Growing up in a large family with neighbors around, Mary Catherine enjoyed playing a game that her father’s family played in Germany called “Muck,” which resembled our hockey, and attending barn dances. Her love for music came from her parents and grandparents. All the children attended a one-room school which included all eight grades. After grade school, Mary Catherine worked at her cousin’s home in Detroit Lakes to earn money to attend St. Francis High School in Little Falls. She became acquainted with the Franciscan sisters through her half-sister, Sister Cecilia.
In the fall of 1941, Mary Catherine entered the Novitiate and was given the religious name of Sister Mary Amy. She made her first profession of vows in 1943 and her final profession in 1946. She was a Franciscan Sister for 76 years. Throughout her religious life she had many educational opportunities, including at the College of St. Catherine where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Sister Amy gave almost 30 years of teaching in the elementary schools in the St. Cloud Diocese and the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. After her years in elementary education, Sister Amy ministered in religious education in parishes and as an associate chaplain in hospitals and health care centers. Later on, she was able to teach English as a second language and help undocumented immigrants earn legal status. During her years in Tucson, Ariz., she was a member of various groups working for economic justice and civil rights for immigrants. It was at this time that she became proficient in Spanish, which she used in ministry to Hispanics.
Sister Amy was small in stature but big in achievements. She seemed to have an inner drive to reach out in love and care for those in need. Her energy level ran high and made it possible for her to move in various ministries wherever there was something to be achieved for the betterment of people. She believed that, in her later years especially, she could depend on God to “carry her” as is expressed in the lovely poem, “Footprints.” She trusted in God to fill up what was lacking and so lived her life in happiness. At her Golden Jubilee she wrote: “I give thanks to God for the marvelous ways in which God has led me by the Holy Spirit through faith-filled parents, wise teachers and loving sisters to walk with me throughout my life.”
Sister Mary Amy was preceded in death by her parents; brother Henry, Jr.; half-brothers Arthur and Cyril; sister Elizabeth Teiken; half-sisters Lidwina Franitza and Sister Cecilia Schreiner. She is survived by her sister Rosella Modey Johnson of Burns, Oreg., nieces, nephews and her Franciscan Community.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Francis Convent on Saturday, November 25, at 11 a.m. Friends may call at St. Francis Convent on Friday, November 24, from 4-8 p.m., with a Franciscan prayer service at 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. until the time of the funeral on Saturday at 11 a.m. Arrangements are by Shelley Funeral Chapel, Little Falls.
Donations to Franciscan Sisters Ministries preferred.