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Sister Mary Agnes Anne Wilcox(Jeanne Frances Wilcox)

List of Deceased Sisters

Date of Death 11/12/2022

Sister Agnes Anne Wilcox

Born: 17th August 1925 

Professed: 9th March 1961

Died: 11th December 2022 

Sister Agnes Anne was born on August 17th, 1925, in Quincy, Massachusetts, USA, and baptized with the name Jeanne Frances Marie Wilcox.  Her father, James Joseph Wilcox, was from South Boston, and her mother, Agnes Gertrude O’Loughlin, was from West Newbury, Massachusetts. She had three brothers and one sister, all of whom are now deceased.

Jeanne attended Boston College, and graduated from there in 1951, with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Education.  After some years of teaching, she entered the postulancy of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary in Lowell, Massachusetts, on July 31st, 1958.

Jeanne was received as a novice in Bedford MA on February 1st, 1959, taking the name “Sister Agnes Anne”.  She made her first vows on March 9th, 1961.  

During the next few years, Sr Agnes Anne was called upon to give classes to postulants, novices and newly- professed Sisters in Bedford and Waltham, while continuing her own studies, becoming a “Reading Specialist” at Cardinal Stritch College in 1963, and travelling by train back and forth to St Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana for several weeks at a time until she obtained her Masters in Religious Education in 1965.  Also, from 1963 to 1965, she served as the coordinator for Religious Education at Sacred Heart Parish in Waltham.

“Aggie”, as she was affectionately known by many friends and Sisters, finally received her long-awaited “mission destination” – to Samoa – on September 8th, 1965.  Her first assignment was to teach at the school in Vaimoso.  She loved the people of Samoa, and the Sisters who knew her then have written to tell us of how they appreciated her.  It was in Samoa that she made her perpetual vows on March 9th, 1967.

In August 1970 Sr Agnes Anne returned to the USA to care for her mother and brother, who were both ill.  In 1971-72 she was part of a Mission Education Team in Bedford and Framingham MA. From August to December 1972, she coordinated a “Long Term Spiritual Renewal” program in Lexington, MA for Sisters who already had some years of experience in mission.

In April 1973, Sr Agnes Anne was sent to join the staff of a school in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, where some of our Sisters were teaching.  A year later she was asked to coordinate another “Long Term Spiritual Renewal” Program in Waltham, at the Grove St house, from March to October 1974. Afterwards she was assigned to the 62 Newton St. community in Waltham. From 1975 to 1977 she taught at the Jackson Street School in Newton, MA.

In August 1977, Sr Agnes Anne was missioned to Jamaica, in the West Indies, and taught at the Seminary there for the next ten years.  As Sr Judith Sheridan remarked during her “Words of Remembrance” at the funeral, “I saw her with the Minor seminarians in Jamaica, and her creativity and love of English and love of fun allowed them to be themselves and to flourish.” 

In 1981, Sr Agnes Anne was appointed Regional Superior of Jamaica.  Two years later, she was invited to a three-month Marist Family Renewal program that was held in Switzerland. She returned to Jamaica and remained there until 1987. She then returned to the USA and was assigned first to the Lexington community and later to the Arlington community.

In January 1990, Sr. Agnes Anne began a one-year Sabbatical program at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.  It was there that she met some Jesuits who told her of the mission needs in Alaska, where they had a number of “priestless parishes” in isolated areas and asked if she would be interested in this mission.  She was, and, after some prayer and reflection put in her request to our Provincial and General administrations, and her request was granted.  

By September 1991, Sr. Agnes Anne found herself in charge of a small church, called St Theresa’s, in the town of Nenana, Alaska.  The community was small and diverse – and very happy to have someone to lead them in prayer and reflection at regular times, especially when there was no priest to visit them and celebrate the Eucharist.  After several years on her own, Aggie was delighted to have the companionship of Sr Mary Stephen, who, in 1995, responded to an appeal for a manager of a nearby Senior Residence.  The two worked together there until 2002, when they returned to Massachusetts.

Sr Agnes Anne was soon called to another ministry: she joined the staff of the Inter-Provincial Englishspeaking Novitiate in Auckland, New Zealand in November 2002. She often spoke of how much she enjoyed working with the novices. She served there until 2007.

Returning to the USA, Sr “Aggie” arrived in Florida on February 6th in order to attend the funeral of her sister “Chick” who had died a few days earlier. Later she travelled to Belmont, MA, for a time of transition.  She moved to “62 Newton St” on April 20th, 2007 – and there she remained for the rest of her days...

She would not have considered herself “retired” during these last 16 years.  She continued to give Scripture courses to our local communities and at nearby parishes (Sacred Heart, St Mary’s & Winchester) and some farther away (Newark, NJ; Scranton, PA).  In 2012 she went back to Jamaica for a month to give Scripture courses in Kingston and Greater Portmore.  She also continued helping with the formation of Sisters, e.g., preparation for final vows, and even gave courses to novices in New Zealand by Skype in 2012. Sr Agnes Anne was a teacher until the end, not only by her work, but by her way of living, and dying.  May she rest in peace.

Grateful in Mary 

 

Sister Helen Muller, smsm                                                Sister Virginia Fornasa, smsm              

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