sister catherine ann gleason

(Sister Mary Hanora)
February 15, 1924 - June 23, 2017

“I remember ... her cheerfulness, friendliness and helpfulness.”
—Sister Dorothy Daly

Catherine Ann Gleason was born February 15, 1924, in Ishpeming, Michigan, to John and Anna (Thornton) Gleason. Catherine grew up with two brothers, John and Jim, and her sister Noreen. After attending St. John’s School, where she was taught by Sisters of St. Joseph, she graduated from Ishpeming High School. 

Catherine entered the Sisters of St. Joseph on September 15, 1942, receiving the habit and the name Mary Hanora (in honor of her grandmother) on March 19, 1943. Over a number of summers, she earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Fontbonne College (1957) and a master’s in elementary education administration from St. Xavier College, Chicago, Illinois (1968). 
S. Catherine Ann’s ministry began in elementary education at Notre Dame de Lourdes and Most Holy Rosary both in St. Louis (1945). 
Beginning in 1948, she taught at St. Rose of Lima, Houston, Texas where she encountered the young Sister Mary Jo Logan. After a year in college, Mary Jo felt called to religious life. Her only contact with sisters had been her first and second years of school at St. Rose. Sister Hanora taught her in second grade. So Mary Jo sent her mother over to St. Rose to ask how to go about entering the community. After Houston, Catherine taught at Holy Cross School, Champaign, Illinois (1957). 
Then, S. Catherine was teacher and principal in Michigan at: American Martyrs, Kingsford (1960); St. Peter, Marquette (1966); and Sacred Heart, L’Anse (1969). Sister Maryellen Tierney’s first assignment was North American Martyrs, Michigan, where S. Catherine was principal. “Catherine was very proper about everything and was the personification of a lady. She was very kind to me as a new teacher … We had to take turns [cooking] on the weekend. I was very nervous but she was very patient with me and showed me how to prepare my first roast. Community was very important to Catherine … [She] was always approachable.” 
Returning to Missouri, she was teacher and principal at St. Blaise (1970). Sister Barbara Volk knew her then. “She was always so delightful —pretty, punctual, pleasant and fun to be with … She was dedicated to elementary students and their needs.” During this time, Sister Carolyn Strack was a new director of the large Religious Education Program, 
S. Catherine helped her to create more efficient registration and enrollment forms. “I've always been grateful to her for sharing her many other administration skills with me in those hectic years when sister-staff was being withdrawn from so many schools.” 
S. Catherine next taught at St. Gregory, St. Ann (1972). Following that, she was the principal at St. Joseph, West De Pere, Wisconsin (1975). She then went to St. Viator School, Chicago, Illinois (1976). In 1978, she became principal there until 1984 when she took a sabbatical at Galilee Institute, Ontario, Canada. 
Deciding it was time to leave education, S. Catherine began serving in the Renew Resource Program and with youth ministry at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette (1985). Sister Catherine said: “I had a wonderful experience at Cathedral parish, [with] that Renew program. I was renewed also.” The rest of her active ministry was spent in Ishpeming. She became involved in religious education and an administrator at the Tri-Parish, 1988 until 1998, when she began ministering at the Religious Education Center. In 1999, S. Catherine retired in Ishpeming, occupying herself with various volunteer activities until she moved to Nazareth Living Center to minister in prayer and presence in 2012. 
A final comment from S. Catherine herself: “I’m grateful for the wonderful life I have had all these years and God has been with me on my journey of faith. Sometimes things happen and I say, ‘Oh thank you, God.’ Just like that.” 
By Sister Helen Oates
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