Then and Now

Mahoney Mary Ann 6Sister Mary Ann Mahoney attended St. Gertrude School in St. Clair Shores, Mich., and transferred to St. Agnes in Detroit, where the IHM Sisters taught her for grades three through12.

“They were very caring people, especially my high school teachers,” she recalls. “They encouraged us to do what we felt called to do.”

Early on, Sister Mary Ann wanted to be a nun just like her teachers. The idea had left her when she entered high school, but returned briefly after a day retreat in Monroe. But, the idea of a religious vocation was fleeting; marriage and children were more appealing. Her mother wanted her to be a nurse, but she worked briefly as a nurse’s aide after high school and decided that wasn’t for her.

During her freshman year at Marygrove, the idea of a vocation began to germinate. “I thought. ‘I’d better try this out. I really feel called to this,’” she says.

When she entered, Sister Mary Ann was surprised by the many rules. “I thought it would be more like Marygrove, but it wasn’t like being in college at all. It was very strict.” It was the silence, as well as the lack of freedom, that were most shocking. But feeling strongly that she was where she was supposed to be, she endured.

Her first mission was teaching first grade at St. Raymond in Detroit. This was followed by teaching first and second grades at St. Stephen in Port Huron, Mich., and then fourth grade at St. Charles in Detroit. She then moved to Albuquerque, N.M., teaching third through sixth grades at Assumption School, sixth and seventh grades at Queen of Heaven and grades six through eight at St. Mary.

She was also involved with the Charismatic Renewal, where she taught classes and played guitar. After 16 years, Sister Mary Ann moved to Phoenix to be closer to her brother and family and help care for her ailing mother. She was a member of the Board of the Council of Religious and served as chair of the Phoenix Diocese Religious Life Committee. Her final year of teaching was at St. Matthew School in inner city Phoenix.

After she left teaching, she stayed in Arizona as the director of religious education at St. Jerome and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parishes, where she learned to speak Spanish. She then mahoney-maryann0001worked for 17 years as director of Christian formation and served as a spiritual director at St. Louis the King Parish before retiring. Currently, she is a Eucharistic minister and manages the Boutique at the Motherhouse.

“The people in the community” have been Sister Mary Ann’s greatest joy. “I have made a lot of friends here and the community has been very supportive,” she notes. She is grateful for the blessing of good leadership in every place she has served.

“God is in control ultimately. I follow my conscience and what God speaks to me in my heart.”

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