With her joyful, enthusiastic outlook, her warmth and her frequently expressed gratitude for all the blessings in her life, it is no wonder that people responded so positively to Sister Ann.
Born on the eve of the Great Depression, Ann grew up in Marysville, where she attended the second Notre Dame school founded in California (1866). Inspired by the Sisters there and what she came to know about their foundress, Sister Julie Billiart, she decided early on that she wanted to dedicate her life to helping others as a Sister.
After attending college for a year, Ann entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1949. A natural as a primary grade teacher, she was assigned to many Notre Dame schools in California. She received a master’s degree and credential in Montessori Education and loved her years as Director of the Montessori Pre-School in Saratoga and supervising Montessori teachers. The description by her long-time friend, Mary Zodrow, could be echoed by many others: “Sister Ann helped our children bloom and find their wings.” Years after she retired from the classroom, parents continued to seek her wise advice.
Her six years supervising a Head Start program in rural West Virginia held a special place in Sister Ann’s heart. She taught mothers, as well as children, how to read and found ways to purchase paperbacks for people, when even library books were scarce.
Sister Ann was asked to restart two daycare centers, one that had only seven students when she began. Three years later, the center was flourishing with 60 children and six teachers. After retiring from classroom responsibilities, she enjoyed tutoring children at Notre Dame Elementary in Belmont, interacting with students in the library at Notre Dame High School, Belmont, and working with Notre Dame AmeriCorps volunteers.
Sister Ann lived at the Notre Dame Province Center in Belmont for twelve years before moving to Mercy Retirement & Care Center. Even a broken hip two weeks before her 2018 Jubilee didn’t stop her from celebrating with family and friends.
Sister Ann and her positive spirit will be deeply missed by her nieces and nephews, Shannon (Ray) Phillips, Shawn (Steve) Abbott, Susan DeMarois, Sara (Chuck) Egan, Barrett Stubbe, and many grand-nieces and nephews, former students, families, friends, and her Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 1520 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA 94002 or online at snddenwest.org.