Sister Anne Maura McGarvey, MM

Born: September 15, 1922
Entered: September 6, 1945
Died: August 22, 1998

On the feast of the Queenship of Mary, August 22, 1998, our Sister Anne Maura McGarvey, known for her twinkling blue eyes, Irish smile and ‘top of the morning’ greeting, died at 6:30 a.m. in the Residential Care Unit at Maryknoll, New York, just less than one month short of celebrating her seventy-sixth birthday. She had been a Maryknoll Sister for fifty-two years.

Mary Teresa McGarvey was born September 15, 1922 in New York City, one of five children – two girls and three boys – to John Joseph and Mary Elizabeth (Maginn) McGarvey.

Mary Teresa received her early education at Annunciation, Our Lady of Victory and St. John Chrysostom Grammar Schools, and after graduating from Cathedral High School she attended Hunter College in New York City. Mary Teresa then worked as an Actuarial Clerk at the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company for three and one-half years before entering Maryknoll on September 6, 1945.

At Reception, Mary Teresa received the religious name of Sister Anne Maura, which she chose to retain throughout her entire religious life. She was proud of her Irish heritage! It is no wonder that she chose the name ‘Maura’ which is Gaelic for “Mary”.

After making her First Profession, March 7, 1948, Sister completed her studies for a Bachelor of Education degree at Maryknoll Teachers College. The following year she was among thirty-nine Maryknoll Sisters who received their mission assignments to serve God’s people around the globe. Sister Anne Maura was assigned to Hawaii, which was to be her home for the next forty-two years. She began her teaching career in the little country school of St. Ann in Kaneohe, Oahu, where there were many children of Japanese immigrants. Ten years later she was transferred to St. Augustine School in Waikiki. Sister’s next assignment was to Maryknoll High School in Punahou where she was Educational Assistant in the English and Science Resource Centers. Her students, whether they were first graders or seniors in high school, were empowered by Sister to be their best. Students as well as faculty members easily found a friend in Sister Anne Maura. Not long ago, staff from the Maryknoll High School in Honolulu came to visit her.

Throughout Sister’s entire teaching career of thirty-eight years, she truly lived up to the appraisal given her by her practice teaching Supervisor who wrote: “Sister’s deep love and understanding of children combined with her solid spirituality are factors to qualify her for the excellent teacher, I believe, she will become.”

In 1987, Sister Anne Maura used the secretarial and bookkeeping skills acquired at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in the Maryknoll Sisters Regional Office in Honolulu, Hawaii. Three years later, she left her beloved Hawaii for the Maryknoll Sisters Retirement Center in Monrovia, California, where Sister enjoyed her retirement among friends. In 1995, when her health failed, she moved to the Maryknoll Sisters Center where she received in return the graciousness, kindness, patience and compassion she had demonstrated to others throughout her entire active missionary life.

In 1978 when Sister was asked what she saw as her contribution to community she replied: “Trying to live with and support my Sisters in their daily doings as they live out their vision; trying to live in peace; respecting others’ rights and views but speaking up when necessary; praying together, encouraging; and listening seems to be the biggest need I see here and now.” Sister lived what she believed and is remembered as a gentle woman, sisterly, loyal, supportive, and as someone who made the best of the situation and one that could always be counted upon.

We welcome and express our deepest sympathy to Sister Anne Maura’s family and thank them for sharing her with us and for giving Sister so much joy. We also welcome and thank our Maryknoll brother, Father John Hudert, who will preside at this Liturgy of Christian Burial as we thank and praise God for the life of our Sister Anne Maura.