The community is mourning the loss of a woman who dedicated her life to helping the less fortunate.

Sister Mary Miller with Emmaus Ministries passed away on Sunday at 81 after a short illness. Co-workers said she was a pillar in the Erie community for her commitment to the city’s poor.

“Mary brought beauty, care, and imagination to the city’s people and neighborhoods that were often overlooked and neglected,” said Erin Carey, neighborhood planner for the City of Erie. “Through her work, especially with families in the 600 block of East 22nd Street, where she lived, she cared for and loved so many people and the city. For Mary, there were no strangers who walked into Emmaus Soup Kitchen for the evening meal. She modeled – for all of us – what it means to be a neighbor.”

Miller was the director of Emmaus Ministries for 42 years. When she started, they were serving just a simple soup supper.

“Today, we serve over 150 meals each week with hundreds of volunteers, so Sister Mary has laid a foundation for us to move forward with the same level of generosity and compassion that she established and make a hallmark of Emmaus,” said Sister Valerie Luckey, director of Emmaus Ministries.

Luckey will now step into the role of Emmaus Ministries director.