Sister Anna Marie Manternach, OSF

May 9, 2016

Sister Anna Marie Manternach, OSF, died on May 9, 2016, in the 71st year of her religious life.

She was born to John and Susan (Lahr) Manternach on October 5, 1923, in Cascade, Iowa.  She was the eighth child in the family.  Anna Marie had a brother and sister who died as infants before she was born.  The family lived on a farm four miles from Cascade and they walked both ways to and from school!  In her autobiography she wrote, “I enjoyed my years in school very much, and it was a privilege to have all 12 years at St. Mary’s in Cascade taught by our Community of Franciscan Sisters.  Since I had the example of Sisters during my years of school, they had an influence on my vocation.  At the same time, my oldest sister was a member of a congregation from Huntington, Indiana, and my aunt, Sister Mary Irmina, often talked to me about being a sister, which also influenced me. One more reason for choosing Mount St. Francis was that I would not need to go too far away from home, but as life progressed that reason did not hold.”

Anna Marie was received into the community on August 12, 1945, and was given the name Sister Mary Albert.  From 1947 to the end of the school year in 1964, Sister taught in Dubuque, Webster City, Iowa, and Portland, Oregon.  Then a big decision for her came when the community asked for volunteers to begin a new life in Chillán, Chile.  Anna Marie, feeling the call for missionary work, submitted her name, thinking that she would never be selected.  After a time, she received the letter announcing that she was selected along with Sisters Shaun and Amelia, but that she was bound to secrecy!  After a short time the trio of Sisters was sent to Cuernavaca, Mexico, for intensive language training, then on to Chile.  The Maryknoll Sisters met them at the airport and spent several weeks helping them to adjust to all things new.  Anna Marie sensed that they must have been doing as well as expected because the Jesuit community kept them there for 13 years!

In 1978, the Jesuit Provincial asked the Sisters if they would move to Arica, a town bordering Peru, to continue to work with their community in parish ministry.  Sister Margaret Clare Dreckman met with the Sisters to help discern, and after days of prayer and opening the Scriptures, as Francis did, and reading the words, “I will lead them into the desert,” they proceeded to pack for the north. Sister Anna Marie stayed there until 1990, the 25th anniversary of the congregation’s ministry in Chile.

After another year of discernment to find a place in the states that would be a “fit” with her Hispanic work, Sister Anna Marie found her place in Marshalltown, Iowa, where she ministered to the immigrants, translating for them in the hospital, jail, police station, and in the courts, eventually helping them to file for legal documentation.

Sister Anna Marie retired to Mount St. Francis in 1998 and in 2012 moved to Clare House.

Sister is survived by her brother Francis, her nephews and nieces, including Sister Julie Manternach, and her Franciscan sisters with whom she shared 70 years of her life.

Sister was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers Peter(Laura), Leo (Dolores), Msgr. Albert Manternach, and Nicholas who died in infancy; her sisters Monica, Julia (Sr. Irmina), Clara (Ed Wieneke), Irmina (Roland Dolphin), Celestine (George Neyens), Theresa (Ambrose Kurt), and Josephine who died in infancy; and her sister-in-law Elizabeth Manternach.


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