Ann Marie Dolan, BVM (Cyrilita) died Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa. Visitation will be from 9–10:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in the Marian Hall Chapel. A Sharing of Memories and funeral liturgy will immediately follow. Burial is in the Mount Carmel cemetery.
She was born in Chicago on Oct. 27, 1920, to Francis Bernard and Julia Kilbeg Dolan. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1939, from Blessed Sacrament Parish, Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1942, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1947.
Sister Anne Marie taught at St. Athanasius ES in Jesup and St. Patrick ES in Dubuque, where she also served as formation director at the Mount Carmel Motherhouse. She taught elementary school in Casper, Wyo.; Milwaukee; and Chicago, where she also taught secondary school Spanish/Guidance. She served as formation director in Los Gatos, Calif.
She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Cyril Dolan. She is survived by a sister, Frances Andreoni, Elmwood Park, Ill.; a sister-in-law, Alice Dolan, Plainfield, Ill.; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 78 years.
Sister Anne Marie Dolan, BVM (Cyrilita)
Marian Hall, Dec. 1, 2017
Good morning and welcome to the celebration of life of our Sister Anne Marie Dolan.
Anne Marie Dolan was born on Oct. 27, 1920, to Francis and Julia Kilbeg Dolan of Chicago. Ann Marie was the eldest of three children and was later joined by a sister Frances and a brother Cyril. They grew up across the street from Blessed Sacrament ES. “By the time of my first communion,” said Anne Marie, “I knew I wanted to be like the sisters who taught me. My parents’ deep faith and the BVMs who taught me at Blessed Sacrament and St. Mary HS served as an inspiration for my vocation.” She did clerical work at Montgomery Ward in Chicago before coming to Mount Carmel.
Anne Marie entered the congregation on Sept. 8, 1939, and received the name Cyrilita upon her reception on March 19, 1940. She professed her first vows on March 19, 1942, and lived 77 years as a BVM. She was an elementary school teacher for 21 years and was missioned at St. Dorothy in Chicago; St. Anthony in Casper, Wyo.; St. Athanasius in Jesup, Iowa; St. Patrick in Dubuque, Iowa; and Gesu in Milwaukee, where she served as principal and taught kindergarten.
Anne Marie loved her pioneer mission to Jesup. The priest insisted on building a school and wanted BVMs to staff it because “they were hard workers.” Being a city girl, she was amazed at how the rural people provided for their needs. “We never had to purchase meat,” she commented. However, no matter where she taught, Anne Marie believed that teaching was a wonderful profession and considered it a privilege to instruct children “not only in reading, writing and arithmetic, but primarily to cooperate in the training of their wills, forming their characters, and bringing them to a knowledge and love of God.”
Anne Marie served as postulant mistress at Mount Carmel in Dubuque from 1963–64.The following year, she and part of the Set of 1963 arrived at Guadalupe College in Los Gatos, Calif., to open a second BVM novitiate. It was a tremendous challenge—from dealing with continued construction and lack of water at times, to discerning how to continue novitiate traditions but with a Guadalupe flavor, to navigating through the changes wrought by Vatican II—which Anne Marie wholeheartedly embraced.
Anne Marie encouraged her novices to dedicate themselves to academic, personal and spiritual growth. She supported their studies and provided opportunities to attend lectures by prominent theologians and to collaborate with other women’s religious communities in the area. They learned to be independent, critical thinkers, to be flexible and open to change, and to respect differences in others while standing up for their own values.
Anne Marie was a woman of strong principles and integrity. She was firm, but fair, as well as patient, compassionate and tender. She challenged and chided the novices as needed, but always with a deep respect for the individual, often including an affirmation with the correction. She knew how to laugh and have fun and loved to hear the novices sing.
Anne Marie’s commitment to religious life was strong and her love of the BVM community deep. Still, the spirit, not the letter, of the law was most important. She taught her novices to understand the difference between the customs of the time and the essentials of religious life. She taught from her own experiences, what she truly believed, and worked diligently to prepare them with realistic expectations for life on the missions and community living. Above all, she wanted to transmit her love of the BVM community to them and enable them to become women of prayer who, as we will pray in the responsorial psalm, “seek the face of the Lord and yearn for Him.”
Anne Marie took her congregational responsibility seriously and, at times, it weighed heavily on her, especially amid criticism that she was too conservative and strict. However, after attending a reunion of her Guadalupe novices in 2005, she wrote, “My heart was filled with gratitude to God. The seeds planted there have been in full bloom these many years. It was clear to me that each BVM has been walking with Mary Frances Clarke, and all under the gaze of Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Truly, Anne Marie made Guadalupe a joyful, loving community.
After completing a master’s degree in counseling in 1969, Anne Marie spent the next 25 years as a Spanish teacher and guidance counselor at Cathedral HS in Chicago. In response to the growing number of Hispanic students enrolled at Cathedral, she spent the summer of 1980 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, to immerse herself in conversational Spanish “that I may respond more fully and competently to the Hispanic [students and their parents]. . . . To me it is no longer a luxury, but an evangelical necessity.” She was well respected at Cathedral and played a key role in assisting students and staff through the school’s closing in 1994.
After the closing, she volunteered as a care minister at Northwestern Hospital and a liturgical minister at Holy Name Cathedral. She lived five years at Wright Hall before moving to Mount Carmel in 2011 where she served as a lector, participated in Taize prayer, attended classes at the Roberta Kuhn Center, and read for sisters with failing eyesight.
Anne Marie was a gracious and kind woman, a mentor and a gift to many. She faithfully lived her life doing God’s work, teaching others how to love and trust God. May she rest in peace.