Sister Alma Marie Earus
“Jesus said to them, ‘Let the children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as they.’” — (Mark10:14b)
“Sister Alma Marie was an excellent teacher and loved the little children. Anytime she was out for playground duty, she was surrounded by little children just as Jesus was in today’s reading. She, like Jesus, wanted them to be there. She saw their faith and love of God,” said Sister Mary Ann Phelan in her commentary for Sister Alma Marie Earus, or Little Almy as she was affectionately known, who died Jan. 26.
Jennie Earus and her twin, John Yarus, were born July 31, 1923, in Northampton, Mass., to Walter and Mary Subocz Earus, immigrants from Lithuania. She had two other brothers and one sister, all of whom preceded her in death. She attended public grade schools and started at a public high school.
“Jennie’s family was not Catholic,” shared Sister Mary Ann. “Some time after they moved to Chelsea, Mass., she came into contact with Sister Miriam Patrice [Donoghue], who took her under her wing. It was Sister Miriam Patrice who instructed her in the faith, got her into St. Rose High School and helped her prepare to enter this Congregation. From her earliest days, she saw the Congregation as her real family.”
Entering the Congregation July 20, 1942, Sister Alma Marie professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1945, and 1950, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
Sister Alma Marie commenced teaching in 1945 at Marywood, Evanston, Ill. In Illinois, she also taught at St. Angela, Chicago; St. Joseph, Downers Grove; and St. Athanasius, Evanston. She spent three years at Sacred Heart, Whiting, Ind. Sister Alma Marie spent the majority of her teaching days on the East Coast. In Maryland, her classrooms included Holy Redeemer, College Park; Ascension, Halethorpe; and St. Clement, Lansdowne. She spent seven years at Lady Isle, Portsmouth, N.H. In Massachusetts, she ministered at Sacred Hearts, Malden, and St. Polycarp, Somerville. She also taught at Dunblane in Washington, D.C.
From 1979 to 1981, Sister Alma Marie served as a nurse’s aide at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. For the next 18 years, she ministered in a variety of roles at St. Joseph Convent, Quincy, Mass., returning to the Woods in 1999.
“A few minutes after I learned of Sister Alma Marie’s death, I was at prayers and the antiphon ‘Blessed are those people who sincerely take up the work of serving God’s people’ struck me as a good description of her,” continued Sister Mary Ann. “Whether as a teacher or a nurse’s aide or later in retirement, she was most sincere in her service to God’s people. I visited St. Joseph Convent where Sister Alma Marie was in retirement, and I thought that she was a good person to help with the cooking, but little did I realize all the good she was doing. She helped unwed mothers and visited the poor and homeless at a shelter in Boston. I am sure she took her trademark smile with her at these times and spoke of God and his love to all those with whom she came into contact.
“As we think of Sister Alma Marie, let us thank God for all her gifts and strive to follow him as she did with childlike simplicity in love and service to all we meet. We love you, Almy, and know that now you are enjoying the reward of all your kindness to God’s people through your 81 years,” said Sister Mary Ann.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Alma Marie was celebrated Feb. 1, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.
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