Sister Profile: S. Mary Ann Potts

Sister Mary Ann Potts

My name is Sister Mary Ann Potts. Throughout all my life, I have been bound up with two words, God and music.

What would you say has been the most rewarding time during your service as a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet?
My most rewarding time as a Sister of St. Joseph was my first year at Carondelet.  I was a transfer from a small Franciscan community. After teaching for 15 years, the opportunity to study the history and traditions of our community was a wonderful gift. In addition, I had the opportunity to study scripture at St. Louis University. The crowning gift was to make the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius with S. Marian Cowan as my director.

What was your motivation/inspiration in entering the CSJ community?
Before becoming a CSJ, I completed my bachelor’s degree in music education and my master’s degree in music theory from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, with a concentration in piano. While I was studying at the university, I was living with the Sisters of St. Joseph at Visitation convent and St. Teresa Academy.  I was inspired by the sisters I lived with and their kindness, dedication and acceptance of one another. 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.

What is your favorite ministry?
My most favorite ministries are when I am serving the poor. Two of my favorite ministries that stand out in my mind are: teaching religion and music at Central Catholic in Denver, and my present ministry teaching music to poor little children in Los Fresnos, Texas. Often when I am teaching the little children, I have tears of joy.

Who shaped you most as a person of God?
My parents were very religious. I was brought up learning about God from a very little child. Besides my brother being a Benedictine priest, there are many priests and sisters In our extended family. I grew up in the shadow of our parish church, where my father was a trustee and my mother always did the church laundry. To study about God and the church was always my delight.

Did you have any “Aha!” moments where you discovered something about yourself?
I was already playing the piano already at the age of five, and I always wanted to play for Mass. In this area of south Texas, there are not many people who play either the piano or organ, so I am privileged to play for three Masses every weekend. Even though I am 77 years of age, God has given me the health and stamina to do this, as well as to teach 620 children every week.

Who do you look up to and why?
I think of myself as always forward looking and I especially admired S. Joan Marie Gleason for not being afraid to accept me into the community when it was a new thing for sisters to transfer. She and S. Mary Laurent Duggan were my advocates. I hope that I am worthy of their trust in me.

What do you find most intriguing about the work you’ve done with the dear neighbor?
What I have found in myself when I am ministering to the “dear neighbor” in the poor, I have boundless energy and effort. Just the thought of what I am doing draws me in, I cannot even think of retiring.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
There isn’t a lot of spare time, but I especially love to watch sports – especially the Green Bay Packers, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the St. Louis Cardinals. Our two pets, Chloe, a schnauzer and Shadow, our big, black kitty, give us much entertainment and pleasure. Both Sr. Helen and I love to travel and we both have had many opportunities. Most of them came from accompanying students.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I have been involved with doing Broadway musicals both in high school and elementary school for many years. I stopped counting after 50 musicals. My first one was The Sound of Musicand my last one was The Wizard of Oz. Sr. Helen Rottier and I have lived in South Texas close to the border of Mexico nearly 25 years. We both support one another in our ministries: she in Catholic education and I, in public school with poor children.

In closing, I must say that 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.


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