2014 Jubilarian – Annemarie (Marie Juda) Askwith
Annemarie Askwith, IHM, grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and attended Marygrove College (like her cousin did). Like many college students, she questioned the direction to take upon graduation and considered either a contemplative or missionary vocation.
“I went through stages of indecision and finally they pulled together,” she recalls. Sister Annemarie credits a patient mentor’s “spirit of care, candor and humor” for her joining the IHM community.
After completing her degree in childhood psychology and education, Sister Annemarie taught nursery school through elementary grades and ministered in special education programs, campus ministry, pastoral work, adult GED classes and employment work with at-risk adults. She currently is a part-time case manager for a three-county Community Dispute Resolution Center.
Sister Annemarie earned a master’s degree in applied philosophy. She feels she was fortunate IHMs encouraged her to study the works of Thomas Berry. Berry was able to perceive that the scientific data coming in on the story and evolution of the universe and Earth also carried new depths and breadths and corrections to our story of how, where, what and who is sacred.
She began to notice how often Scripture referenced Jesus as crediting another Source for his wisdom and energy. It may well be that many convictions that Jesus carried, counter to the practices of his time, lay in his ability to “read” the scriptures of nature and life in addition to deep themes of the Old Testament.
Sister Annemarie wants her world to consciously include nature. “It has been inspiring to see how many persons and groups are working to wake us up to the fragile condition of our ecosystems. We are just beginning to recognize that the wellbeing of air, water, soil and ecosystems positively affects the health of every human discipline from politics to economics to employment.”
One of Sister Annemarie’s surprises has been to return to work in her childhood region where she was able to live with her parents when they had need. She gained so much from that time. She is now living in and working with that space to better express and extend friendship and reflection.
Thinking about the future, Sister Annemarie says she hopes to honor the IHM community. “I admire the present sisters so much because they are gracefully letting go of a world that was very successful and beautiful. That takes an education. Many people resist even listening to new thoughts let alone seriously considering the best of them.
“Openness to the future is one of the most beautiful qualities of our IHM community. Our seniors are striking in their peace, insight, faith and sense. They have confidence that Providence is at work in all that is and that together we will continue making worlds truly wonderful.”