Oblate Sister of Providence Mary Anthony Garnier will turn 100 April 11. (Kevin J. Parks/CR Staff)
It’s been two decades since a member of the Baltimore-based Oblate Sisters of Providence has turned 100.
That’s all about to change when Oblate Sister of Providence Mary Anthony Garnier celebrates the centennial of her birth during an April 11 bash at her religious community’s motherhouse in Arbutus, where she has lived since 2013.
Alert and quick to express her opinions, Sister Anthony told me during a recent visit she’s “grateful to God for letting me stay this long.” The spirited sister wanted me to know that although she is about to turn 100, she remains independent and stays up on current events.
“I’m not just existing,” she said passionately, resting in a large rolling chair. “I’m living! And that’s just what I want to be – I want to be living and knowing what’s going on.”
Born in New Orleans as the second oldest of 13 children, Velva Garnier entered the Oblate Sisters of Providence in 1935. She had been inspired by the women religious who taught her at Corpus Christi School in New Orleans.
“I wanted to devote my life to God,” said Sister Anthony, seated in a community room beneath a large crucifix and an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sister Anthony could not remember facing discrimination as an African American woman growing up in the South. She noted that New Orleans has a large black Catholic community that showed strong support for women religious.
Velva Garnier (standing), is shown in a family photo with her friend, Gabrielle Detiege, prior to entering the Oblate Sisters of Providence and becoming Sister Mary Anthony Garnier. (Courtesy Oblate Sisters of Providence)
In a 1994 interview with the Baltimore Sun when she served as the sacristan at the motherhouse, however, Sister Anthony remembered when black nuns could take Communion only after white communicants had received the sacrament.
"We have an extra blessing from God as a race," she told The Sun. "Being from the South, I can tell you some awful stuff. But my mother said that eventually God would take care of you. And that's also what our order believes: If we put things in God's hands, God will provide."
The Oblate Sisters of Providence were founded by Mother Mary Lange in 1829 to educate and evangelize African Americans. For 188 years, they have ministered at St. Frances Academy in East Baltimore, a historic school founded by Mother Lange that is proud to be the oldest continuously operating black Catholic school in the nation.
Throughout her many decades of ministry, Sister Anthony worked mostly in Catholic education. In addition to Baltimore, where she spent time at St. Frances Academy and the motherhouse, she served in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Missouri. She was in active ministry in Buffalo, N.Y., for nine years before returning to the motherhouse at age 97.
Oblate Sister of Providence Mary Anthony Garnier is shown in an undated photo. (Courtesy Oblate Sisters of Providence)
“Sister Anthony always loved to talk to little children,” said Oblate Sister of Providence Trinita Baeza, the nun who tipped me off about her friend’s upcoming birthday. “She would hug them and encourage them to be good. She would sit in the office and be the goodwill person – the kind of person who could be a third neutral party that could hear the child’s side and the teacher’s side.”
Sister Trinita said Sister Anthony will receive a new black veil prior to her birthday party and will be treated as the “queen for the day.” The entire community will celebrate with her, Sister Trinita said, including an Oblate sister who will turn 100 next year.
“Sister Anthony has always been so active and joy-filled,” Sister Trinita said. “She’s always able to see the good side of a situation.”
Happy birthday, Sister Anthony! Enjoy your special day!
April 06, 2016 10:32
By George Matysek
At a dinner honoring religious women and men celebrating jubilee anniversaries, Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien greets Oblate Sister of Providence Mary Alice Chineworth – a 93-year-old nun celebrating 75 years in religious life. (CR Photo/George P. Matysek Jr.)
May 14 was a special day for religious women and men in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien celebrated a Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, honoring those marking 25, 45, 50, 60, 65, 70, 75 and 80 years in religious life. You can read about that special event here. Congratulations to all the jubilarians! Thanks for your dedication and service to our community!
Sr. Mary Francis Altavilla, R.G.S.
Sr. Patricia Marie Barnette, R.G.S.
Sr. Teresa Leimbach, S.S.M.I.
Sr. Judith Murray, O.C.D.
Rev. Neville O'Donohue, S.M.
Rev. Mother Christina Christie, A.S.S.P.
Sr. Colette Ackerman, O.C.D.
Bro. James Bednar, F.S.C.
Sr. Mary Annette Beecham, O.S.P.
Sr. Eleanor Casey, D.C.
Sr. Catherine Francis Clemons, D.C.
Bro. Charles M. Cully, C.F.X.
Sr. Maureen Delahunt, D.C.
Sr. Frances Marie Demarco, R.S.M.
Sr. Andre Dembowski, R.S.M.
Bro. Phillip DePorter, F.S.C.
Sr. Helen M. Doherty, R.S.M.
Sr. Carol Durkin, D.C.
Sr. Mary Jane Elligan, R.G.S.
Bro. William Fealy, F.S.C.
Sr. Elizabeth Thorne Grant, A.S.S.P.
Sr. Mary Gilbart, D.C.
Sr. JoAnne Goecke, D.C.
Sr. Frances Haddow, R.S.M.
Bro. Eric Henderson, F.S.C.
Sr. Mary Francita Hobbs, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Marjorie Gallagher, S.N.D.
Sr. Miriam Jop, S.S.M.I.
Sr. Helen Marie Kling, D.C.
Sr. Mary Louise Kvech, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Kathleen Moore, R.G.S.
Sr. Virginia Muller, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Aloysius Norman, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Maria Luz Ortiz, M.H.S.H.
Sr. Mary Margaret Pignone, S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Claudina Sanz, O.S.P.
Sr. Mary Anne Smith, R.S.M.
Sr. Mary Ian Stewart, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Alice Talone, C.B.S.
Sr. Mary Gabriel Walker, O.S.P.
Sr. Helen Wiegmann, S.S.J.
Sr. Dorothy Marie Young, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Louise Zaworski, M.H.S.H.
Sr. Mary Ellen Brodie, R.S.M.
Sr. Virginia Cotter, D.C.
Sr. Catherine Dolores Cress, S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Dicroce, S.N.D.
Sr. Rosemary Dilli, S.S.N.D.
Rev. John R. Donahue, S.J.
Sr. Kathleen Marie Engers, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Barbara Ann English, S.N.D.
Sr. Elaine Gentile, S.N.D.
Sr. Joanne Getzendanner, R.G.S.
Rev. Alban Harmon, C.P.
Sr. Mary Louise Herrmann, O.S.F.
Sr. Marie Carl Horn, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Susanne Hughes, R.G.S.
Sr. Marion Agnes Jerzak, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Helen John, S.N.D.
Bro. Daniel Lynch, C.F.X.
Rev. Francis G. McManamin, S.J.
Sr. Doris Jean Miller, R.S.M.
Sr. Mary Eileen Morisroe, R.G.S.
Sr. Mary Lucia Quesada, O.S.P.
Sr. Mariel Ann Rafferty, M.H.S.H.
Sr. Cecilia Reilly, O.S.F.
Sr. Marthe Restrepo, L.S.P.
Sr. M. Jacinta Robson, R.S.M.
Sr. Carrie Schindler, M.H.S.H.
Sr. Jane Claire Simon, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Marilyn Spellman, S.U.S.C.
Sr. M. Delia Spitznagel, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Martha Starrett, O.P.
Sr. Clare Szlachetka, R.G.S.
Sr. Barbara Worn, S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Louise Zollars, D.C.
Sr. Mary Jean Horne, D.C.
Sr. Francis Marie Lanasa, D.C.
Sr. Marie Veronica Maguire, S.N.D.
Sr. Regina Monahan, S.N.D.
Sr. M. Aurelia Benedetto, R.S.M.
Sr. Angela Cool, D.C.
Sr. Margaret Gardner, O.S.F.
Sr. Naomi Grill, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Xavier Linz, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Therese A. McMenamin, S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Eileen McNamara, O.C.D.
Sr. Marguerite Schaefer, S.N.D.
Sr. Frances Zeller, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Mary Alice Chineworth, O.S.P.
Sr. Mary Helen Edelen, D.C.
Sr. Mary Lina Litvik, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Agnes Silvestro, D.C.
Sr. Edith Stricker, D.C.
Sr. M. Mark Walsh, R.S.M.
Sr. Beatrice Wise, D.C.
Sr. Marie Yetter, D.C.
Sr. Bernita Hessling, S.S.N.D.
Sr. Bertha Robertson, D.C.
May 16, 2011 04:36
By George Matysek
Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien ordained 14 new permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Baltimore May 14 at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland. You can read all about it in next week's issue of The Catholic Review. In the meantime, check out this video!
UPDATE: The story is posted here.
May 15, 2011 10:37
By George Matysek
The Jan. 6 issue of The Catholic Review will feature a vocations story about an enrollment boom at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitburg. The nation's second-oldest Catholic seminary is putting up some impressive numbers and producing priests known for their passion and commitment to the church. Look for the story next month. In the meantime, check out this companion video report:
December 28, 2010 07:05
By George Matysek