Sister Maureen Ann McCarthy
A reading from the Prophet Daniel:
“The angel wearing linen clothes said, “At that time the great angel Michael, who guards your people will appear. Then there will be a time of troubles, the worst since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, all the people of your nation whose names are written in God’s book will be saved. Many of those who have already died will live again: some will enjoy eternal life, and some will suffer eternal disgrace. The wise leaders will shine with all the brightness of the sky, and those who have taught many people to do what is right will shine like the stars forever,” (Daniel 12:1-3).
The word of God.
Sister Maureen Ann (Jeanette Catherine) McCarthy was born in Chicago, to Betty Gundersen and John Francis McCarthy on August 23, 1928. She had two siblings, a sister Mary and a brother John, both of whom are deceased. She attended St. Genevieve Elementary School and Immaculata High School in Chicago. Sister Maureen Ann received her bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and her master’s degree from Indiana State University, said Sister Mary Ann Phelan in her commentary for Sister Maureen Ann McCarthy, who died on Friday, July 6, 2018, at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. She was 89 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 71 years.
Just eight months after graduation, Sister Maureen Ann entered the Sisters of Providence. She received the habit on August 15, 1947, and professed first and perpetual vows on August 15, 1949 and 1954, respectively.
Sister Maureen Ann began her teaching career in September 1949 in Lansdowne, Maryland. She continued teaching for most of the next 47 years. She taught music for four years, then elementary school for 32 years and high school for 11 years. During this time, she also spent one year in the House of Prayer and one year in the business office at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
In 1997, Sister Maureen Ann came back to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to “retire.” Her so-called retirement for the next 21 years was spent with driving as her ministry. I learned just the other day that before Sister Maureen Ann knew she wanted to be a Sister of Providence, she had dreamed of being a missionary to China. While not a missionary, she did visit China and really enjoyed herself.
Now that we are all worn out by just listening to her work history, let us take a look at WHO Sister Maureen Ann was to all who met her. First of all, her devotion to family. She truly loved each one of you. While her name McCarthy tells us that part of her heritage was Irish, she never forgot the Norwegian heritage of her mother and relatives. One of her most memorable trips was her visit to Norway. If you passed her door or mailbox, you would see her flag of Norway.
Many of Sister Maureen’s friends would say that the ministry of her life was really anticipating the needs of others. This ministry is evident in the way her students loved her and in what every one of her sisters here have said. The only time I ever heard her say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that,” was when she had already promised to do something for another person at that time. For a number of years, when I had to leave here for an early morning flight, Sister Maureen Ann would start off to the airport with me before 5 a.m., and most of the time there would be at least one other passenger in the car. If you were in health care recuperating, you knew that one person who would visit you every day was Sister Maureen Ann. Oh! By the way, if you had an early doctor’s appointment, you would have to go to Square Donuts afterward. Her explanation was that the car went there automatically.
In keeping with her generous spirit of giving, a few years ago, Sister Maureen Ann decided to give her body to science at the time that her soul was uniting with her loving God. For reasons unknown to us, it was decided by the receiving organization that it was best to refuse it. God spared Maureen Ann from knowing this.
When I think of Sister Maureen Ann, I think about the quote sometimes attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi: “Preach always and when necessary use words.” It was her quiet, peaceful appearance that taught everyone what it means to be a follower of Christ. Even when you could see by the way she was walking that she had to be in pain, she did not let it show in her face or words.
Sister Maureen Ann was not all work though. She loved sports, especially Notre Dame and Bears football. But without a doubt, her all-time favorite was the CUBS baseball games.
Sister Maureen Ann lived her life fully as a faithful Sister of Providence. She did not wear her spirituality on her sleeve, but we saw it in not only her living out the commandment of love for others in action, but also in her fidelity to prayer. Until the last couple of weeks of her life, when we all could see her failing health, she went to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel first thing every morning and daily Mass. She loved the monthly Taize prayer.
Sister Maureen Ann left this life as she had lived: ready to meet her God, who took her home to heaven where her parents and siblings were waiting for her. I will miss her and will remember her example of what it means to be a true Christian. Goodbye, Friend.
Funeral services for Sister Maureen Ann took place on Wednesday, July 11, and Thursday, July 12, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Memorial contributions in Sister Maureen Ann’s honor may be made to the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
We welcome you to share your memories about Sister Maureen
Sister Maureen Ann McCarthy
Teacher for 42 years in schools in Maryland, Indiana, North Carolina, Illinois, and Texas.
In Indiana: St. Paul, Sellersburg (1950-51), St. Anthony, Indianapolis (1951-54), St. Philip Neri, Indianapolis (1957-58).
In Maryland: St. Clement, Lansdowne (1949-50).
In North Carolina: Blessed Sacrament, Burlington (1954-55).
In Illinois: St. Joseph, Downers Grove (1955-57), St. Angela, Chicago (1959-60), St. Columbkille, Chicago (1950-65), St. Mary Carmelite, Joliet (1965-67), St. Francis Borgia, Chicago (1967-72), St. Andrew, Chicago (1973-75), St. Genevieve, Chicago (1976-82), Immaculate Conception, Chicago (1985-86), Providence-St. Mel, Chicago (1986-97).
In Texas: St. John, Robstown (1958-59).
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I am so sad to hear of S. Maureen Ann’s passing. My office was on the second floor of Providence Hall during the PSCC renovation. S. Maureen loved my little blue Toyota. She was the self-appointed guardian of the car’s safety in the parking lot, and (jokingly) made sure that I was taking good care of it. We had so much fun during our daily talks. I will miss her.
At last she can watch every Cubs game from a perfect vantage point! We all know how she cheered them on! We will miss her humor and friendly smile, for sure. Rest in peace, my friend.
Sister Maureen Ann was one of my teaching colleagues many years ago at St. Francis Borgia in Chicago.
We gave her the definitely undeserved nickname “Mean Maureen” because we loved to kid her–and she was such a good sport. Sister and I remained friends for nearly 50 years and wrote back and forth. As anyone who knew her was aware, she was probably one of the most devoted Cubs fans ever. To say she was overjoyed to be alive when the Cubs won the pennant is an understatement! Sister was an amazing teacher and a wonderful friend. And I suspect she’s rooting for the Cub angels in Heaven!
Sister Maureen became a friend of my parents and my family when my parents resided at Lourdes hall in the assisted living unit. Maureen and my parents shared a bond as eternal fans of the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. Now I am sure they are all in heaven cheering on their favorite team and will be singing in the 7th inning stretch this evening. Her sense of humor and her love for her neighbors at Lourdes will be missed, but we know she is in a better place.