Sister Ann Sweeney died in Chestnut Hill Hospital on August 11. Mass OF Christian Burial took place at St. Joseph Villa on August 19; following Mass, she was buried in the congregational cemetery.
Sister Ann, the daughter of James Sweeney and Winifred McFadden Sweeney, was the youngest of their ten children. Being the youngest didn’t seem to spoil her; it simply made her easier to be with and always very pleasant. The Sweeney family lived across the street from St. Anne parish so the children were not strangers to being called on to do the many things that youngsters in those days did…run errands, help with cleaning , carry things back and forth to school, etc., etc.. Ann was “ready for any good work” well before her days as a Sister of Saint Joseph.
Ann attended Hallahan High School, following in her sisters’ footsteps. She followed Winnie’s most closely. Winnie, four years older than Ann, had entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph. After her graduation from Hallahan, Ann did secretarial work for a year and then she also entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph.
As Sister Regina Muriel, SSJ, Ann taught in a number of elementary schools and high schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the dioceses of Camden, Newark, NJ, Harrisburg, Allentown and in Vienna, VA. Eventually, because of her secretarial background, she worked in the Accounts Receivable Office at St. Joseph Villa and later as secretary at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy.
Wherever she lived or worked, Ann was a gift; she was gracious, kind and often a great deal of fun, always choosing smiles rather than frowns. She loved her Irish heritage and often entertained with Irish dances and also at times with her imitation of speed skaters at the Winter Olympics, among other things.
Ann was a Villa resident for ten years. She was very much “at home” there not long after her arrival. Her philosophy of accepting the workings of God in her life was certainly the underpinning of her peacefulness and goodness, making her not only lovable, but indeed, likeable.
One of her favorite lines from the hymn, Like a Shepherd, was “holding them carefully, leading them home”. It is not hard to believe that was Sister Ann’s experience on August 11, coming home to her loving God, being reunited with those she loved. We are grateful for Ann’s presence among us, for her goodness, her peacefulness, her quiet joy. Be at home with God, Ann.