Sister Rose Angela Ross, MM

Born: January 25, 1913
Entered: June 5, 1932
Died: January 17, 1986

Today we celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection for Sister Rose Angela Ross. Our hearts go out in sorrow to her family and friends. Sister’s condition had been worsening steadily in recent months and at 02:30 A.M., on January 17th, 1986 she died in our Nursing Home.

Mary Jane Veronica Ross was born on January 25, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. She was one of nine children, six daughters and three sons, born to Patrick Ross and Catherine Casey Ross.

An issue of the FIELD AFAR Magazine given to her little brother Kevin by a Sister on the subway, planted a seed about Maryknoll in Mary’s mind. Later, when she listened in school to the words of a returned missioner, she was further captivated. The nurturing of this desire came to fruition under the guidance of Father Al Rickert, brother of our Sister Therese Marie. In the days of the depression it was not easy for Mary to leave her job with its consequent income for the family, nor to overcone her father’s wish that she join her sister, Sister Catherine Patrice, in the Brentwood St. Joseph Sisters where, as he said, they could be together and help each other. However, the family did accede to her wish to enter Maryknoll and on June 5, 1932 Mary arrived. At Reception she received the name of Sister Rose Angela. She made her First Profession on January 6, 1935 and her Final Profession three years later.

Sister Rose Angela’s high school work was completed at the Venard and in 1965 she graduated from Mary Rogers College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Certificates in Elementary Teaching, Intensive Spanish and Gerontology later completed her formal study.

From 1935 until 1946, Sister Rose Angela worked at Bethany, the Center, the Venard and in the Field Afar Office. Comments about her were that she was happy, kind, devoted, alive and a hard worker. In 1946 she was assigned to Panama where she worked in catechetics, primary and secondary education until 1961. That year she was assigned to Guatemala where she taught high school at Colegio Monte Maria until 1965. Then she moved to the mountains of Guatemala to the town of San Antonio Huista, where she coordinated an experimental school and clinic. Years later she would tell that her memories of Guatemala and the people were as clear as if she were still there. In 1967 Sister returned to the States where over the next three years she taught at Chinatown in New York City and served as Assistant Coordinator of our Valley Park, Missouri house. She returned in 1970 to Guatemala to establish an Indian school for indigent boys and administer the Maryknoll Fathers Center house.

When she returned to the States in 1975 it was to stay. She served at Bethany and then on Promotion. During this time she developed what she called her second career, serving the aged in our Nursing Home and in Monrovia. Though she was already ill in 1984 when she was assigned to the Senior Region, she wrote in her request for this transfer that she wanted to serve the Sisters and the community at large by visiting in the parishes near Monrovia.

Sister Rose Angela was a good communicator. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a great capacity to make others feel at home. Her flair for writing is evident in many letters and these, through the years, also indicate the importance to her of staying in touch. Periodically she would write just to say how she was and what she and others were doing. Most letters spoke praise of the Sisters with whom she lived. Sister Regina McEvoy, the Community Vice President, wrote to her in June of 1983: “Whenever I think of a gracious and generous woman you come to mind.”

Early on, Sister Rose Angela indicated a desire to join our Cloister but both Mother Mary Joseph and Mother Mary Columba thought her talents would best be served in an active life. Sister indicated acceptance of the denial of her requests to enter the Cloister as the will of God for her.

We are grateful for her life among us and for her more than 53 years of loving devoted service to the Church in mission.

We welcome Father Michael Pierce, M.M., who will lead us in celebration of the Eucharist. We welcome also Father Francis Winslow, also of Maryknoll, and a dear friend of the Ross Family.