Ursuline Sister Ann McGrew attended St. Paul School for grades 1-12 in her native Grayson County, Ky., and she had Ursuline Sisters or priests as teachers all 12 years.
“When I met the sisters in the first grade, I wanted to be one of them,” Sister Ann said. “They were helping others. I needed glasses in the first grade, I couldn’t see to read, but I didn’t know it. Sister Robert Ann (Wheatley) really worked with me. People seemed important to them. They taught three or four grades, but they tried to meet the needs of each person in the group. I wanted to work where what I was doing would make a difference.” Sister Robert Ann, who taught her first and second grade, died in 2012.
The sisters who meant the most to Sister Ann during her high school years were Sister Dolores Ann Mudd, who left the community in 1967, and Sister Marie Kathleen Saffer, who left in 1966.
“My father died right after I finished eighth grade,” Sister Ann said. “That was a hard year for me and my family. My mom was badly burned that November, and I had a lot of responsibilities at home. Sister Kathleen knew that and helped me. That solidified that I wanted to be a sister.”
“At Christmas my senior year, I told my mom I was going to enter the Ursulines,” Sister Ann said. “She said, ‘Well Ann, we’ll pray about it, and you’ll know what God wants you to do.’”
She entered as a postulant in September 1964, and entered the novitiate in 1965, making this her 50th year as a sister. She took the religious name Sister Theresa Rose.
“I had a great devotion to the Little Flower (Saint Therese of Lisieux),” Sister Ann said. “She promised to send roses from heaven. We had a Sister Ann Jenkins, so we couldn’t have two Sister Anns.” Following the changes of Vatican II, by the end of the 1960s, she returned to Sister Ann.
Sister Ann has been a teacher, a formation director, and a parish minister. Since completing her six-year term on the Ursuline leadership Council in 2010, Sister Ann has served as director of the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center. She is also a certified spiritual director and leads the Spiritual Direction Training Program at Maple Mount.
“I am aware that religious life is not for everyone, but for me it is the greatest life I can imagine,” Sister Ann said. “My life is filled with many blessings and graces that come to me from this chosen life choice. My life as an Ursuline Sister fills me with great joy. I thank God every day for my vocation.”