Meet Sister Ann. When I thought about this monthly theme, Sister (Sr.) Ann Providence quickly came to mind. I didn’t even know her very well, okay pretty much not at all. But every time I saw her she had such a peaceful aura, an incredible trait to have for the 1000’s of underserved children she has touched.
I called up Sr. Ann this past week to toss my idea about interviewing her and take a few photos. I thought it was far fetched since she didn’t even know me but then the next day I was biking over to her school. I told Sr. I’d only take 30 minutes of her time tops, but we got so caught up in sharing stories that it took 3x as long! When I arrived Sr. Ann greeted me as if I were an old friend. I thought to myself now I see why so many people are drawn to her. After a quick tour of the school, Sr. shared that she’s been teaching for nearly 50 years. 50 years! I asked Sr. how many kids did she think she worked with, but she laughed and graciously said probably hundreds. Ummmm Sister, I think you are underestimating yourself. I’d guess more like 1000’s!
Currently most of Sr. Ann’s time is spent at Mission Dolores, built in 1782 and is the oldest surviving structure in San Francisco. When we walked around the school and city block, children, teachers, and neighborhood folks constantly approached her. She knew everybody’s name and what happened that year in their family. She listened, was patient, present, and caring – all characteristics I’d want as a mother.
Sr. Ann is the kind of woman you want to invite over for dinner. Her stories are surprising and draw you in. She speaks with passion, laughter, and is impressionably sharp. She was spilling out dates and descriptions better than I can remember. And she is so hip that I asked her about something she was unsure of and she replied, “I should Google it.” You Google?? And living passionately, Sr. Ann was one of the original people who walked the Tortilla Marathon – 250 miles from LA to Mexico – raising money for impoverished Mexican children. 250 miles in only 10 days … for 5 years straight. And what I loved was that it seemed like she was reliving the moment as she was sharing her story. The exhilaration, the carefreeness, the singing, the dream sharing and very importantly the conscious fund raising for Casa do Los Pobres.
Sister is still very adventurous today. Every summer she returns to Mexico to give herself for the month. This year she is returning to Ciudad Juárez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, and noted by the Houston Chronicle as “the most violent zone in the world outside of declared war zones.” I mentioned all the recent news of the atrocities I hear regarding drug-related gangs and child recruitment. Sr. Ann was aware, but still wishes to go saying she “prays that the angels are on duty” to watch over her while visiting. To say the least, Sister Ann is determined and passionate.
Sister Ann, you truly are the ideal image of motherhood.
Please click here to see how Rhonda views motherhood.