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Ellen Mary Carol (Sullivan) Berg

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Ellen Mary Carol (Sullivan) Berg Obituary

Ellen Mary Carol Berg, MMJC, 89, of Yuba City, CA, passed away quietly at home on Sunday evening, September 21, 2014. A Sutter County resident most of her life, Ellen was the mother of 12 children. She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Berg, founder of Sierra Gold Nurseries. With Walter, Mother Ellen Mary, MMJC, founded Marian Missionaries of Jesus Crucified, an international Catholic community with houses of prayer in Vacaville, CA and County Kerry, Ireland.

The daughter of Charles (C. E.) and Marion Sullivan, Ellen was born on May 2, 1925 in Yuba City where she grew up on the family's large, progressive orchard ranch along the Feather River near Tudor. Ellen attended Notre Dame School in Marysville, and Yuba City High School, driving to school along the old road on top of the river levee.

She attended Lone Mountain College in San Francisco, and then U. C. Berkeley, where, in her own words, she majored in "History, Communications and Walter." Walter and Ellen met at the university's Catholic Newman Center and were married at St. Joseph Church in Marysville in 1948. In 1951 they moved their young family back to the familiar Sutter County farmlands, where they started Sierra Gold Nurseries with her father C.E. Sullivan.

In addition to building a business and raising their 12 children in the countryside south of town, Ellen and Walter gave generously of their time, talents and resources to the greater community. In particular, they were instrumental in the building of St. Isidore Catholic Church and School in the 1950s. They remained actively involved in parish and school activities for many decades.

In 1988, feeling God's call, Mother Ellen Mary established a house of prayer (oratory) in Vacaville for all people who share the desire for a more peaceful, contemplative and meaningful life of prayer. Ten years later she founded a second oratory in Ireland. Collectively known as the Marian Missionaries of Jesus Crucified, the nearly 50 community members dedicate their lives to prayer and the service of God. Ellen, with Walter, spent the last 15 years of her life sharing her time between California and Ireland, forming, guiding and strengthening the community.

Ellen is survived by her 12 children, Terese (Mike), Dr. Mary (Bruce), Monica (Javier), Bernadette (Richard), Loretta (Jim), Bridget (Steve), Dr. Grace, Gloria (Blaine), Fr. Blaise, Regina (David), Brian (Danka) and Eileen (Jack), 27 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and her sisters, Marie (Mother Dolores, Order of Discalced Carmelites), Jean Felldin and Ellen's twin sister, Eveleen Corbett.

Ellen loved praying the rosary, and a rosary vigil will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 7th & C St, Marysville on Monday, September 29, 2014 at 7:00 pm, preceded by visitation starting at 6:00 pm. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at St. Isidore Catholic Church 220 Clark Ave., Yuba City, followed immediately by a ceremony of Christian burial at Sutter Cemetery. Ellen's son, Fr. Blaise Berg, will officiate at all ceremonies. Arrangements are under the direction of Ullrey Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Marian Missionaries of Jesus Crucified, 319 Nile Court, Vacaville, CA 95688.

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Published in Appeal Democrat from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28, 2014
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