Sister Mary Bede Hurst, a retired educator, died at Anna House at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton May 19 at age 98.
She was born Dolores Hurst in St. Louis along with her twin, Rita, to a family of 10 girls and four boys. Two of her sisters, the late Sisters M. Augusteen and Margaret Cortona Hurst, and one brother, Franciscan Father Mark Hurst, had religious vocations. Dolores attended Our Lady of Sorrows School where she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Following graduation from St. John the Baptist High School, she followed her older sister and entered the candidature at Sancta Maria in Ripa in 1939 where she attended Notre Dame Junior College. In 1941, she was received into the novitiate and given the name Mary Bede. She professed first vows in 1942 and final vows in 1948.
Sister Mary Bede received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Quincy College in Quincy, Illinois, in 1950.
For more than 60 years, Sister Mary Bede ministered as a primary teacher or in early childhood education. She taught in Illinois and California, and in Missouri at Holy Family School in Freeburg; St. William and St. Andrew schools in St. Louis; St. George in Linn and St. Martin de Porres in Hazelwood.
In 1986, she taught for a year in the Notre Dame Tutorial Center at Sancta Maria in Ripa in Lemay. The following year, she began serving 18 years as a teacher assistant in the Notre Dame Preschool at Ripa.
In an interview shortly before her retirement in 2005, she said, “I taught 2,719 primary age children over the years. Each year, I recorded the names of my students in a notebook. … I pray for each and every one of them every day. I loved each day as a teacher.”
Burial was in Sancta Maria in Ripa cemetery on May 27. Deacon Paul Martin, the son of Sister Mary Bede’s twin sister, led a prayer service. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later date. Survivors include a brother, John.