Written on: January 28, 2014
Today we come together to celebrate the life of Sister Anne Mattson as a daughter of St. Marguerite in her good works and in her companionship in community. The following words from our Morning Prayer struck my heart as I recalled Anne’s gift of herself to God and us, her GNSH community, her family and friends:
“I would radiate your love as long as I live, becoming a blessing to others in gratitude to You.”
Sister Anne was born February 25, 1926 in Kansas City, Missouri to Edward and Lillian Reilly. She graduated from Mt. St. Joseph Academy in Philadelphia and earned her BS degree in Social Science from Chestnut Hill College. During her years at the Mount and at Chestnut Hill, Anne was known for her prestigious athletic accomplishments. She was a fierce competitor and excelled in basketball, field hockey, tennis, racquetball and squash. She won countless awards including the Inaugural Alumnae Hall of Fame Award.
After college Anne married James Mattson in 1952 and they had 2 children- a son Jay and a daughter Maryanne. Like St. Marguerite Anne and James experienced pain and grief in their young married life when their young son Jay died of leukemia in 1967. Five years later sorrow entered their home again when James died of cancer leaving Anne as a single parent of 15 year old Maryanne. The years unfolded and Divine Providence continued to work in the heart and life of the family.
After the marriage of her daughter Maryanne, Anne’s desire to serve God as completely as possible and her attraction to Mother D’Youville stirred her heart. In 1983 Anne made her request to the Congregation to begin the formation process to become a Grey Nun. In 1986 after three years she made her request to Leadership to make first profession of vows. In an excerpt from her letter Anne states: “I have been greatly influenced by Sister Frances Elizabeth and I
desire to develop the goals she set for me: to become prayerful, positive, and compassionate. Mother D’Youville herself would have affirmed these goals.” This journey of faith culminated in 1989 when Sister Anne made her final profession of vows as a GNSH.
Sister Anne’s educational background had prepared her to teach with GNSH for many years at Melrose Academy and later at Mother of Divine Providence School in King of Prussia from 1986 to 2005. Here she worked together with her dear friend, Sister Ann Catherine Ryan, until their retirement.
During her years of work and association with the Grey Nuns, Sister Anne was a strong advocate for a lay association for the Grey Nuns. In 1968 she became the first Grey Nun Associate and through her determination and efforts over the years this vision of Grey Nun Associate membership became a reality. In 2012 a Gathering of Associates from various geographic areas gathered at the Motherhouse to share prayer, conversation, future planning and dreams for the future. At the concluding dinner Sister Anne was presented with a special plaque honoring her for her lifetime commitment to service and leadership with the Associate movement. It was a fitting tribute to this woman of faith whose life “radiated God’s love as long as she lived and became a blessing to others in gratitude to God.”
The eulogy was delivered by Sr. Joan Daly, GNSH