Around the Abbey

The Passing of Sr. Mary Ann Sullivan

Sister Mary Ann Sullivan of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, died on May 13, at 6:00 PM at the Abbey.

Sr. Mary Ann Sullivan was born on July 20, 1937 in Washington, DC, the eldest of nine children born to Edward and Marian Sullivan. She entered the Cistercian monastery of Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, Massachusetts, on September 14, 1957 and made her solemn profession on October 13, 1962. Two years later, Sr. Mary Ann was sent with 12 other sisters to found a new monastery, Our Lady of the Mississippi, in Dubuque, Iowa on October 18, 1964.

Of all the art forms Sr. Mary Ann used in service of the community– silk screening Christmas cards, water color painting, pastel sketching, calligraphy–iconography was the artistic expression dearest to her heart.

A person of keen intellect and an avid reader, Sr. Mary Ann shared her love for our Cistercian Fathers and Mothers by teaching our sisters in formation and by choosing readings for community liturgy for decades. Sr. Mary Ann remembered what she read! When any of us wanted to trace a quote from one of the early Church or Cistercian writers, we would go to Mary Ann.

Sr. Mary Ann had great love for Pope Francis. She read his book of homilies slowly during her last Lent and asked for that book to with her even when she could no longer read.

Through the years, as community artist, directress of junior studies, cellerar, sacristan, vegetable gardener, and well-remembered portress in our gift shop, the center of Sr. Mary Ann’s life was prayer. If she promised to pray for you, you could be sure that you would have a place on her daily prayer list.

Sr. Mary Ann will be remembered for her deep love of God, her unfaltering faithfulness to monastic life, her humility, obedience and gentle, caring love for others. She could tease with a twinkle in her eye!

There will be a wake service in conjunction with Compline for Sister Mary Ann on Monday, May 15, at 7:15 PM, and the funeral will be in the Abbey Church on  Tuesday, May 16, at  10:00 AM.