Sister Ann Bernard Sullivan
“Love is the strength of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” (excerpt from Psalm 27 of “Psalms for Praying” by Nan Merrill)
“These words of one of Sister Ann Bernard’s favorite Psalms give us some insight into the peace that was a hallmark of Sister Ann Bernard. Every sister with whom I have spoken since Sister Ann Bernard died on Saturday morning has said she was so beautiful and peaceful. What else could we see in one who prayed this Psalm often?” shared Sister Mary Ann Phelan in her commentary for Sister Ann Bernard Sullivan, who died April 29.
One of seven children of Michael and Mary Alice (Lents) Sullivan, Mabel Agnes Sullivan was born Sept. 24, 1918, in Indianapolis. Her grade school years were spent at St. Patrick, Indianapolis, and St. Vincent Orphanage, Vincennes, Ind. She graduated from St. Agnes Academy, Indianapolis. She entered the Congregation Feb. 2, 1936, and professed first and perpetual vows Aug. 15, 1938, and Jan. 23, 1944, respectively. Sister Ann Bernard earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
“The time that Sister Ann Bernard spent in the orphanage as a child made her especially grateful for family and that accounts for her closeness with her many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and great-grandnephews,” said Sister Mary Ann.
Sister Ann Bernard began teaching in 1938 at St. Rose, Chelsea, Mass. In Chicago, she ministered at Our Lady of Mercy, St. Genevieve and Our Lady of Sorrows. She spent one year in Alhambra, Calif., at St. Therese. In Indiana, her classrooms were at St. Benedict and St. Margaret Mary, Terre Haute; and St. Bridget, St. Andrew and St. Jude, Indianapolis. In 1966, Sister Ann Bernard began a new ministry, handling the business accounts at Our Lady of Providence High School, Clarksville, Ind. From 1971 to 1977, she ministered in the business office at Providence Retirement Home, New Albany, Ind. For one year following this, she served as the receptionist and manager of the main office at Cathedral High School, Indianapolis. From 1978 to 1987, Sister Ann Bernard served in a variety of roles in Indiana parishes at St. Charles Parish, Peru; St. John, Loogootee; St. Patrick Center, Indianapolis; and St. Susanna Parish, Plainfield. From 1987 to 1991, she ministered as the business manager at Woods Day Care/Pre-School, retiring in 1993.
“Anyone who knew Sister Ann Bernard knows that throughout her life she was a very prayerful woman. She had great devotion to Our Lady and the rosary. Anytime she would go to the hospital the first thing she would ask someone to get for her was her rosary,” continued Sister Mary Ann.
Sister Ann Bernard was preceded in death by all her siblings. She was especially close to her sister, Sister Marie Michael, who was also a Sister of Providence. “Sister Ann Bernard was also known for her great devotion to Sister Marie Michael. She would visit her in the health-care facility every day. I remember how much Sister Ann Bernard missed her when she died, but she told me that she knew that her suffering was over. I’m sure they had a great reunion on Saturday morning,” said Sister Mary Ann.
“While Sister Ann Bernard suffered much in her life, she had a beautiful way about her and was always so graceful in her dealings with her sisters. She enjoyed life,” said Sister Mary Ann.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Ann Bernard was celebrated May 4, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding.
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