Remembrance of the Life of Sister Georgeann Hanson SL
The Loretto Community lost a quiet, steady presence when Georgeann Hanson entered eternal life on April 23, 2013. A memorial Mass for Georgeann was celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 27, in the Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows at the St. Louis Loretto Center. A noted liturgist, teacher and school and parish administrator, Sister Georgeann died of complications from lung cancer at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. She was 79 and in her 62nd year as a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross.
Georgeann was born Aug. 20, 1933, in St. Louis and baptized at Immaculate Conception Parish in Maplewood on Sept. 10 of that same year. She was one of six children of Charlotte (O’Gorman) and Edward Hanson. Georgeann attended Immaculate Conception School in Maplewood and Nerinx Hall in Webster Groves, where she received her high school diploma in 1951. She entered Loretto that same year and was received into the novitiate on Dec. 8, 1951. She made her first vows Dec. 8, 1953, and her final vows Aug. 15, 1957. Sister Georgeann earned a bachelor’s degree in education, with a minor in mathematics, from Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1961, a master’s in mathematics from St. Louis University in 1969 and a master’s in pastoral studies and liturgical ministry in 1990 from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis.
Among her early teaching assignments, Georgeann taught elementary students at St. Mary’s School in El Paso, Texas (1954), Holy Family School in South Pasadena, Calif. (1954-1957), and Holy Family School in Denver (1957-1959). She taught at Machebeuf High School in Denver (1959-1966) and Bishop Toolen High School in Mobile, Ala. (1966-1970), where she also served for the same period as superior of the Loretto Community.
From 1970 to 1972, Sister Georgeann resided in the Panama Canal Zone to care for her brother’s young family after the loss of his wife. She was affectionately known among them as their Aunt Tia. In 1972, she resumed her teaching ministry, serving at Loretto High School in Louisville (1972-1974). She then was director of the Individualized Learning Center at Nerinx Hall from 1974 to 1978. She was appointed coordinator of the school’s campus ministry, serving in that capacity until 1981.
Georgeann was pastoral assistant and liturgy coordinator at Immaculate Conception in Maplewood, her home parish, from 1982 to 2007. After her years of service there, Georgeann remained a tremendous booster of Immaculate Conception, particularly its fish fries, to which she dragged half of the St. Louis Loretto Community. She was considered a beloved fixture of the parish and kept the Loretto connection strong.
From October 2007 until shortly before her death, she had worked in the business office at the St. Louis Loretto Center. In addition to her business acumen, Georgeann served as liturgist at the center, directing the music with Sister Sharon Kassing at each Saturday Mass and frequently at Sunday Masses.
Georgeann served on many St. Louis Loretto committees in preparation for Loretto Assemblies and Community gatherings. For the entire 20 years that Intercommunity Housing/Pillar Place in St. Louis was open, Georgeann coordinated the effort at Immaculate Conception to adopt every child who resided in the low-income housing development project, providing them with gifts of clothing and books for Christmas.
The Constitutions of the Sisters of Loretto, “I Am the Way,” tell us that “the greatest asset of the community is the life of every member.” Good friend Sister Donna Day, SL, said of Sister Georgeann, “She was ‘our good company,’ as she contributed not only her liturgical gifts, but also her deep dedication to Loretto and to all that the Community values and loves.”
When Georgeann was not working at Loretto Center, she could be found cheering on her favorite teams, often with her family. It has been said that the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and the St. Louis Blues hockey team have lost their #1 fan. We know she will be rooting them on from heaven to bring home a winning season for both.
Sister Georgeann is survived by her two sisters, Charlotte Ward and Celine Hanley, both of St. Louis; three brothers and their spouses, Ben (Mary Ann) Hanson of St. Louis, Bill (Elsie) Hanson of Marysville, Wash., and Ed (Charlotte) Hanson of St. Louis; several nieces and nephews; and her Loretto Community members.