we remember… ann amen, ssj

Ann Amen, SSJ, Ph.D., age 99, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania, died on August 29, 2017.  Sister Ann was in the 67th year of her religious life.  She was born in Quincy, Illinois on August 16, 1918, the daughter of the late Ralph and Julia (Fessler) Amen. 

Sister Ann decided to pursue a religious vocation while she was director of American Red Cross Clubs in Europe and saw Theresa Neumann going through the stigmata.  Following a career as Dean of Women and a member of the administrative board of Quincy College from 1947 – 1950, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph from her home parish, St. Francis, in Quincy, Illinois on August 30, 1951.  She professed her final vows on August 15, 1957. 

Sister Ann earned 7a bachelor’s degree in English and social science from Quincy College, Quincy, Illinois after graduating from Notre Dame Academy and St. Peter School, both in Quincy.  She also earned doctorate and master’s degrees in sociology from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., where she also received training in marriage counseling. 

She served as a guidance director and later professor and head of the sociology and social work department at Villa Maria College, Erie, and chairperson of the Division of Human Behavior.  She also taught at Villa Maria Academy, Erie, before professing her final vows. 

Sister Ann accompanied eight college students to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, shortly after the Mission of Friendship was established between the Diocese of Erie and that of Merida in Mexico.

She briefly worked as a consultant to the Gertrude Barber Center in Erie before an extended sabbatical in Brisbane, Australia from 1973-91.  While in Australia, Sister Ann served on the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau and co-founded the parish care and concern model.  She also served on the Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission in Sydney and Canberra, Australia.  

After returning to the United States, she served as Director of Parish Social Ministry for Catholic Charities of the diocese of Erie from 1991-2000.  In 1993, she wrote Directory of Social Services in Twelve Counties, a 500-page listing of social services in 12 of the 13 counties in the Erie Diocese.

In 1996 she wrote Jumpstart Your Parish — Social Ministry with Parish Care and Concern, a blueprint for establishing parish care and concern and a volunteer training manual.  The manual was used in more than 90 dioceses in 40 states in the United States, in addition to being sold in Australia, Canada, England and Switzerland. In 1998, the book was translated into Spanish. Sister Ann considered parish care and concern as her most important ministry.

Sister Ann served on the boards of United Community Services of Erie County and Catholic Social Services, Erie.  She was one of the incorporators of the Marriage Counseling Service of Erie, Inc., and also served on its board.

In her retirement, Sister Ann resided at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center, Erie, and wrote her life story, Beyond My Dreams.  She also participated in the congregation’s prayer card ministry.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother, Kenneth, and her sister, Rita Amen Ebrom, both in 2002, and a nephew Fr. Pierre Amen, O.F.M.  She is also survived by several nieces and nephews and by her religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Friends may call at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, on Thursday, August 31 from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. when a prayer service will be held.  A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Friday, September 1 at 10:00 a.m. at the Sisters of St. Joseph Community Living Center.  Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph Mission and Ministries Foundation, 5031 West Ridge Road, Erie, PA  16506-1249.  The Francis Kloecker Funeral Home is handling arrangements.