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Sister Ann Therese McAndrew, C.S.C. (Sister M. Florinda)

May 16, 1925 ~ December 29, 2020 (age 95)

Obituary

Sister Ann Therese McAndrew, CSC
(Sister M. Florinda)

May 16, 1925 -- December 29, 2020 

Entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross from Chicago, Illinois on September 14, 1943
Initial Profession of Vows on August 15, 1946

Sister Ann Therese McAndrew left clear instructions several years ago on the details of her funeral. She had been a faithful member of the Sisters of the Holy Cross for 77 years when she died at Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana on December 29, 2020 at age 95.  She asked that there be no memento for her, thinking that it would be an imposition to have another sister in her entrance group or band, feel compelled to extol her virtues as a fellow woman religious. As it happened, she alone was the surviving member of her band who entered in September 1943. As for the memento, she insisted, “Just speak about the goodness of Saint Joseph. I consider him my good friend.”

Within the context of this obituary, Saint Joseph was an appropriate friend to accompany Anna McAndrew throughout her life. In traditional Catholic spirituality, Saint Joseph is the saint of a hidden life who fosters and protects the child and the family. Anna’s father was already deceased when she applied to the Sisters of the Holy Cross in late August 1943 at 18 years old. William McAndrew was a post office superintendent in Chicago, Illinois where she was born.  Her mother, Catherine B. McClarence McAndrew, gave birth to her on May 16, 1925. Sisters of the Holy Cross taught her in elementary school at St. Theodore where later, the pastor recommended her for the convent describing Anna as a very good young lady coming from a fine Catholic family. Anna’s family included her older sister, Mary Catherine, probably named for their mother. Their brother’s name was James Thomas.

The primal bond of family persisted after Anna’s entrance into the Sisters of the Holy Cross at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana, where Anna received the name Sister Mary Florinda upon reception of the holy habit, August 15, 1944. Her older sister by four years, Mary Catherine, had entered the Congregation only the month before and later received the name Sister Mary Rita. Since 1967, Anna has been known as Sister Ann Therese McAndrew. She asserted that the baptismal name Anna Therese was never intended. Reclaiming the McAndrew surname was likely also important since she left instructions to give all her “Irish possessions” to her family upon her death. Everyone attests to Sister’s devotion to her family. Jim’s family visited Sister Ann Therese often and she kept track of Jim and wife Therese’s three children and all their extended family. At Sister Ann Therese’s Mass of Resurrection on January 4, 2021, the hymns selected by Sister included ones from her brother’s funeral and her sister’s. Sister Rita died March 8, 1973 in her early fifties after a six-month illness. It was a devastating loss. Within five days of her death, Sister Ann Therese wrote asking permission, which was granted, that she be buried next to her sister’s grave in Our Lady of Peace Cemetery at the motherhouse.  Sister Ann Therese loved the outdoors and exercised her independence and determination by walking outside as much as possible. Almost daily, she visited Sister Rita’s grave, next to where the younger sister herself chose to rest one day.

Sister Ann Therese emulated Saint Joseph, whom tradition calls a worker, provider, and guardian. She was known for being dedicated and conscientious in all her duties, rarely taking a sick day. She was an accomplished seamstress and cook who shared her domestic talents with others. Her material needs were minimal, being content with what she had.  Sister credited her friend Saint Joseph as significant in her life of service. “My first ministry was at St. Joseph Grade School in South Bend, Indiana, and my last ministry was at St. Joseph High School in South Bend.”  Sister had attended Lindholm Technical High School in Chicago, taking four years of commercial courses but later pursued educational ministry instead. She earned a science bachelor’s in education at Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana in 1963 and a master’s in education at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana in 1968.

From 1946 to 1970 Sister Ann Therese spent 24 years as a teacher in elementary education. In 1970 she transitioned to serving as a receptionist or office assistant in schools, 10 years at Holy Cross School in South Bend and 33 years at St. Joseph High School in South Bend. Whether in the classroom or the school office, Sister Ann Therese was known for her keen understanding of children and adolescents. Students and staff loved her. She described herself in her own youth as having a pleasant disposition. Sister was shy, some say timid, but she bore herself with dignity and grace, a lady from head to toe. Her bright eyes and open smile made her approachable. A parent wrote, “In her simplicity she was a role model for religious life, particularly for the teenage kids in the high school she loved.” In her last years at St. Joseph High School she had charge of the chapel and loved her time as sacristan, setting up for student masses.  In all her 68 years of ministry she served only in Indiana and Illinois. In July 2014, she retired to a full-time ministry of prayer at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana. Hers had been truly a hidden life. She had lived her life quietly as a consecrated woman religious following Jesus Christ. Sister selected Mt. 22:34-40 as the gospel reading by which she wanted to be remembered.  Sister Ann Therese loved God with all her heart, soul, and mind. And she did her best to love her neighbor as herself.  Catholics pray to Saint Joseph as the patron of a happy death. Clearly Sister Ann Therese pondered her life’s purpose and the ultimate mystery which awaits us all.

 

Private services for Sister Ann Therese McAndrew were held on Monday Morning January 4, 2021, in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto followed by interment at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery. Kaniewski Funeral Homes assisted. You are invited to donate in Sister’s name to the Sisters of the Holy Cross Ministry with the Poor Fund at www.cscsisters.org 

 

--Sister Catherine Osimo, CSC

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