Sister Ann Renee Maxwell
“Sing to God a new song of praise.” (Psalm 149:1)
“Psalm 149 is surely a song full of joy — singing God’s praises. It depicts a person of a truly joyful spirit, a happy, positive person in love with others and bidding them to give glory to God. Is not that what our lives should be about? As I listened to sisters tell me about Sister Ann Renee, that is what I have gathered about her — a person in love with others and certainly in love with her God,” said Sister Mary Pat Peacock in her commentary for Sister Ann Renee Maxwell, who died Sept. 6.
One of four daughters of Harold and Anna (Bartak) Maxwell, Lorraine Anna Maxwell entered this world June 8, 1929, in Joliet, Ill. She attended grade school at Washington/Farragut School in Joliet and high school at Providence also at Joliet. She entered the Congregation July 22, 1948, and professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1951, and 1956, respectively. Sister Ann Renee earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and an LPN degree from Ivy Tech College, Terre Haute, Ind.
Sister Ann Renee spent more than two decades ministering in education. Her first classroom was at St. David, Chicago. In Illinois, she also ministered at St. Dennis, Lockport; Our Lady of Mercy, Chicago; and St. Alexander, Palos Heights. She spent three years at Ascension, Halethorpe, Md., and one year at Our Lady of Providence, St. Louis. In Indiana, she taught at St. Jude, Fort Wayne, and St. John, Newburgh.
After earning her LPN, Sister Ann Renee ministered in the Infirmary at the Woods. She also ministered several years at Northwest Hospital, Chicago. From 1987 to 1997, Sister Ann Renee ministered in Niles, Ill., at either St. Andrew Home or St. Benedict Home. She returned to the Woods in 2000 and ministered in Health Care.
“Sister Ann Renee was basically a happy person. One of the sisters who studied with her said she was always pleasant, very even tempered. She brought joy and happiness to her patients. The director of the Infirmary during the years Sister Ann Renee was working there said she never heard Sister Ann Renee complain and she never heard anyone complain about Sister Ann Renee. Her kindness, compassion and concern for her patients were well known and appreciated both here in our Infirmary and in the Chicago health-care facilities. Sister Ann Renee anticipated the patients’ needs and did all she could to make them comfortable. What has been said about Sister Ann Renee in regard to her nursing ministry can be said about her teaching ministry. She followed the admonition of Saint Mother Theodore: ‘Love the children first, then teach them.’ Sister Ann Renee brought much joy into all her classrooms,’” said Sister Mary Pat.
“We know Sister Ann Renee had a great sense of humor; she loved to tell jokes, and did you ever hear her cry like a baby? She could also imitate a train sound. We are aware of Sister Ann Renee’s love for bingo and all games of chance, her collection of jewelry of all kinds, her perfectly manicured fingernails — all these very human aspects of her life. But, let us consider how she lived out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in her apostolic life of teaching and nursing. Instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, visiting and caring for the sick, comforting the sorrowful, praying for the living and the dead, and more — all these were the heart and soul of her ministerial life for over 50 years,” continued Sister Mary Pat.
“I imagine Sister Ann Renee heard these words on the early morning of Monday, Sept. 6: ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you cared for me, I was ignorant and you instructed me, I was sad and you consoled me, for when you did it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me,’” concluded Sister Mary Pat.
The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Ann Renee was celebrated Sept. 10, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one sister, Renee Maxwell of Estero, Fla.
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