Sister Annette Marie Bruce
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone.” (Philippians 4:4-5)
“This reading from Philippians seems to describe Sister Annette Marie. The first words that come to mind when I hear her name are peace and joy. Sister Annette Marie said that her favorite place at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods was the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. I am sure that her time spent there was the source of the sense of peace that everyone has mentioned finding in her,” said Sister Mary Ann Phelan in her commentary for Sister Annette Marie Bruce, who died Feb. 26.
Born Feb. 28, 1912, in Indianapolis, Doris Marie Bruce was one of seven children of William and Mary (Galloway) Bruce. She attended St. Patrick Grade School and St. John Academy, both in Indianapolis, before entering the Congregation Feb. 9, 1936. She 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 Annette Marie professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1938, and 1944, respectively.
Sister Annette Marie began teaching in 1938 at St. Joseph, Galesburg, Ill. In Illinois, she also taught at Immaculate Conception, Norwood Park, and St. Mark, Chicago. She spent five years at St. Clement, Lansdowne, Md. Her Indiana classrooms included St. Mary, Lafayette; St. Joan of Arc and St. Andrew, Indianapolis; St. Jude, Fort Wayne; and Our Lady of the Greenwood, Greenwood. In 1977, she ministered as a clerk and tutor at St. Luke, Indianapolis. She returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 1980 and volunteered in a variety of capacities.
“My first meeting with Sister Annette Marie was when my sister, Dorothy, was in her class. My sister was deaf and the Catholic school, which she had attended, was closed. My parents wanted to keep her in a Catholic school, and Sister Annette Marie accepted her so graciously into her class of fifth- and sixth-grade students. Throughout the years, Sister Annette Marie would inquire about Dorothy. Her calm acceptance of this student who was so different had a profound impact on the students in the class, who followed her example of accepting diversity many years before we as a Congregation talked about it. A couple of years later I was also in Sister Annette Marie’s class, and I remember her as peaceful then,” shared Sister Mary Ann.
“On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 26, Sister Annette Marie entered her eternal life in the same quiet, peaceful way she had lived here on Earth throughout her 93 years of life and 70 years as a Sister of Providence. We will truly miss this example of peace and joy in our lives, but we know that she is now sharing in the eternal peace of the one whom she loved and served so well in her many years of prayerful services,” said Sister Mary Ann.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Annette Marie was celebrated March 3, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by two sisters, Janice Maude of Indianapolis, and Annette Gates of Noblesville, Ind., and one brother, Bill of Loveland, Colo.
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