Miriam was born in New Rochelle to Mary Helen Ball and Harold J. Cleary in 1925. She graduated from The Ursuline School, and then from The College of New Rochelle with a BA in Math. She went on to get an MS in Math at Fordham University. She was an associate Professor in Math and Academic Dean at CNR from 1952 -1967, with a year out for Tertianship in Rome from 1963-64.
Beginning in 1971, Miriam’s direction changed from academics to spirituality and she studied Ascetical Theology in Guelph, Ontario, received an MS in Pastoral Counseling from Iona College, and an MA in Spiritual Direction from the Weston School of Theology. Together with Brother Jack Mostyn, Sr. Miriam founded the Center for Spirituality and Justice, a training program for spiritual directors. In 1973, at the request of the superior of the Jesuits in Jamaica, Sister Miriam, Rev. J.J. Bresnahan, S.J., and Rev. William Barry, S.J. went to Jamaica to train others in spiritual direction as they had been trained, and The Jamaica Center for Religious Development was opened in 1975. From 1994 -1995 she had a sabbatical “around the world” which included a renewal program and pilgrimage.
From 1967 -1972 Miriam served as Novice Directress. In subsequent years she was Director of Planning for the province; Associate Superior of St. Teresa’s Community; member of the Provincial Council; superior of the Bainbridge Avenue Community; superior of the community at Linden Place; Director for the Temporary Professed; and a member of several planning and discernment committees.
From 1976 – 1992 Miriam gave retreats, workshops, counselling programs, training in spiritual direction, and process facilitation in: Belize, Venezuela, Trinidad, Guyana, Botswana, SierraLeone, Bhopal, South Africa, Bolivia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Guatemala -literally all around the world.