"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

A Wide Variety of Gifts – A 60th Jubilee

By S. Regina Kusnir

The rarest of gems are hidden in the earth.
Their unexpected find brings rebirth.
Honed, formed and polished by the years
Brings the finder to the verge of joy-filled tears.

S. Mary Ann Humbert entered the Sisters of Charity Community in September 1962, having felt a personal and distinct call from God.

Jubilees present the opportunity to look over the years and encapsulate their essence. Only in retrospect does life offer us a view of meaning and accomplishment. It should not surprise us that S. Mary Ann Humbert said, “A 60th jubilee comes as a bit of a shock to say the least. It’s a bit difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that it was indeed 60 years ago that my 17-year-old self donned the postulant habit and began this life journey. I recall a quote from Louis Evely from years ago that said, ‘The sign of God is that we will be led where we did not plan to go.’  Certainly these 60 years stand as a witness to the truth of that statement.”

S. Mary Ann is from a family that has a long history with the Sisters of Charity. She, a brother and three sisters grew up in Norwood, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She had the SCs throughout her elementary school years and was always drawn to their spirit. A cousin and two aunts from her dad’s family were also SCs. After her older sister, Esther, entered the Congregation, she recalls, “I spent visiting Sundays at the Mount and loved the place. I felt a personal and distinct call from God to join the Sisters of Charity and treasure that call to this day.”

The various gifts she experienced in the SC family expanded with the years. Educationally, S. Mary Ann earned a 1968 bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from the College of Mount St. Joseph, a 1973 master’s in Early Childhood Education from Michigan State University, and a master’s in Social Work from the University of Kentucky. This background blessed her with “a wealth of opportunities to serve various populations from ages 3 to 80-plus. I enjoyed and learned from them.” 

As Novice Director from 1973-1975 and 1978-1980 she guided young Sisters in SC ways. “My ministry in formation providentially led me to journeying with others as a ‘spiritual director.”  Once I had some experience, it seemed a logical next step that I pursue training as a spiritual and retreat director. For the next 40-plus years, spirituality ministry has remained the basis of my ministry.”    

The roles of director of Spirituality for the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky, from 1989-1994, and as a spiritual director leave S. Mary Ann reflecting: “It is a trust and a privilege to journey with women and men, vowed religious and lay, as they open their hearts more and more deeply to God’s loving embrace and guidance. I’m always humbled by the trust placed in me to hold sacred the vulnerability others share with me.”

S. Mary Ann was the Community’s second director of Associates. “The privilege of occupying this position from 1997-2002 finds me valuing the exchange of gifts those women and men offer SCs in our variety of connections. I also acknowledge the gift of our employees. They truly are a blessing and are always a part of the community aspect of our Motherhouse.”

S. Mary Ann Humbert currently volunteers at a ‘choice pantry’ in an underserved area of Cincinnati.

Currently, S. Mary Ann continues to find richness in a variety of ministries. She does spiritual direction at the Spirituality Center at the SC Motherhouse. The St. Vincent de Paul Society at a local parish expands her compassionate heart as she encounters “the strength, fortitude and faith families demonstrate in the midst of coping with extremely trying circumstances. Visiting the homes of our neighbors in need humbles me as I compare my security and abundant resources with those who truly live in fear and uncertainty.” She also volunteers at a ‘choice pantry’ in an underserved area of Cincinnati. She walks with shoppers and listens to their stories as they make their choices of grocery items, both fresh and non-perishable. A prayer, support and often a good laugh mark these interactions.

Spirituality is like an unearthed gem and is important to S. Mary Ann. Her annual retreat, daily prayer and especially the joyful congregational Eucharistic celebrations “nourish my soul,” she says. Along the journey of the years S. Mary Ann has become a gifted liturgical dancer, enhancing Community celebrations with color and joy.

A well-rounded life also has time for regenerative activities. “I relax with a good book, take long walks in nature, enjoy meals with friends, and spend time attending my grandniece’s and nephew’s soccer and volleyball games and her dance recitals. She has improved tremendously since we sat through 3-year-olds trying to keep their place on stage!”

A wide variety of gems have been unearthed and polished by S. Mary Ann these 60 years. “It is certainly with deep gratitude that I look back over these 60 years and identify a wide variety of gifts in the opportunities I have had and the people who have influenced my life,” she says. “I particularly note the focus we SCs have on social justice and our ministries to the poor and underserved. We are committed educators, artists, and musicians. We are pastoral and medical personnel. I know I have been enriched, educated, and challenged by knowing Sisters in each of these areas and have grown in understanding and compassion for the challenges and successes their service offers. I believe our diversity in ministry has truly enriched us as a Congregation and been a gift to the people of God.”

“For all that has been, for our blessings without number, I give you thanks, O Lord.
And for all that will be, for all that is to come, I say yes, I say yes!”

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