A life of service: Holy Names Sister Mary Annette Dworshak

Photo: Stephen Brashear Photo: Stephen Brashear

Sister Mary Annette Dworshak grew up in Miles City, Montana, where she was inspired by the Ursuline and Edmonds Dominican sisters who taught her. Her uncle, Bishop Leo F. Dworschak of Fargo, North Dakota, told her that becoming a religious sister would mean exploring the world with new eyes and insights. But she never imagined she would collaborate on her community’s official stands on water rights, human trafficking, and immigrants and refugees; study at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem; or travel with a Leadership Conference of Women Religious delegation to Mexico in support of fair-trade coffee growers and women’s weaving cooperatives.

What person or experience most influenced you to answer the call to religious life?

Experiencing how the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary at Fort Wright College challenged women to find their voices and realize their potential prompted me to realize, in the stillness of my heart, that God was inviting me to join them in their response to Blessed Marie Rose Durocher’s call “to cast fire upon the earth” and bring justice to all.

What do you most enjoy about being a religious sister?

Collaborating with our sisters and affiliates, members of other congregations and my colleagues at Holy Names Academy warms my heart and brings me strength to address the complex issues of today with the hope that together we can pray, inform and advocate against human trafficking, for immigrants and refugees, and for our common home.

What gives you hope?

Teaching high school students nourishes my heart to watch in amazement at their insights, questions and service addressing some of the complicated moral and political issues from Vatican II to 2019.

What does the Called to Serve as Christ campaign mean to you?

We in the Catholic Church have a heritage of dedicated women and men who have committed themselves to care for the sick, educate children and adults, and comfort the broken-hearted. Support of the Called to Serve as Christ campaign is an act of responsibility and an expression of gratitude.

The Called to Serve as Christ campaign aims to raise $100 million to strengthen the Archdiocese of Seattle’s priest pension and retirement medical plans, provide support to women religious, and assist key efforts in our parishes. Learn more at CalledToServeAsChrist.org.

About Sister Mary Annette Dworshak

Community: Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

Final vows: June 1971

Favorite Scripture verse: Psalm 46:11 — “Be still and know that I am God.”

Hobbies: Reading, walking, traveling, writing, knitting, quilting, spending time with family, friends, community

Teacher, Holy Names Academy, Spokane (1969–74)
Teacher, Holy Names Academy, Seattle (1974–present)
Congregational Justice and Peace Network (2005–19)
U.S.-Ontario Province Justice Network (2006–present)

Northwest Catholic - November 2019