Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here

Sr. John Eudes, inspiration for ‘The Trouble With Angels’ passes at age 95


Regular readers know Aleteia loves The Trouble With Angels so much that we’ve made a listicle of 10 reasons why the “Catholic Classic still holds up.

Today we learned that the inspiration for Haley Mills’ “scathingly brilliant” character, Mary Clancy, has passed away. Sr. John Eudes Courtney, OP, a Sinsinawa Dominican born Mary Courtney, died on December 22, 2017, at the age of 95.

Writes her community:

She served as inspiration for the character of Mary Clancy in the book Life With Mother Superior by Jane Trahey, which was turned into the movie The Trouble With Angels, starring Hayley Mills as Mary Clancy and Rosalind Russell as the mother superior. Trahey was best friends with young Mary Courtney when both were students at Providence High School in Chicago. […]

Sister Courtney was born Sept. 26, 1922, in Chicago, the daughter of Harvey and Josephine Ogden Courtney. She made her first profession in 1949 and took final vows in 1952.
Primarily involved in teaching ministry — including 30 years of high school English — Sister Courtney taught at schools in the archdioceses of Chicago; Milwaukee; St. Paul and Minneapolis; and Omaha, Nebraska. She also taught in the dioceses of Nashville, Tennessee; Peoria and Rockford, Illinois; Helena, Montana; Arlington, Virginia; and Owensboro, Kentucky.
In addition, Sister Courtney worked in pastoral ministry and as a community organizer, prison visitor and librarian.

Sister John Eudes also volunteered to participate in the ongoing “Rush Religious Order Study”: Sixty-four Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters have been involved with the study over the years; 36 are now deceased and 28 are still alive (plus the Sisters who signed up to participate at this meeting).

Participating Sisters meet annually with study staff and go through a series of neurological, physical, and cognitive tests that are designed to document health history and measure brain function. Upon a Sister’s death, her entire brain is donated and taken to the lab in Chicago for research.

It’s so typically generous of sisters, especially Dominicans, to keep on contributing to the betterment of humanity, even after death, with their scathingly brilliant and lively brains!

RIP, Sr. John Eudes. We will watch TTWA tonight, in your honor!



We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Elizabeth Scalia is Editor-at-Large at Aleteia and the award-winning author of Strange Gods, Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life and Little Sins Mean a Lot: Kicking Our Bad Habits Before They Kick You. ​
Aleteia's Top 10
  1. Most Read
    Most Shared
  2. Cerith Gardiner and Louise Almeras
    10 Hollywood stars who are also Catholic
  3. Cerith Gardiner and Louise Almeras
    10 Hollywood stars who are also Catholic
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.