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Remembering Sister Marie Brendan Harvey

This photo, taken in 1983, depicts Sister Marie Brendan Harvey presenting a recital of Sacred Music.

A total of 11 Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, passed away in 2016.

During the month of December, the Throwback Thursday blog was dedicated to those sisters’ lives and ministries.

In the final week of 2016, the blog focused on the lives and ministries of Sister Mary Esther Lane and Sister Marian Ruth Johnson.

And on Dec. 27, 2016, Sister Marie Brendan Harvey passed away. This week’s Throwback Thursday, which is actually a Flashback Friday, will take a look at her life and ministries.

Mary Therese Harvey was born on Jan. 2, 1926, in Chicago, to parents John and Margaret Harvey. Her father was from Scotland and her mother was from Ireland. Mary Therese was the only child of the family born in the United States.

Sister Marie Brendan entered the Congregation on Feb. 2, 1946. Her older sister, Sister Brendan Harvey, was also a Sister of Providence, who founded Providence Food Pantry.

Of her many ministries, most remember her through music education. For 18 years, she ministered on the faculty at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, serving as the director of the College Chorale. She was the founding director of the College Madrigals. She also taught voice and chant. In 2016, she received the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Distinguished Alumni Award.

This photo was taken in 1996, during Sister Marie Brendan Harvey’s Golden Jubilee. It also features her sister, Sister Brendan Harvey.

Sister Marie Brendan also ministered as the director for the Alumnae Office at the college from 1973 to 1982.

Through the years, she also served in pastoral ministry and liturgical consultation, and for 26 years, she coordinated the alumnae for her alma mater, Providence High School, located in Chicago.

Many will also remember Sister Marie Brendan’s voice. In her commentary for Sister Marie Brendan’s obituary, Sister Mary Roger Madden said, “The response almost always received at the mention of her name is not only to her gift of music, but to the loving nature of her character … This attribute is expressed in one of the songs with which she is often identified, ‘Bless this House.’”

In 1965, Sister Marie Brendan was featured on a Sisters of Providence album, “Bless this House,” featuring songs she had been requested to sing throughout the years. She was accompanied by Sister Mary Lourdes on the record, which was released through Delta Records – based in Chicago.

It was the second album the sisters had recorded, the first being “In God’s Providence,” an album’s worth of choral performances by the Sisters of Providence.

Sister Marie Brendan died on Dec. 27, 2016. She was 90 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 70 years.

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Jason Moon

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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  1. Avatar Rosemary Schmid on March 1, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Jason! I think we sat next to each other at the 2016? Mother Theodore / Sr. of Providence gathering. (I’m at work. Can’t remember the official name!)

    My request is for some kind of index to the Throwback Thursday / Flashback Friday entries!

    Thanks for what you are doing. These Sisters are something else – every one of them.

    (I’m in Charlotte, NC)

  2. Avatar Helen Piotter on February 10, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Sister Marie Brendan was one of the very first nuns I got to know well. I was recruited as one of the children for “The Sound of Music” in 1963(?) . Sister Marie Brendan coached us in our vocals and was a wonderful teacher, even for a 5 year old. Loved that woman, and what a voice!

  3. Avatar Nancy L Dannels on September 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I have three requests for your Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday.
    1. Sister Rosemary Borntrager—-She was my sixth grade teacher at St. Dennis School in Lockport, Illinois and I
    have been in contact with her for many years.
    2. Sister Marian (Marion) Patrick—-She was my third grade teacher at St. Dennis School in Lockport
    3. Sister Jean Marie—- She was my first grade teacher at St. Dennis School in Lockport.
    If you can’t publish all of these requests could you send me information about Sister Marian Patrick and Sister Jean Marie?
    Many Thanks, Nancy Dannels

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