We celebrate the life of Ave Maria Maickel, a Sister of St. Joseph for 70 years. Ave knew the love God bestowed on her and it shaped her life enabling her to share that love with countless others.
Born in Floral Park to her parents, Margaret and Peter, Ave grew in the knowledge of her faith at Our Lady of Victory parish school. She entered our community in 1946 and began her ministry as a teacher of young children in the Brooklyn Diocese at St. Patrick’s, Immaculate Conception, Holy Cross, St. Michael’s, Holy Name, St. Francis Xavier and Transfiguration. The foundation of all reality is relational and through these ministries, many strong relationships were built with students and their families. The strength of those relationships was built on Ave’s gift to be attentive and welcoming in quiet and assuming ways. Stories told reveal Ave’s openness to whoever came into her presence. It might have been in a classroom, at a family gathering, with friends and their families or even at a bus stop.
Consistent with our congregation’s mission to bring all into union with God and one another, hospitality and welcoming of all without distinction is central to our way of life. Ave came to Brentwood in 1968 and for over thirty five years. she would witness to our tradition of hospitality in a multiplicity of ways including clerical assistance at St. Joseph’s Convent while building relationships with the families and friends of the congregation through St. Joseph’s Guild.
During these years Ave was attentive to all of the changes occurring at the Motherhouse. Many sisters from the convent moved to our new residence, Maria Regina and St. Joseph’s Convent housed sisters engaged in diverse ministries while being the center for congregational celebrations. Serving as Assistant Superior and Superior from 1993 – 2003, Ave’s attentive and welcoming manner enabled our sisters to move through many new challenges as sisters returned to the convent while Maria Regina was renovated to become a skilled nursing facility welcome other congregations and lay persons.
As we will hear in today’s gospel, the angel visited our Blessed mother greeting her with “Hail Mary,” “Ave Maria,” hail favored one. Ave was favored by God and as did Mary, she answered the call to be open to God speaking to her heart. As Mary, that call posed times that were troubling but in faith and with deep trust Ave lived out her “yes.” It enabled her to be present, attentive and welcoming in ways she may never have anticipated when she first uttered that yes.
We thank Ave for her selfless “yes” and we promise to continue to share the hospitality she offered so readily.
Sister Ave Maria Maickel, CSJ died on February 26, 2017 in the 72nd year of her religious life.