From the Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock, AR
Sister Mary Alice of the Blessed Sacrament OCD
July 26, 1920 - August 14, 2019
After 82 years in the vineyard of our Lord, Sr. Mary Alice Grace entered into eternal life on August 14, 2019. Hers was truly a “Eucharistic vocation” drawn by our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at an early age. She was born on July 26, 1920 to Eugene and Eleanor (Albright) Grace, the first of two daughters. Her sister, Mildred, was born over a year later. While attending grade school at St. Scholastica’s in Aspinwall, PA, Mary Alice began to “make a visit” to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament during her recess and as she went to and from school. It was at this time that she began to feel drawn to religious life.
For her religious life meant being a Franciscan like the Sisters of St. Francis who taught her. After her father died when she was twelve, Mary Alice began to attend daily Mass and her desire for religious life continued to grow. She entered Mt. Alvernia Prep School at thirteen years old as an aspirant to the Sisters of St. Francis. It was there that she was given initial instruction in mental prayer and spiritual reading. One of the books that she read was a life of a Poor Clare Nun, Marie Celine of the Presentation. It was after reading this book, that she first felt drawn to cloistered religious life. Mary Alice confided this to her directoress but was told it was a temptation. So she continued with the Sisters of St. Francis and entered the novitiate in 1937. While in formation she continued to desire cloistered religious life and asked her novice mistress if she had a contemplative vocation. Again she was told it was a temptation so she made her vows as a Franciscan.
After her simple profession, she attended Duquesne University and a year later began teaching. Sr. Mary Alice loved teaching. She taught 4th grade at St. Ann’s in Millvale, 6th grade at St George and St Augustine, 7th and 8th grade at St. Peter’s in Butler, PA. Through all the moving from school to school she kept “rooted in Christ” in the Blessed Sacrament in the chapels of each of the schools. He was her “home”. Later Sr. Mary Alice was placed with a superior who also desired a cloistered life. It was this superior who encouraged her to speak to the Mother General, who directed her to speak to their Religious Superior, a Third Order Regular Franciscan. It was Dr. Doyle T.O.R. who asked the Prioress, Mother Mary Barrett, to accept Sr. Mary Alice for the foundation in Little Rock, AR. On December 21, 1950 she entered the Carmel of St. Teresa of Jesus in Little Rock. The following year on December 22, 1951 she made her solemn vows.
Sr. Mary Alice always loved teaching and the Franciscan order and its Sisters but felt Carmel was where she belonged. Our Lady held a special place in her heart as she bore her name both in Baptism and as a religious. This love and devotion grew over her many years in Carmel. She was a pillar in her community and served in many capacities during her 68 years in Carmel including a term as Prioress, Sub prioress and many years as Novice Mistress. During her many years in Carmel she baked altar breads, whole wheat bread to sell, took care of the habits and tunics, played the organ and helped with music. She loved to garden and correspond with the many people who wrote to the nuns asking for prayers. She also assisted the Carmel of New Orleans from 1992 until 2001, serving as Prioress. She was known for her simplicity, joy and guileless nature.
She is preceded in death by her sister Mildred (Grace) March and her husband Robert March. She is survived by her nephews James March(Sue) and Richard March and by her great nephews Jeremy and Brian March and her beloved Carmelite Nuns, Carmelite Friars at Marylake, and Carmelite Seculars. The Carmelite Nuns are very grateful to all those from Arkansas Hospice and Home helpers who helped care for Sr. Mary Alice.
Visitation at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel will began at 11am on Friday August 16th with Vigil and Rosary at 7pm. The Funeral Mass will be on Saturday August 17th at 9:30 am at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel, 7201 West 32nd Street, Little Rock, AR. Burial will follow.
Sister Ann of the Mother of God OCD
March 26, 1927 - July 22, 2019
Sister Ann of the Mother of God OCD was 92 years old when our Lord took her to Himself. She was born Margaret (Peggy) Louise Wiedemer on March 26, 1927 in Newry, PA. She was the ninth child born to Martin and Regina(Coslow) Wiedemer. The family moved to Altoona, PA where she attended catholic schools run by sisters who influenced her vocation to religious life as well as her cousin who was an extern sister at the Carmel of Loretto, PA. At age 19 she entered the Carmelite Monastery in Loretto, PA and in 1950 became a founding sister of the Monastery in Little Rock. The temporary monastery was located next door to the school board building on Louisiana Street that was bombed in 1959 during the Civil Rights unrest. Because of structural damage to the house the sisters moved to their present location on West 32nd Street. Out of her 72 years as a Carmelite, she served 54 years preparing meals for the sisters and helping out wherever needed. In 1990 she volunteered to help out the Carmel in New Orleans and returned to Little Rock ten years later after they began flourishing again in Covington LA. Her passion was to pray for Priests and those who were in prison. She empathized deeply with those who lacked the basic necessities of life. She immediately set any stranger at ease because she saw Christ in them. She would often say “Every leaf on that tree is an act of love to Jesus from me” and that was evident in her life of faith, love and service to her sisters and friends. She had a playful spirit that helped lighten the heavy hearted. She was often seen spending time praying in the choir and whenever asked to do something she immediately dropped everything to joyfully take on the task. In her later years she spent much time corresponding with those who wrote to the Monastery for prayers. Even while in the Infirmary she continued to care for other sisters. She will be missed by all who knew her.
She is survived by many devoted nieces, nephews and their families, her beloved Carmelite Nuns, Carmelite Friars at MaryLake, Carmelite Seculars of Little Rock, and many friends.
The community wishes to express their gratitude to those who lovingly cared for her during the years proceeding her death. Visitation will begin at 10 am July 25th with Vigil and Rosary at 7:30 pm. Funeral Mass will be Friday July 26th at 10 am at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel, 7201 West 32nd Street, Little Rock, AR. Burial will follow. Funeral Arrangements are through Griffin, Leggett. Healey & Roth Funeral Home, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Other Memorial Pages