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Sister Mary Annice Buttaro

List of deceased Sisters

Date of death 21/09/2016

Sister Mary Annice, smsm

(Anna Josephine Buttaro)

August 12th 1928 – September 21st, 2016

SMSM SistersAnna Josephine Buttaro was born on August 12th, 1928, in Cambridge Massachusetts to Pasquale and Assunta DiGiacomo Buttaro who had both come to the United States from Italy. She had three brothers, Anthony (now deceased), Vincent and John, and one sister, Josephine (also deceased). Sr. Annice was very close to her family throughout her life and many relatives came to her funeral, held at Sacred Heart Church in Waltham on September 26th.

Anna graduated from high school in 1945 and entered the Marist Missionary Sisters at Bedford, Massachusetts, on July 31st 1951. She made her first vows on February 2nd, 1954 and was soon missioned to Hawaii, to St Stephen’s Seminary, where at that time our Sisters provided the domestic services and also gave hospitality for Sisters coming back and forth from the Pacific islands.

Sr. Annice returned to Boston in 1959 and was assigned to the community at Isabella Street. She made her perpetual vows on February 2nd 1960. In August of that year Sister was sent to the Marist Fathers’ Novitiate in Staten Island, New York, where she worked in the kitchen.

In 1961 she was assigned to our central house in Framingham, Massachusetts. Sr. Annice was an expert seamstress and over the years made the white dresses for many Sisters departing for missions in tropical lands. She also did cooking for the community and began to be involved in catechetical work in the parish. She continued these occupations in Waltham when our central house was moved there in 1962.

In 1965 Sister Annice made her “Second Novitiate” in Bedford. In 1968 she moved to the newly constructed Provincial House on Grove Street in Waltham and continued her work as cook and seamstress. In 1971, when Maristhill Nursing Home was opened, she became a Nurses’ Aide and served there for 8 months until she was missioned to Jamaica in December of that year. Jamaica, by all accounts, was a mission that Sr. Annice (or “Annie” as she was often called) truly loved. Sr. Christina MacLean commented on this when she gave the “Words of Remembrance” at the funeral:

Annie had a heart that reached out to others especially the wounded and downtrodden. She loved children and the youth. Here in Waltham she prepared special needs children for First Communion and in Jamaica she worked at the center for the deaf. Jamaica held a very special place in her heart and she gave her all to the people. When she was at the Self-help Center she taught cooking and sewing. To make sure that what she was teaching was helpful to the people she would go out walking to the poorest places where her students lived, to learn how they cooked in their homes. She would then come back to the center and adjust what she taught so they could do whatever she was teaching within their own homes. As one sister said, “she was always willing to try something new. She had an ability to walk with the people and they loved her.”

After Sr. Annice returned to the USA from Jamaica in November 1977 she began years of study and ministry in counseling. In 1978 she did studies in Pastoral Counseling at Boston College. She served as a teacher’s aide for emotionally disturbed children in Woburn when she moved to the Winchester community in 1981. From 1982 she studied at Cambridge College and gained a Masters Degree in Family Counseling in 1985.

In the 1990’s Sr. Annice did Counseling at the New Life Center at the Stigmatine Center in Waltham. Later she had an office at St Mary’s parish in Waltham. From 1995 she lived in a subsidized apartment in Lexington. She also spent long periods caring for her brother, Tony, who lived in western Massachusetts, and who was ill.

As Sister Christina said during the funeral celebration last week,

Annie had a personality that was outgoing, funny and she had a wonderful sense of humor… She often showed kindness and was a loyal friend to many. Annie would do anything for you if you were in need…

However like all of us Annie also had a side to her that was irksome and frustrating. She had an uncanny ability to be late for everything. She could go off for a weekend and forget to tell you she was going away so you just prayed she was somewhere safe and sound. She also had a temper that could erupt quickly and disappear just as fast.

It is not surprising that Sr. Annice was drawn to a profession where she could offer support and compassion to others. Her gifts for counseling were greatly appreciated by many…

Sr. Annice's pain was psychological as well as physical. However it was rare that she let people know about being deeply saddened at times and the struggles and pain that were a part of her life. Yet, I believe Annie had a capacity to reach out to others because she too had walked a road of suffering and misunderstanding

In January 2012 Sister Annice moved to the community at 62 Newton Street. Her deafness made communication very difficult, and as her health deteriorated over these years it became increasingly difficult to meet her needs in the community. In September she was hospitalized briefly, then transferred to a nursing care facility near Newton-Wellesley Hospital. She was hospitalized again, and finally transferred to Maristhill Nursing Home on the evening of September 20th, and died there early in the morning of the 21st. During their last visit, Sr. Annice said to Sr. Claire, “Tell the Sisters that I love them.” Now, finally free of all the burdens of mind and body that weighed on her so heavily for so many years we can imagine her delight, her joy and her laughter in the presence of the Lord, Mary, and all the loved ones who went before her. May she rest in peace.

Gratefully in Mary,

Sr. Claire Rheaume smsm   (Regional Leader)

Sr. Virginia Fornasa smsm  (Communications Secretary)