sister ann dominic tassone


October 26, 1920 - June 29, 2009
For S. Ann Dominic’s “fanatical” display of support for Avila’s teams, be it basketball, soccer or baseball, some wondered why she was never ejected from Avila’s gym. Even the coach had to remind her at times to “quiet down” so as not to draw a technical foul on the team. She was so enthusiastic for Avila’s teams, that the university named its mascot after her—Dom the Eagle they dubbed him. And when fans entered the gym to watch a basketball game, they often passed through her “door.” It was “rumored” that one baseball player classified her as “wild” and wondered if he should have been afraid of her.

Yes, her support of Avila’s sports teams is legend, but more than that S. Ann Dominic was an outstanding math teacher, tough, but fair-minded with a big heart, a beloved teacher. From the beginning of their college education, most students wanted to get into her classes; those who were math majors especially sang her praises, so well prepared were they to pursue any field of math they wanted.

From childhood, Rose Marie Tassone, had a wonderful religious upbringing, which no doubt had a lot to do with her even considering religious life. In her growing up years, her family life was centered at St. Killian’s Church in New Franken, Wis. It was there she was baptized, received her First Holy Communion and was confirmed. Sundays were special days of rest. Each day began with morning prayer and ended with the parents and seven children praying together in the evening. From her youngest days, she was instilled with a great love for Jesus

When Rose Marie was in first grade and saw her first Sister of St. Joseph, she thought about becoming a sister, but after high school, she could not make the decision to leave home. She instead went to Northern Michigan University, about 17 miles from her home in Ishpeming. After her mother died suddenly, Rose Marie, as the oldest felt, it was her responsibility to care for the family. Her father encouraged otherwise, however, and so after listening to his advice, she was determined to enter religious life and become a Sister of St. Joseph.

After she received the habit and a new name—S. Ann Dominic—on March 19, 1941, she was sent immediately to teach because of her earlier college experience. S. Ann Dominic taught in several schools in St. Louis: Sts. Mary and Joseph; Notre Dame in Welston; St. Anthony’s. In secondary education, she taught at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in St. Louis; Bishop Baraga High School in Marquette; and at Rosati-Kain High School in St. Louis. But in June 1963, she moved to Kansas City and thus began her long sojourn at Avila.

While she was considered a “tough” sports fan, S. Ann Dominic also had her gentle side. She loved flowers, birds, beautiful scenery and all of God’s creation. That love started when she was a young child. Then she planted bird seed to watch the various grasses grow and would pick up rocks to study the bugs beneath. All knew S. Ann Dominic to be intelligent and well balanced and loved the fact that she would “throw herself” with energy and passion into whatever she undertook. Her presence was always appreciated in community.

It was not easy for S. Ann Dominic to leave Avila. But with graciousness she accepted what was necessary and moved to Nazareth Living Center. Her arthritis caused her much pain, but she valiantly bore the suffering without complaint. She even made a pact with God: She would accept any physical pain that came her way if she could but go to God with a clear mind. She did that, and peacefully too.

S. Ann Dominic remains in the hearts of those who loved her as teacher, mentor, friend and above all as a generous and loving Sister of St. Joseph.

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