New York News

Cardinal Dolan’s Mother Dies at 93; He Thanks God ‘For the Gift she Was’

Pope Benedict XVI greets U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and the cardinal’s mother, Shirley Dolan, at the end of a special audience for 22 new cardinals and their families in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Feb. 20, 2012. She died March 12, 2022, at age 93. (Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. (CNS) — Shirley Jean Radcliffe Dolan, the mother of New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and the matriarch of the Dolan family, died March 12 at age 93.

Mrs. Dolan had spent the last few years in an assisted living center near St. Louis.

The cardinal delivered the news that his “dear mom” had gone “home to the Lord” in a March 12 Flocknote message to the archdiocese, his “spiritual family.”

He said he and his family — including his four siblings and Mrs. Dolan’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren and her sister, Lois — “thank God for the gift she was, and for her long life.”

Cardinal Dolan returned to the St. Louis area to prepare to celebrate her funeral Mass March 16 at Immaculate Conception Church in suburban Maplewood.

It is the parish where Mrs. Dolan, born Dec. 6, 1928, was baptized, received her first Communion, was confirmed, went to school and was married. The cardinal’s late father, Robert, was raised in the same parish. He died in 1977.

Cardinal Dolan said he would offer a memorial Mass for his mother at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on the feast of St. Joseph, March 19.

“Your own prayers — of gratitude for her life, that her trust in life eternal is now satisfied, and for consolation among her family, would be appreciated,” the cardinal wrote in his Flocknote message.

In a March 15 posting on his Facebook page, Cardinal Dolan said his mother’s funeral Mass would be livestreamed. Her burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery. “My family and I thank you for all your prayers for my dear mom,” he added.

In a recent interview with New York’s WCBS-TV Channel 2, the cardinal said he had visited his mother the weekend of Feb. 19, which coincided with the 10th anniversary of the consistory in Rome where he was made a cardinal.

A native of Missouri, Cardinal Dolan was an auxiliary bishop of St. Louis from 2001 to 2002, when he was named Milwaukee’s archbishop. In 2009, he was appointed to head the New York Archdiocese. Three years later, Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal. Mrs. Dolan attended the 2012 consistory.

At the end of a special audience for the 22 new cardinals and their families in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Feb. 20, 2012, each of the new cardinals presented two members of their entourage to the pope.

When Cardinal Dolan introduced his mother to the pope, Pope Benedict told her, “You look too young to be a cardinal’s mother,” the prelate told Catholic News Service. “I told him, ‘I hope that’s an infallible statement.'”

“Let’s face it, it’s somewhat rare that a cardinal can introduce his mother to the pope,” said Cardinal Dolan, then 62.

Currently, the College of Cardinals as 212 members, 119 of whom are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave.