sister mary ann smith
June 20, 1934 - December 19, 2011
What you saw is what you got!
Born on June 20, 1934, Mary Anne was the beloved daughter of Clarence William and Lucille Rohman Smith. Her home parish, St. Cecilia’s in Peoria, Ill., rooted her in the sacramental life of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation. Her parents nurtured her faith life and instilled within her a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, a gift she treasured and practiced until the day she died.
In her loving family, humor and kindness to the neighbors were an integral part of life; she enjoyed sharing that life with everyone—little ones who rang her doorbell for candy, children who played make-up with her, students in the midst of divorce and separation, or sisters who just wanted time to relax with her. S. Mary Anne always made a connection. You could rely on her deep love as long as you also knew a bit of teasing came with it.
Mary Anne met the Sisters of St. Joseph in elementary school, but came to know them as teachers and models at the Academy of Our Lady. She entered the congregation in 1952, received the habit on March 19, 1953, and was given the name S. Margaret Patrice.
Upon her profession in 1954, S. Mary Anne began a lifelong commitment to education as an elementary teacher at St. Matthew School in Mobile, Ala. She delighted in being a primary teacher and preparing the children for reception of the sacraments. After a productive five years in the South, S. Mary Anne returned to St. Louis, teaching at St. Roch, St. Gregory, St. Teresa, and St. Anthony schools.
In 1966 S. Mary Anne moved to Kansas City, Mo., where she helped to establish St. Thomas More Elementary School. There and in other settings, this wise, dedicated educator often mentored teachers and coordinators. She incorporated new programs and encouraged teachers to continue their education. All of them benefited not only from her spirit of dedication and quiet, gentle classroom discipline, but also from her innate gratitude.
In 1970, S. Mary Anne went to Denver, Colo., where she taught at St. Francis de Sales. Two years later she went to Muskogee, Okla., as the administrator of the Christian Learning Center. Having received her master’s degree in elementary education administration from the University of Notre Dame in 1973, S. Mary Anne returned to St. Louis and was assigned as principal at St. Gregory School, a position she held for four years. In 1977 she undertook secondary education at the Academy of Our Lady.
Those who lived with S. Mary Anne appreciated her remarkable gifts of gratitude, kindness, and love. She shared her faith openly, was eager to deepen her personal prayer life, prayed steadfastly for others’ needs, and encouraged her sisters to remain faithful both by her example and her care. It was these qualities of the Spirit that S. Mary Anne carried with her as she assumed new responsibilities and roles after leaving classroom teaching.
From 1978-1986 she was a regional superior. Loved and respected in this capacity, S. Mary Anne was a good listener and followed up on sisters’ requests. Following a year at the House of Affirmation in Natick, Mass., where she put her counseling skills to productive use for the residents, in 1987 S. Mary Anne served the province once again, this time in the formation of novices and new members. In later years, she prepared herself for spiritual direction and ended her formal ministry as a counselor for students and parents at Saints Joachim & Anne School in St. Charles. Mo. In 2004 she moved to Kansas City, where she happily lived with her friend S. Marian Niemann and joined her in various volunteer ministries
No matter where she was asked to serve, S. Mary Anne responded with her whole self. A woman totally open to the grace of the moment, she has gifted us with her friendship, her delightful humor, her wisdom and her grace.
S. Rita Louise Huebner
S. Kathleen Karbowski
S. Lisa Lazio