Sister Agnese Boddington
“Keep alive in yourselves what you were taught in the beginning … .” (1 John 2:24)
“Sister Agnese Boddington kept alive what she was taught in the beginning, actively shared her faith with others and now knows God’s promise of eternal life,” said Sister Ruth Eileen Dwyer in her commentary for Sister Agnese, who died Aug. 26.
Born Oct. 4, 1909, in Melrose, Mass., Mary Boddington was one of six children of Ernest and Agnes (Singleton) Boddington. She attended grade school at St. Ann and Holy Trinity, Washington, D.C., and high school at St. Mary-of-the-Woods Academy, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind. She entered the Congregation Sept. 2, 1925, and professed first and perpetual vows March 22, 1928, and Aug. 15. 1933, respectively. Sister Agnese earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from St. Louis University.
Sister Agnese spent nearly four decades in the elementary classroom. She began teaching in 1928 at St. Joan of Arc, Indianapolis. Her other Indiana classrooms included St. Anthony, St. Agnes and St. Jude, Indianapolis; St. Jude, Fort Wayne; and Sacred Heart and St. Patrick, Terre Haute. She also ministered at St. Andrew and Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago, and Dunblane, Washington, D.C.
“In 1966, Sister Agnese came to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to teach in the Education Department where her creative skills were shared with students. Later, she served as supervisor of the mailroom and duplicating office, while offering other valuable services to those in need. If you had an unruly copier or projector or needed a new battery put in your watch or your glasses fixed, you called Sister Agnese!” continued Sister Ruth Eileen.
“Sister Agnese left the college in 1984 to become the manager of the Sisters of Providence Co-op, where she organized clothing and other household needs for resale. Her meticulous care for all items given to her and her welcoming smile and assistance to shoppers made the co-op an excellent source for necessary items. She continued to work in the co-op for 10 more years, officially ‘retiring’ in 1995. She volunteered service with the Sisters of Providence transportation department and residential services staff until 2001, when prayer became her primary ministry,” said Sister Ruth Eileen.
“These were the practical ministries of her life, but it was her personal gifts that added so much to the lives of those who knew her. I learned recently that Sister Agnese and Sister Emerita Basso (RIP) were in the same novitiate band. For those of us who knew both of them, it is a source of wonder that any group could sustain the bursting energy and boundless supply of humorous stories these two had for the entertainment of all!
“Then there was the phenomenon of the Boddington Bears! During her years at the college, supporting its challenge of fund-raising was as great as it remains today. Sister Agnese wanted to do her share in a practical way, so she designed and made Boddington Bears from scraps of cloth and great ingenuity. The project was very successful, and I recall the delight of celebrating the completion and sale of the 1000th Boddington Bear! Each one, like Sister Agnese herself, was unique. She continued to produce Boddington Bears — safety-proofed for children and dearly loved by both children and adults — until very recent times,” continued Sister Ruth Eileen.
“Sister Agnese kept alive what she had been taught, and what she taught others by her fidelity and love. Eternal life is now the present life for her,” said Sister Ruth Eileen.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Agnese was celebrated Aug. 30, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She was preceded in death by all her siblings, except for a half-sister, Ethel Farkas of New York, N.Y.
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