In In Loving Remembrance

Sister Anna Mae Harkin

Sister Anna Mae Harkin, formerly known as Sister Michael Annice, always liked to be called Anne. Sister passed away at Saint Joseph Villa on February 28, 2020.  Her funeral took place on March 5.  Anne was a patient at the Villa for only a short time, residing there after working for many years at Chestnut Hill College in the office of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies.

The youngest daughter of Michael and Anna Kelly Harkin, Anne often shared stories of the “two families” she grew up in. She had five older siblings, all born in Ireland, and then, after the family moved to America, she and sister, Pat, were born. All spent their formative years at St. Francis de Sales School and West Catholic High School.

Sister Anne entered the congregation in 1952, and taught in elementary schools in Philadelphia and in the Camden diocese. Prepared with a Master’s Degree in English, Anne continued, for many years, teaching in secondary schools in Pennsylvania.  She went on to serve as Coordinator of Activities at St. Hubert’s High School and as Vice-Principal at Nativity High School in Pottsville, where previously she had taught. Since 2001, Anne was missioned as secretary in Chestnut Hill College, living at Mount Saint Joseph Academy. She loved living and working back in Chestnut Hill.

A quiet, caring presence, Sister was noted for her ongoing gestures of love and friendship, and for a quiet and quick sense of humor, as testified by her sisters and colleagues. Anne made it a point to interact with all with whom she shared daily life. She and sister, Pat enjoyed many Starr Tours, and family interests were always Anne’s interests. Known to help out even when not on duty at the College, Anne would often stop in to see if she could assist the staff in her office at a particularly busy time. When a graduate started a non-profit to help new mothers with baby clothes, Anne was right there as a regular donor.

May your example live on, Anne, as you go to your reward with full hands!

1 Comment

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    Arthur Quinn
    April 10, 2020 at 9:19 PM

    A Belated Goodbye to my favorite and inspiring teacher of all time, Sister Anne Harkin!
    My name is Art Quinn and I live in Vero Beach, FL. This afternoon while taking a break from a bike ride and sitting on a lake side park bench, I found myself reading through an almost finished book draft by a neighbor who invited me to review and critique it before it advances to the final publishing stage).
    In reading his Bio and seeing he had graduated from the Wharton Business School, it brought back my fond memories of my Catholic grade school years in SW Philadelphia (the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish), then on to my very wonderful memories of my 7th and 8th grade years in Saint Ann’s Grade School in Wildwood, NJ, followed by four very enjoyable years at Wildwood Catholic HS, then back to the Philadelphia where I ultimately earned two degrees at Villanova.
    But most importantly, every one of the many frequent times I think back to the above years, Sister Anne always has been (and forever more, always will be) a significant part of my wonderfully happy memories of my teen years for next to my angel of a wonderful grandmother, Sister Anne was truly the 2nd most significant and inspiring influence of those critical school years and honestly my entire life.

    In the 2 years she taught me in both 7th and 8th grade, from Day 1, she began to influence me in the most uniquely kind yet demanding, caring and encouraging ways. She taught me many things that have proven to be truly important life lessons for me over the past 55 years, and ones I have tried by best to pass on to my children and grandchildren.

    And as demanding as she was, her sense of humor and wonderful smile were the rarest breaths of fresh air every single day!

    Thinking of Sister Anne prompted me to see if she was still on the Chestnut Hill staff directory as I regret to admit that it’s been at least 8 years since the last time I reached out to her. Much to my surprise, she was still listed in the directory!

    As I was just about to send Sister Anne an email or better yet, try to reach her by phone, a bit of an unexplainable instinct told me to first look further on the CH website.

    Within the next 30 seconds, I was reading of Sister’s recent passing and couldn’t finish reading it all before I started to sob.

    Still sobbing a minute or so later, still on the park bench, one of my dearest friends and favorite tennis buddy of mine, quietly tapped me on the shoulder to see what was upsetting me. Once I was able to start my tears from running down my face and felt a special kind of smile come on my face. For the next 30 minutes, I shared with my friend, story after story of my fondest and funniest memories of Sister Anne ending with my recollection of the last time I actually saw Sister Anne while she was still at Saint Huberts (if I remember correctly , it was a warm and sunny Monday afternoon in June of 1991 or 1992 and she was in the midst of the finishing days of work leading up to that year’s graduation event being held at Villanova that same week!

    When Sister Anne met me in the hallway, she was smiling her usual wonderful smile and asked me in a rather stunned or at least surprised way, “Why Arthur Quinn, what on earth has possessed you to find out where I was and pay me a visit?” With a smile on my face yet filled with emotion, tears came to my eyes back on that day almost like they did earlier this afternoon as I told her, “Sister, I’m here to tell you that not too many days have gone by over the past 22 years (since I last saw you) that I have not thought of you for so many reasons and wonderful memories. And I’m just so sorry I waited this long to see you and see how you are!”. She filled up with happy tears, and said to me, “Arthur, you truly have made my day and reminded me of one of the main reasons, I became a nun!”

    Along knowing Sister Anne is happy and with God and her family now, I truly believe she will also always know how she so positively impacted my life and still inspires me every day!

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