North Smithfield, RI — Eileen Riordan, 88, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 28, 2014, at Saint Antoine Residence, North Smithfield, R.I.
Born and raised in Peabody, Mass., she was a daughter of the late Jeremiah and Anne (Moran) Riordan.
Eileen graduated from St. John the Baptist Parochial High School in Peabody in 1942 whereupon she entered Emmanuel College. Graduating as a Biology Major in the Class of 1946, she entered the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary at their Novitiate in North Providence, R.I.
Her first assignment was to the Stella Maris College in Madras, India, a newly established college for women in India. Known then as Mother Edwin, Eileen established the Department of Zoology. She spent 20 years at Stella Maris College, and obtained her Master’s Degree at Madras University while in India. She was formally recognized as a “Founder of the Department of Zoology at Stella Maris College” on a return visit in 1996.
In 1969 Eileen began Doctoral work at Boston College earning her PhD in Biology in 1976. In 1975, she was asked by the FMM order to go to Arizona to work at a mission on a Navajo reservation. She remained at this assignment for six years gaining an appreciation of Native American Culture and Traditions.
Subsequently, she taught biology at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
In 1983, after leaving the order, she joined the faculty at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee where she taught Biology for ten years.
While there, and in her retirement years in Tennessee, she developed a well regarded practice based on Dream Theories conducting classes at Maryville College and at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her “Dream Quest” workshops in the community led to a vibrant group and individual practice that helped many people in the area.
In her Tennessee years she was active in the Holy Family Catholic Church community in Seymour, Tenn., a member of the Maryville College Branch of the American Association of University Woman as well as President of the Blount County (TN) Democratic Woman’s Club.