Remembrance of the Life of Mary Anne Reese CoL
Loretto Co-member Mary Anne Reese, 66, died Dec. 20, 2022, at University of Louisville-Jewish Hospital after several months of illness. She had moved Oct. 13, 2022, from Cincinnati to the Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary in Nerinx, Ky. Mary Anne was a Loretto co-member since April 12, 2002.
Mary Anne is predeceased by her parents, William and Mary Reese. She is survived by her aunt, Julia Schriver of Knoxville, Tenn., and several cousins. Her many friends join them in mourning the loss of Mary Anne’s wit, warmth and generosity.
Growing up on the East Coast, Mary Anne loved the ocean, water activities and crab cakes. She attended St Mary’s High School in Annapolis, Md., and graduated from Notre Dame of Maryland University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in English, launching a lifelong dedication to writing.
After college, Mary Anne joined her parents in Knoxville, where she earned a law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1980 and practiced law until 1986. Then, discerning a different call, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and moved to Cincinnati for her training, serving as a youth minister at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio. Though she left religious life after a few years, Cincinnati became her permanent home. Landlocked, Mary Anne spent her summers at Clinton Hills Swim Club, treading water in the deep end and laughing with friends. She also treasured time in the Smoky Mountains with family as well as beach trips and other travel to Alaska, Ireland, France and Italy with friends.
Mary Anne returned to the practice of law, first with Hamilton County, then at the Ohio Attorney General’s office and for several years with the U.S. District Court, but faith and spirituality always animated her life. As a member of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish for more than 30 years, she deeply valued the liturgy and community life there and initiated projects that shared her creative gifts. Mary Anne also left the legal field for a few years to serve as the coordinator of young adult programs for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In 2006, she earned a master’s in theology from Xavier University. Coming full circle, in 2022 she completed a three-year internship in spiritual direction at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford.
Mary Anne published two poetry collections with Finishing Line Press, “Raised by Water” in 2011 and “Down Deep” in 2014, as well as a career guide for young adults called “Doing What Comes Naturally” in 1998. She earned a master’s in creative writing from Northern Kentucky University in 2012. Her poetry won awards from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Ohio Poetry Day, the Catholic Press Association and Lincoln Memorial University’s Mountain Heritage Literary Festival. Her work appeared in Cistercian Studies, St. Anthony Messenger, America, Sojourners, Still: The Journal and St. Katherine Review.
For many years she attended classes at Women Writing for (a) Change and was a founding board member of its foundation in 2000. Connections created through writing retreats at the Loretto Motherhouse led Mary Anne to join the community as a co-member in 2002. Spending what turned out to be her final weeks on the sacred ground of the Motherhouse brought her great solace.
Visitation will take place 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel, 3800 Victory Parkway on the Xavier University campus, followed by Mass of Christian burial, which will be live streamed at https://youtu.be/bP2iBUUUmiM. A reception immediately will follow the funeral at the Schiff Family Conference Center (inside the Cintas Center), 1624 Herald Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45207. Please use the East Entrance. Private burial at the Sisters of Loretto Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Jesuit Spiritual Center at Milford, Sisters of Loretto or Women Writing for (a) Change.
Please keep Mary Anne, her family and all who loved her in your prayers. May she rest in peace.
What a blessed and blessing woman of such talent and depth.