BRIDGETON, Mo. — A funeral Mass was celebrated August 1 in the The Sarah Community chapel in Bridgeton, MO, for Sr. Mary Catherine Ann Dahmen, a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 56 years who provided housekeeping and dietary help for the sisters. Sister Mary Catherine Ann died July 28, 2013 at The Sarah Community. She was 103. Her burial was in Resurrection Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.
Born on Easter Sunday in 1910, in Springfield Township, Wis., she left school after the sixth grade to help her mother care for the home and the children. She worked as a housekeeper until her father's illness in 1952 brought her home to be with her mother. She then worked at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wis., where she met the Sisters of St. Mary. She entered the community in 1957 and received the name Sr. Mary Catherine Ann. She professed final vows on February 11, 1965. (In 1987, the Sisters of St. Mary of St. Louis and the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville, Mo., reunited as the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.)
Sr. Mary Catherine Ann provided housekeeping at the motherhouse until 1964, then spent 18 months serving in the priests' department at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison. From 1966 to 1977, she was a nurse's assistant at the motherhouse in St. Louis, then served for a year as community director in Our Lady of Victories. At the end of 1978, she moved to St. Mary's Ringling in Baraboo, Wis., serving as nurse's aide and providing domestic and dietary help. She also crafted items to be sold at a local parish until 1991. After she retired, she remained in Baraboo until 1998, when she returned to the motherhouse in St. Louis and then to The Sarah Community in July 2011. She was a faithful member of the sisters' prayer program for many years.
Throughout her life, she remained close to her family. For her golden jubilee in 2007 — as well as her 100th birthday and this year for her 103rd birthday — her nieces, nephews, and a few cousins chartered a bus and close to 50 family members were on hand to celebrate. She loved her family deeply, and they loved her as well. She enjoyed young people and would often entertain the children visiting at St. Mary’s Ringling. She was known for her hospitality and her joyous giggle.
Sister Catherine Ann, a very prayerful woman, spent many hours a day in the convent chapel. But she was also generous with her time and presence, serving others and making visitors comfortable. In spite of her 100-plus years, she remained clear of mind and interested in life until the end.
Sr. Mary Catherine Ann is survived by her sister Mathilda Ripp, many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was predeceased by two infant brothers, William and Jerome, brother and sister-in-law, Joseph (Cyrilla) Dahmen, sisters and brother-in-laws, Albert Ripp, Hildegard (Reynold) Boehnen, Marcella (Peter Ripp), and Rosemary (Eugene) Garfoot.