Birth: Dec. 27, 1917
Profession: August 5, 1944
Death: August 14, 2013
Religious of the Sacred Heart Anna Mae Marheineke, educator and contemplative, died peacefully on Wednesday, August 14, the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart retirement center in Atherton, California. Her long life of ministry in education will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at Oakwood on Saturday, August 24 at 10:00 AM. She will be buried at Oakwood. A Memorial Mass is scheduled for 10:00 AM Saturday, September 14 at the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne, 619 N 2nd St., St Charles. She will also be remembered during the Alumni Liturgy at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, Saturday, October 19 at 11:00 AM.
Anna Mae Marheineke was born December 27, 1917 in St. Charles, Missouri, the oldest of eight children of Genevieve Kaemmerlen and Joseph Francis Marheineke. From her mother, Anna Mae learned “music, faith, and love for the Church.” She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1936, made her first vows in 1939, and made her final vows in 1944. She was preceded in death by her parents and four of her siblings: Kathleen Marheineke, RSCJ, Jack Marheineke; Mary Duchesne (Mrs. Wm. P.) Kuhn and James Barat Marheineke. She is survived by her brother, Joseph F. Marheineke and sisters, June (Mrs. Elvis) Boettler and Sr. Genevieve Marheineke and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be missed by her Sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart, the staff of Oakwood, her final home, and legions of former students at Sacred Heart schools around the United States.
Wrote one former student and colleague, “The hundreds of souls she has touched send Mother Marheineke off with love and deep thanks, imagining what joy there will be as her beloved mother and father and sisters and brothers welcome her home. Thank you, dearest Mother. Thank you from the bottom of a heart overflowing with love for you.”
Sister Marheineke and her four sisters were day students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles, from age five to sixteen. Following graduation there, Sister Marheineke attended Maryville College of the Sacred Heart for two years. During her second year there, the Vicar asked her if she was going to enter the Society. When she responded that she wasn’t sure, the Vicar replied, “Well, Kathleen (Anna Mae’s younger sister) is entering.” She recalled thinking, “I don’t want Kathleen to get there first!” so the two of them entered the novitiate at Kenwood in Albany, NY, together, on August 15, 1936.
Kathleen and Anna Mae were separated for the first time when Kathleen was assigned to Villa Duchesne, St. Louis, and Anna Mae to Clifton Academy of the Sacred Heart, Cincinnati. Then in 1939, Anna Mae was moved to the Academy of the Sacred Heart (the Rosary) in New Orleans, where she was Surveillante of the Upper School and teacher of seventh and eighth grade students. After a second rotation between Clifton and the Rosary, she returned to Maryville College in St. Louis to complete her Bachelor’s degree and to teach religion to entering freshmen.
In 1945, after making her final profession, Sister Marheineke was assigned for the first time to her beloved alma mater, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. That one brief year was followed by three at Villa Duchesne, St. Louis. She spent two years teaching at Kenwood, in Albany, NY, 1949-51.
In 1951, Sister Marheineke arrived at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where she happily stayed for fourteen years. An RSCJ who knew and loved Anna Mae during these years called her “a woman of prayer, and an outstanding teacher. The students adored her, and it was not a hero-worship kind of admiration. They valued her as a religious and as an educator.”
In 1965, Sister Marheineke returned to the Academy in St. Charles, to her great joy. It was here that she was to spend 40 years, the happiest years of her religious life, close to St. Philippine Duchesne, whose shrine is on the grounds of the Academy. She began her ministry teaching middle school and high school grades in the Academy, then, as retirement came on, she became a library assistant, Eucharistic minister and lector at the parish church and worked in the alumnae office. She is remembered as a talented, innovative and caring teacher and a gifted poet. A collection of her poetry was published by the Academy's alumni association in 2005.
“Anna Mae has left an indelible mark on the hearts and lives of our family,” wrote one alumna. “Her life has touched so many with her grace, her brilliant soul, and her love.”
One of the great joys of Sister Marheineke’s long life came in 1988, when she accompanied a group of faculty members to Rome for the canonization of St. Philippine.
Sister Marheineke moved to Oakwood in 2005. She felt at home from the beginning, and while her final years included several periods of illness, she was a joyful presence.
Sister Marheineke earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Education from Maryville College, St. Louis.