Ann (Virginia) Arceneau, OSB

“You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” Sister Ann’s farm roots are firmly established. To this day, when she goes to her brother’s place on weekends, one can find her outdoors mowing the lawn and helping her brother. As the second oldest of eight children, S. Ann always enjoyed outdoor work. She and her older brother helped their father with the farm work. Together they shocked grain, pitched hay, milked the cows and did all the farm chores.One day while they were in the field with a team of horses, a swarm of bees came at them. They both started to run away and left the horses stand. When their father saw this, they quickly learned never to leave hitched horses unattended.

Living and working in the country during the Depression, S. Ann learned to live simply, to make do with what was available, to respect the land and all resources and to share them. They had a large garden, apple trees, hogs, cattle and chickens, so they seldom needed to shop for food. One of her favorite tasks was sausage making. It became a custom to do this with her cousins, the Webers, on the day after Thanksgiving.

S. Ann is known for her common sense attitude toward life. While valuing work and prayer, she also knew the importance of leisure. Sundays were always kept holy. After going to church and enjoying a family dinner together, including the weekly dessert, all 10 piled into the car to visit relatives. Playing ball cemented the relationships.

In ministry, S. Ann dedicated most of her life to elementary education as a teacher and principal. She continued to grow in appreciation of the values she learned on the farm and while in initial formation at the monastery. After retiring from education, S. Ann was the driver for St. Scholastica Convent for 15 year. She did this with great patience while marveling at the care shown by everyone. Currently, she helps in the kitchen and does housekeeping at the monastery.

By Bernadette Weber, OSB