The funeral Mass for Sister Mary Anthony Mathews, ASC, a longtime educator and missionary in China, was celebrated May 12 in the Ruma Center Chapel in Ruma, Ill. Sister Mary Anthony died May 8 at Ruma Center. She was 102 and had been a professed member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ for 84 years.
Born on May 1, 1916, in Coulterville, Ill., she made first vows with the Adorers on July 2, 1933, and final profession on July 1, 1938. In 1940, she was among sisters missioned to teach in China, and within a few months was caught in the conflict that escalated into World War II. The sisters were held in a concentration camp, then lived under house arrest at a Franciscan convent until 1946. They were kept isolated and weren’t allowed to send or receive letters.
Once back in the States, Sister Mary Anthony studied at St. Louis University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1948 and a master’s degree in education in 1960.
She taught for 35 years, 11 solely as a teacher and 24 with double duty as a principal. She served mostly at schools in Illinois. In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, she taught at Our Lady School in Festus.
Sister Mary Anthony also taught Adult Basic Education, GED and remedial instruction and was certified in clinical pastoral education from St. Louis University. She became active in the Sanctuary Movement in the 1980s and cared for refugees housed at Ruma and Assumption Convent in Fairview Heights, Ill. She also volunteered at La Labor, the Adorers’ mission in Guatemala as a tutor and pastoral minister.