We celebrate the life of Sister Anne Behre, Sister Agnes Vincent, a Sister of Saint Joseph for seventy-four years. We are here to celebrate because that is what Anne would want us to do. She lived her life with joy and radiated her happiness to all who came into her life.
Anne, daughter of Agnes and Vincent, grew up in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Brooklyn. She attended Fontbonne Hall Academy and entered our congregation after high school. The charism of the Sisters of Saint joseph is profound love of God and neighbor without distinction. Anne did love all especially her family. Anne shared community for over thirty years with Grace, Liz and her dear friend Joanne and she loved them dearly. Anne “loved large” and that included loving all of God’s creatures, especially those with four legs and a bark. Anne’s innate sense of joy was rooted in her deep relationship with a loving God and with confidence in that love, she developed her gifts for the sake of others.
She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from St. John’s University. In her early ministry, Anne taught elementary school and also music, including piano lessons for many aspiring artists. She became principal of St. Francis Xavier Academy and during that time attained a Master’s Degree in Deaf Education from the State University at Buffalo which began her outstanding ministry to persons who were deaf.
Anne was the first Superintendent of St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf and she held that position for sixteen years while the programs grew and the staff became known for their expertise and dedication. Anne continued her education and received a Doctorate in Administration and Supervision from Teachers’ College, Columbia University. After leaving her position at St. Francis, Anne brought her knowledge and experience to the Students of St. Joseph’s College as a Professor in the Child Study Department for twenty-one years where she mentored students, faculty and staff with her wisdom, encouragement and joy. Her joy was a deep joy that enabled her to attain a wisdom she continued to share as she volunteered in St. Francis de Sales Parish in Belle Harbor.
Anne served on many Boards and was the recipient of the Caritas Award from the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Teillhard de Chardin has said “Joy is the infallible sign of the Presence of God.” In all of her ministries Anne was God’s presence and brought joy, laughter and confidence to all who knew her. There is a well-known saying printed on cards, posters and plaques which many of us have seen. It says “Live, Love and Laugh.” Anne has shown us how to live with faith in God, how to love without limits and to laugh because she was confident that no matter what life holds, God’s all-inclusive and reconciling love would sustain her. Let us all imitate Anne’s deep faith, boundless love and deep joy.
Sister Anne Behre, CSJ died on January 14, 2016 in the 74th year of her religious life.