A funeral Mass for Sister Mary Ann Hardcastle, RSM, was to have been celebrated Nov. 4 in the chapel at Catherine’s Residence in Frontenac. Sister Mary Ann died Oct. 27 at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. She was 86 years old and a Sister of Mercy for 68 years.
Sister Mary Ann was born on March 3, 1937, in Doniphan, Missouri, to Owen W. Hardcastle and Virginia N. (Hume) Hardcastle. She entered the Religious Sisters of Mercy in Webster Groves on Sept. 8, 1955. She professed her first vows Aug. 8, 1958, and made her final vows on Aug. 16, 1960, in Frontenac.
Sister Mary Ann earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and certification for secondary education from Saint Louis University in 1960. She earned her master’s in administration at Notre Dame University in Indiana in 1968. In 1977, Sister Mary Ann was certified in Louisiana elementary/secondary administration for her ministry as a future principal. She later earned a master’s in religious studies at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, in 1991.
Her ministry in education brought her to New Orleans, Little Rock, Arkansas, and St. Louis, serving as a teacher, principal, administrator and other services as needed in the 1960s and 1970s. In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, she taught at Mercy High School in University City. At the collegiate level, she served as president of Mercy Junior College in St. Louis during the time it merged with Maryville College (now University).
Sister Mary Ann’s diversity of gifts for lifetime ministry also included social outreach, community convent administration and years of community leadership for the St. Louis Province, comprised of sisters living in seven states and based in St. Louis. From 1979-85, she served with the Province/Regional Community St. Louis Leadership Team in the areas of religious studies, formation and supervisory ministry initiatives.
In 1997, Sister Mary Ann assumed administrative responsibilities as director of the newly established Catherine’s House Ministry for women, which continues to thrive today. She served there until 2001, with a year in between as director of the UAMS ECCO Head Start Program in Little Rock.
She retired to Catherine McAuley Convent in Barling, Arkansas, in 2019 until its closure in 2021. At that time, she transitioned to Catherine’s Residence in Frontenac.
As the eldest of three siblings, she was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Susan Hardcastle Martin. She is survived by her younger brother, John “Jack” Hardcastle and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, their spouses and children.