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Sister Teresa Ann Callahan

Sister Teresa Ann Callahan

“I formed you … to open the eyes of the blind, to bring prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6-7)

“These words of Isaiah fit so well the life of Sister Teresa Ann,” said Sister Catherine Livers in her commentary for Sister Teresa Ann Callahan, who died Feb. 19.

Born Helen Loretta Callahan to John and Minnie (Keating) Callahan on Jan. 8, 1917, in Chicago, she was one of two girls. She attended St. Angela Elementary School and Providence High School, both in Chicago. She entered the Congregation July 16, 1934, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1937, and 1943, respectively. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, a master’s degree in psychology from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and another master’s degree in religious studies from Mundelein College, Chicago.

Sister Teresa Ann commenced teaching in 1937 at St. Joan of Arc, Indianapolis. Her other Indiana classrooms included St. Philip Neri and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Indianapolis; St. Benedict, Terre Haute; St. John the Baptist, Fort Wayne; and Holy Trinity, New Albany. In Illinois, she taught or served as principal at Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Andrew, St. Genevieve, St. Francis Borgia and St. Angela, Chicago; and Divine Savior School, Norridge. Her teaching ministry also led her to St. Patrick, Fayetteville, N.C.; Holy Redeemer, College Park, Md.; and St. Ann, Washington, D.C. In 1992, she retired from teaching to serve as the CCD coordinator at Divine Savior School. Five years later, she ministered as a parish volunteer at Divine Savior. She returned to the Woods in 2002.

“Those who knew Sister Teresa Ann can testify to the gentleness and strength of character. She was loving and compassionate with a strong sense of justice and personal integrity. She was an avid reader and always kept her mind open to new ideas while always respecting the traditions and beauty of the past. She was a woman who possessed a strong prayer life and was always present to those around her. When you were in conversation with her, you had the feeling that you were the only person in the world that she was interested in,” said Sister Catherine.

“Always I carry the memory of the years that I lived with her at College Park in Maryland. In those days, the school was in the same building as the convent, and as I came through the mezzanine after school, I knew that I would find her in the chapel saying the rosary. She had a great love for Our Lady and passed this devotion on to her students. When her students came back to visit on their days off, they would often say to me, ‘Have you ever visited Sister Teresa Ann’s religious classes? She is inspired when she speaks of God.’

“When Sister Josephine Bryan heard of the death of Sister Teresa Ann, she called and said, ‘You know that she was loved by everyone in College Park and especially my family. My niece is named Teresa Ann.’ And this love and affection was duplicated wherever she ministered,” continued Sister Catherine.

“It has been said of Sister Teresa Ann that she had two passions: one, her deep and abiding love for God and family, and two, her love for the Irish! Her life inspires us to be all that we can be,” said Sister Catherine.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Teresa Ann was celebrated Feb. 24, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She was preceded in death by her sister.

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