"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac

 

Sister of Charity Mary Ann Humbert Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

“God and I have been friends for as long as I can remember,” S. Mary Ann Humbert reflects as she celebrates 60 years as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati in 2022.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, S. Mary Ann attended St. Matthew’s Grade School and later Regina High School, both in Norwood, Ohio. In 1962, Sister graduated from high school and entered the Sisters of Charity Community.

“I experienced a clear call to religious life in the sixth grade and accepted it as God’s personal invitation to join the Sisters of Charity,” S. Mary Ann reflected.

S. Mary Ann received her Bachelor of Science in home economics in 1968 from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, and her master’s degree in early childhood education from Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan, in 1973. In 1986, Sister received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Kentucky, Lexington.

“God has indeed led me into service in a wide variety of settings: from the education of students from six months to 96 years and campus ministry in both high school and college settings to faith formation for my Congregation, spiritual direction and retreats,” S. Mary Ann said.

Sister says the position as her Community’s novice director (1978-’80) blessed her with the deep desire to continue in the spirituality ministry. “I was truly humbled by the evidence of the Spirit’s ability to work in and through me as I met with individuals focused on deepening their relationship with God and discerning God’s call,” S. Mary Ann said.

From 1989 until 1994, S. Mary Ann served as director of spirituality for the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. She says she was blessed with the opportunity to work closely with faith-filled lay men and women, which gave her the experiential and humbling awareness of how everyday living of their faith differed from and complimented her own vowed commitment. In this ministry Sister was able to work closely with members of different faith traditions.

“I was humbled by the welcoming attitude of their denominations in contrast to the exclusiveness of my own tradition,” Sister reflects on her experience in Lexington. “As I met with seminary students at Lexington Theological Seminary, the reality of our worshiping one God through a variety of rituals and services opened my heart and understanding in ways for which I will always be extremely grateful.”

In 1997, S. Mary Ann began her ministry as director of Associates for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. “The Leadership Council opened the windows of Church history, inviting a fresh breath of the Spirit to enter and set the stage for a new expression of mutual Associate/religious relationship to flower,” Sister reflects.

Following five years in the position, S. Mary Ann began retreat work at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Milford, Ohio. “We used to say that you could feel the Spirit permeating the building when you walked in, a witness to the desires of those who came and those on staff to offer an atmosphere where one took time to nurture the desire for a relationship with God,” S. Mary Ann states.

It was at the center that Sister discovered liturgical dance. “Although I always loved to dance, the thought of doing it through prayer never crossed my mind,” Sister says. “I found it to be the most creative, joyful expression of prayer for me and delighted in sharing it on such joyous occasions as jubilees and special liturgical rituals.” Sister spent two weeks at Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts, learning more about liturgical dance.

Currently S. Mary Ann maintains her Spiritual Direction ministry through the Spirituality Center at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse. She is a member of a parish St. Vincent de Paul conference which assists the underserved families living in the Winton Hills area, offering help with food, furniture, rent and utilities. Weekly, she volunteers at Community Matters in their choice pantry in Lower Price Hill. ‘Doing what presents itself,’ a phrase of Servant of God and Sister of Charity Blandina Segale, describes the variety of requests and choices to serve that S. Mary Ann enjoys as they ‘present themselves.’

As she reflects on her 60 years as a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, S. Mary Ann says her personal Mission Statement has been: “As a woman vowed to God as the center of my life, I strive to live in harmony with God, myself, others and the Earth. I believe that everything is created purposefully to allow God’s goodness to permeate all of creation. I am deeply committed to personal growth and the inner freedom that allows God to work in and through me – and in and through others. I am gifted with the ability to assist others to live in authentic freedom, and I pray for wisdom to use that gift wisely.

“At the end of my life I hope my family, Sisters and friends can say, ‘She danced gracefully through life, living and loving with humor, passion and exuberance,’” she concluded.

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