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Remembering Sisters Mary Loyola Bender and Ann Kevin O’Connor

In 2016, 10 Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, have passed away.

During the month of December, the Throwback Thursday blogs have taken a look at the lives and ministries of those sisters.

Last week, we focused on Sister Amata Dugan and Sister Michael Ellen Green. This week’s Throwback Thursday blog will take a look at the lives and ministries of Sister Mary Loyola Bender and Sister Ann Kevin O’Connor.

An undated photo of Sister Mary Loyola Bender.

Sister Mary Loyola was born Anna Loyola Bender on Oct. 13, 1917, in Owensboro, Kentucky, to John Lawrence and Mary Cecilia Bender.

Sister Mary Loyola entered the Congregation in February 1939. She taught briefly at St. Benedict in Terre Haute, Indiana, before beginning a 23-year ministry as the church sacristan of the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

In her commentary for Sister Mary Loyola, Sister Ann Casper said “Newly appointed chaplain, Father Emil Goosens, had laid down an ultimatum to the general superior. If a sacristan was not appointed, he would request a change.”

Sister Ann continued, “Many recall having their eyes riveted on Mary Loyola as she glided her way gracefully around the sanctuary, one by one lighting the candles for Mass or for Benediction … She always appeared unflustered, calm and steady.”

Following this ministry, Sister Mary Loyola served as the administrator of Providence Retirement Home, located in New Albany, for 10 years, before ministering as director of maintenance and employees at Immaculata in Washington, D.C., for eight years.

Another undated photo of Sister Mary Loyola Bender.

In the mid-80s, Sister Mary Loyola began a ministry at St. Joseph Convent in Quincy, Massachusetts, as church sacristan and in convent service. She ministered there for 17 years.

Sister Mary Loyola returned to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods in 2003, and ministered mainly as a seamstress, before committing herself to the ministry of prayer in 2010.

Sister Mary Loyola’s aunt, Sister Louise Marie Bender, was also in the Congregation.

Sister Mary Loyola died on Aug. 16, 2016. She was 98 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 77 years.

Sister Ann Kevin was born Theresa Ann O’Connor on July 24, 1925, to Vincent L. and Nellie Barton O’Connor. Her parents were from Ireland.

She entered the Congregation in July 1943. She ministered as a teacher for 34 years in schools in California, Indiana, Illinois, Texas and Missouri.

This photo, taken in 1965, shows Sister Ann Kevin O’Connor with her parents.

Sister Ann Kevin ministered as principal of St. Joseph (Galesburg, Illinois) and St. Dennis (Lockport, Illinois), schools, as well as serving as assistant principal at John F. Kennedy High School (Manchester, Missouri).

She also ministered in office management, record keeping and secretarial work, including a stint with the General Administration at the Motherhouse.

In the commentary for her obituary, Sister Ann Casper said “Ann Kevin had several passions: Clothing catalogues was one, Fannie Mae Turtle Candies or any kind of chocolate another, and for sure all forms of technology, from cell phones to computers to cameras to tablets.”

This is a photo taken in 1960 of Sister Ann Kevin O’Connor.

Sister Ann continued “… we knew her eye for beauty, which was reflected most obviously in her appearance.”

Sister Ann also noted that Sister Ann Kevin’s father was an accomplished painter, which she also had a cousin who operated an art museum in Ireland, and her brother invented the Morton salt shaker.

In 2007, she committed herself to the ministry of prayer.

Sister Ann Kevin died on Aug. 24, 2016. She was 91 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 73 years. ‪#‎throwbackthursday ‪#‎tbt

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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