care, including the Wade Mountz Visionary Leader Award in November 2004, given to leaders in Kentucky who have made significant contributions to the enhancement of health care in the state. In 2005, she received the Kentucky Women Remembered award. Sister’s portrait is part of the permanent collection which honors outstanding Kentucky women and is displayed in the West Wing of the Kentucky Capitol.

She is survived by two nieces and a nephew, all of Massachusetts; and by her religious community.

The Wake will be held at St. Vincent Church at Nazareth, KY on Monday, October 1 at 6:30 p.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. in St. Vincent Church, October 2.

Funeral Arrangements are being handled by Ratterman Funeral Home, 3800 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY. Memorials may be offered to Office of Mission Advancement, P.O. Box 9, Nazareth, KY, 40048.

1 Comment

  1. Bobby Hughes

    I always enjoyed visiting with Sister at the Nazareth home. She loved to talk about UK sports, as well as the Boston area professional sports teams.


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