This liturgy isa celebration of God’s unconditional love, and a celebration of the life of S. Maryann Rogers, Sister Mary Theodora, a Sister of St. Joseph for almost seventy five years. Born to Claire and William, Maryann grew up In St. Joachim and Anne’s parish in Queens. She attended the Juniorate of the Sisters of St. Joseph and upon graduation entered the congregation.
Maryann earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Italian and English from Manhattan College and a Masters in Theology from Providence College.
Maryann taught in elementary school including St. Michael’s in Brooklyn, Holy Name of Mary in Valley Stream, Ascension and St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor where I first met Sister Mary Theodora as a sixth grader. Calm and insightful about the needs of pre-teens from a beach community, she was an excellent teacher and took time to be present and enjoy our activities, even planning a beach party for us to end our year of accelerating from 6B through 7B. After teaching in elementary school, she taught Religion at Bishop McDonnell High School.
With the winds of change from the Second Vatican Council, Maryann took to heart the words of St. Paul: “Let the word of God dwell in you.” In 1967, Maryann began her beloved ministry at St. Elizabeth Center in South Huntington. The call of Vatican II was answered with energy and zeal as Maryann and her staff created a vibrant community seeking to live out the gospel as a parish family. I had the privilege of ministering at St. Elizabeth’s for a “Summer in the Center” program which involved the children with their families and the entire parish community.
Imbued with a love of theology and her own deep spirituality, Maryann studied Theology and Spirituality at the University of San Francisco and became the Retreat Director of the Bergamo Center in Dayton, Ohio. Returning to New York Maryann was supported in a welcoming community in Bay Shore with Joanna and Doris. Maryann responded to a need in our congregation and became the Director of Initial Formation helping women discern their own personal call.
Maryann once again heeded Paul’s call to God’s chosen ones “to put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” This is how Maryann lived her entire life and encouraged others to do the same and we are grateful.
Sister Maryann Elizabeth Rogers, CSJ died on March 11, 2019 in the 75th year of her religious life.