Remembrance of the Life of Sister Marian (formerly Sister John Carroll) Andrews SL
Aug. 12, 1924 – Feb. 13, 2017
The following is Sister Marian Andrews’ autobiography, which she submitted to the Archives in 1987:
“I was born in Pueblo, Colo., in 1924, the first daughter of John Jacob and Helen Marie Andrews who, in subsequent years, had two other daughters, Betty and Carol. When I was in the 6th grade, Betty died of a heart condition. She had never been a healthy child but, until shortly before her death, we did not know the seriousness of her heart problem.
“I attended Catholic schools through the 12th grade. St. Patrick’s Grade School was within walking distance of my home. It was the love of my life, as was Pueblo Catholic High School. My life, and my parent’s lives, revolved very much around these schools and St. Patrick’s Parish under which they operated. Father Joseph Higgins was the pastor during those years. The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati staffed the schools and had a decided influence on the direction which my life later took. I still correspond with one of them these many years later.
“I lived at home two years after high school and attended Pueblo Junior College which is now Southern Colorado University. While there I was a member of Theta Beta Pi sorority, president of the sophomore class and spent much time in the art department.
“Toward the end of my sophomore year, for some unknown reason, I wrote to Loretto Heights asking for information about that school. Shortly thereafter I was contacted by Sister Theodore, who said that she would be in Pueblo at Sacred Heart School on a given date. She asked that we meet there. We met, I was interested in the Heights, began making plans, and was in attendance there the following fall.
“Nothing was harder than to leave the Heights after graduation, even though I was on my way to [the Sisters of Charity] Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, where I did a year’s internship in dietetics. At the completion of that year I was asked to return to the Heights to teach dietetics and to manage the cafeteria in Pancratia Hall.
“In retrospect, I know that I had been thinking about the religious life since I was in grade school. It was something that I kept putting out of mind but the inclination became stronger as I grew to know, and love, the Sisters of Loretto. … After two years of struggling with the decision, … Sister Florence was most instrumental in the step from the Heights to Loretto. Perhaps the biggest hurdle was to get me to mail the letter asking for application forms. No hurdle for most, but for me a BIG one! … I left the Heights to go to Loretto in June 1949. My years there were much the same as were the novitiate years of other Lorettines. In one respect I was more fortunate than many: Once I was there I had no doubts about what I wanted to do with my life.
“After I made my vows in December 1951 I was sent to Webster College. I began work on my master’s degree at St. Louis University and taught one religion class at Nerinx Hall where Sister M. Luke was principal at the time. I was to have taught at Webster the following year, but prior to that time the Sisters of Loretto were asked to staff De Andreis High School. I was assigned to the first faculty. I taught biology, foods and clothing during the eight years that I stayed there. During those years, I finished work on my master’s degree. After that was accomplished, during several summers, I taught Biology at either Webster or Loretto Heights. What a sad day when, in August 1960, I was assigned to Loretto High School in Louisville to continue the same kind of teaching assignment.
“The next summer was ‘renovation’ summer at St. Mary’s Academy in Denver. By that time I had been named principal at Loretto High School for the next year. In my spare time that summer I worked on a schedule – my maiden voyage with schedules … but not my last encounter. I am still doing them some 25 years later.
“Sister Martha Redden, who was then the superior at Broadway, was my mentor during that first year of principalship. A strict one she was! My two happy years at that assignment ended quickly when I was asked to return to De Andreis as principal. The neighborhood in North St. Louis was changing rapidly by that time and the enrollment at De Andreis was changing from an even balance of boys and girls to a predominance of boys. During my second year as principal Cardinal Ritter made the decision to make [it] a school for boys. The Sisters of Loretto withdrew as a faculty.
“I spent the next two years at Holy Family in Denver. Sister Florence Wolff, who was the provincial, asked me if I would take the principalship which was being vacated at Machebeuf High School. … That was 1967-68. It was the first and only time in my life that I was ever asked, ‘Will you, will you do this?’ And I did [the job] for eight years. My dad died at the end of the 1975 school year and I resigned my position — I was very tired of it. A very fine priest was hired as principal, Father Edmond Olley. He asked me to stay on at Machebeuf as Academic Dean. I liked that idea and continued in that position, plus being Registrar, altogether another 17 years.”
In 1993, Sister John Carroll Andrews retired from Machebeuf, moved to Loretto Center in Littleton, Colo., and resumed use of her baptismal name, Marian. She took on various volunteer jobs for the local Community and the Loretto Staff Office. She also volunteered at Mercy Medical Center in Denver for some years. For three years, from 1999 to 2002, Marian served with Ann Frances Gleason and Anne Greenslade as the Center’s first team of local coordinators — a collaboration of which Marian was particularly proud.
In May last year Marian moved from the Center to Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was reluctant to begin with; but she soon was telling staff and friends how very supportive and caring everyone was toward her and how happy she was to be at Loretto. Marian’s final illness was short and her passing was as quietly purposeful as her life. She told an interviewer in 2013: “I’ve done whatever needs to be done and I think I’ve made a contribution.”
– By Eleanor Craig SL
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