Sister Mary Ann Potts, CSJ 1937-2017


April 5, 1937 - November 22, 2017

“Throughout all my life, I have been bound up with two words, God and music.”–Sister Mary Ann

Mary Ann Potts, born in Chillicothe, Missouri, on April 5, 1937, was the youngest child and only daughter of Edward and Catherine (Miller) Potts. Her brother, Henry Louis Potts, is her only surviving sibling.

Mary Ann described her parents as “very religious.” In 1956, Mary Ann entered the Poor School Sisters of the Third Order St. Francis in Chillicothe. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary and secondary music education (1969), and a master’s degree in music theory (1975), both from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Mary Ann also earned other various certifications in theology and music. While Mary Ann was working on her education, she lived with the Sisters of St. Joseph. “I was inspired by the sisters I lived with and their kindness, dedication and acceptance on one another.”

Mary Ann transferred to the Sisters of St. Joseph on August 2, 1970. “My life as a Sister of St. Joseph has been one of joy, as I have had the opportunity to serve God’s people in many settings.” Music has always been a source of great joy to her (she played the piano since age five). Teaching others to appreciate it and encouraging young students to be better than they dreamed they could be was pure delight.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Sister Mary Ann taught music, and sometimes religion, at Visitation School in Kansas City, Missouri; St. Anthony High School, St. Louis, Missouri; Denver Central Catholic High, Denver, Colorado; and St. Joseph Academy, Green Bay, Wisconsin, where she was first a teacher and then worked in the Development Office. Several vacation periods included taking a group of students to serve the very poor in Mexico. They visited families, lived simply and prayed together. Seeing the extreme poverty was eye-opening for many of the young people.

In 1989, Sister Mary Ann and her dear friend, Sister Helen Rottier (now deceased), moved to Texas where Sister Mary Ann taught religion and music at St. Joseph Academy in Brownsville. From 1997 until her death, she was the music teacher at Los Fresnos Elementary School in Los Fresnos, Texas. Sister Mary Ann has had great success in adapting Broadway musicals for students to perform—even for students as young as fourth and fifth grade. Over the years, she has produced 80 Broadway musicals with her students.

Sister Mary Ann was also a great sports fan, especially the Green Bay Packers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

In an interview for the Sisters of St. Joseph, Sister Mary Ann said, “I cannot thank God enough for leading me to the Sisters of St. Joseph and for all the wonderful opportunities to serve Him in the poor. I could not ask for anything more.” May she rest in peace.

Funeral arrangements will be held Friday, Dec. 1 with the visitation from 5 to 7 p.m., immediately followed by the funeral Mass at 7 p.m. at St. Mary, Mother of the Church, 1914 Barnard Rd., Brownsville, TX 78520. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the retirement fund of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province, 6400 Minnesota Ave., St. Louis, MO 63111-2899. Donate online.

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