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Living the Faith: Kelly Daugherty

By Donis Tracy Pilot Correspondent
Posted: 1/9/2009

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Kelly Daugherty Pilot photo/ Cheryl Pongratz

MALDEN -- The quote is often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel constantly; when necessary use words.”

Kelly Daugherty is a witness that living a life of faith can bring others to faith.

At 17, Daugherty attended church alone. Having grown up in an abusive home, her parents did not pass faith onto her.

However, one couple did. Ed and Laura MacMullin -- parishioners at Sacred Hearts Church -- took her under their wings and showed her the blessings of having God in her life.

“All I am today, I owe to them,” Daugherty, 40, said. “They were examples of tremendous faith in my life.”

Daugherty noted that Ed MacMullin also taught her the value of relying on faith even during difficult moments.

As his life was coming to an end, she noticed that his faith was never shaken. “As he was getting sicker, his faith was getting stronger,” she said.

Guided by her faith and her desire to help others, Daugherty decided to become a mental heath counselor. She is currently working on her master’s degree at Leslie College and works as a bereavement counselor at a local nursing home.

Witnessing the faith the MacMullins had, coupled with other parishioners she came to know at Sacred Hearts Parish, has led her to become very involved in parish life. She sings in the adult choir -- “the constant thread in my parish life” -- and has recently become the cantor. She also sings in a contemporary choir at St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester.

Daugherty praised her music director, Cheryl Pongratz, saying “it has been wonderful learning from her what the purpose of song is, what the purpose of being a cantor is.”

Daugherty also directs the Protecting God’s Children program for the parish. She is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, and often brings Communion to the elderly at area nursing homes. In addition, she helps out in whatever projects the pastor, Father Daniel Hickey, asks her to do.

“Usually I don’t say no when he asks me to do something,” she said.

In past years, Daugherty has taught religious education. She was the president of the parish women’s club until the group disbanded last year.

“I’ve gotten my inspiration watching these awesome women live their faith,” she said referring to the women’s club.

Daugherty noted that in recent years, her parish has seen a transition. “The city has changed drastically -- we now have a much more ethnically diverse parish, though there is less activity than before.”

She sees hope for that to change though. “Recently the youth ministry is really trying to [effect] a resurgence of activity.”

“That leads me to a lot of hope -- to see that we still have people who are excited to be there, there’s hope there,” she said.

Most importantly, Daugherty sees her faith as the “source of great inspiration” for her life.

“My faith provides me with an enormous sense of peace,” she said pensively. “I believe that God will always provide.”

Sacred Hearts Parish, Malden

Year established -- 1890

Pastor -- Father Daniel Hickey

Religious Education Director -- Mary Pongratz

Business Manager -- Cheryl Pongratz

Youth Minister -- Michelle Garrity

Elementary School Principal -- Susan Degnan