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Throwback Thursday: Remembering Sister Mary Henry Brames

In a photo from 1985, Sister Mary Henry Brames stands next to the mittens she crocheted for the poor.

“She was an essential part of the endeavor to make Saint Mary-of-the-Woods an autonomous facility, maintaining its own farm, dairy, orchard, coal mine and bakery, in addition to the cannery,” Sister Mary Roger Madden wrote in the commentary for Sister Mary Henry Brames (RIP), the subject of this week’s Throwback Thursday.

Receiving requests in any way from people regarding the Sisters of Providence and Throwback Thursday blogs is so refreshing, and we want to thank Linda Schroering for requesting this blog. Sister Mary Henry was her great-aunt.

Agnes Brames was born on Nov. 26, 1896, in Jasper, Indiana, the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Heilers) Brames.

Agnes entered the Congregation on Feb. 10, 1919, and was given the religious name Sister Mary Henry.

Throughout her 74 years as a Sister of Providence, she ministered as a cook, initially in large convents where the Sisters of Providence taught, in Illinois and Indiana.

However, in 1934, Mother Gertrude Clare asked Sister Mary Henry to begin a ministry at the Motherhouse, and she did – for the next 42 years.

Sister Mary Henry became the director of operations at the cannery, where Sister Mary Roger said, “fresh fruits and vegetables were prepared for tables in Providence, the Novitiate, Infirmary, Academy and later college dining rooms.”

Sister Mary Ann Lechner was in the novitiate when Sister Mary Henry ministered there. Recently, she recalled peeling apples as a novice at the cannery, which was north of Providence Hall.

“She was a very gentle woman. She was never rushed, she just seemed to go,” Sister Mary Ann said. “She loved jigsaw puzzles and was so faithful every day.”

In her commentary, Sister Mary Roger continued, “It seems safe to say that no sister now living can remember when Sister Mary Henry Brames was not part of our family life as Sisters of Providence. Her quiet, unassuming, but remarkably productive life has touched every one of us, and we shall miss her.”

Sister Mary Henry died on Jan. 23, 1993. She was 96 years old. ‪#‎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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3 Comments

  1. S. Mary Mundy on August 3, 2017 at 8:56 am

    S. Mary Henry was a fabulous woman ….she never seemed to be disturbed about a thing!
    Working in the cannery as a canonical novice was something I really enjoyed, thanks to her kindness to all of us!

  2. S. Mary Frances Keusal on August 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Jason, keep these blogs coming – I love them!
    I remember Sr. Mary Henry well and I use to marvel how anybody so small and so quiet could get so much done. I remember how she was pinned up with her bib apron. I remember that sweet smile with her lips hardly parted. If I remember correctly, Sr. Mary Henry was the one who taught us, as novices, that a hair pin had many uses. As novices we used them to take the pits out of cherries!

  3. Kay Brentlinger on September 10, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I remember coming back to the cannery with our precious cargo of freshly picked strawberries to be met with tall, ice cold glasses of delicious grape juice (also made by S. Mary Henry) and, when she could secure it, cake also.

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