Remembering Mary Ann

This is the two year anniversary of Mary Ann's passing. Mary Ann served as the Director of Liberia Mission and is still loved and missed daily. Joe Sehnert, our Board President, here reflects on her remarkable life:

Remembering our beloved Mary Ann Gemma O'Driscoll. It is difficult to believe that Mary Ann has been gone for two years. It seems like much, much longer. We know that she is with Jesus, who was the joy of her life. Anyone who spent time around Mary Ann can recall the songs, humming and tin whistling that praised Jesus and demonstrated where her heart and mind were all the times. But the emptiness she left behind is still palpable in Africa, Ireland, the U.S.. and in the hearts of anyone who met her.

She gave herself to the Great Commission. It sounds so noble and difficult to accomplish, but Mary Ann made it seem natural and easy to follow Jesus' command to take His Good News to the ends of the earth. Jesus filled her with His Holy Spirit to such a degree that she spilled grace all over anyone who she came in contact with.

In many ways Mary Ann was tough as nails, but in all things centered in Christ, vigilant and steadfast. She gave herself freely, openly, and constantly to The Holy Spirit. In the minds of many she is a martyr of charity. She embodiedcaritas, as a lover of neighbors.

Mary Ann Gemma's life is proof positive that there are people in our day who still give without measure, who walk in the faith and live in the light of Christ. She is gone, but her example and her life give us hope. To the young men and women of Liberia she left a path to follow. One of giving and seeing the face of Christ in others while always offering a helping hand.

To the Irish, she gave an example of a faith not dead to consumerism, materialism and individualism, but a faith like those of her kin: St. Patrick, Gobnaught, Brigit, Brendan and so many other of old. Mary Ann Gemma was not of old and not a sentimentalist or a romantic, but a pragmatic follower of the faith and what it calls us to.

To us Americans, Mary Ann Gemma was a challenger who often called us from our lofty thoughts of self to bring us down to see the face of Christ in the poorest of the poor.

To Mary Ann Gemma's family, we offer our sincerest appreciation for sharing her life with us. We extend our condolences once more and we pray for her soul and for you.

Let me end with a prayer that Mary Ann Gemma said daily after our Angelus:

May the Divine assistance remain always with us. 

And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, amen.

A final note: I just got back from the Convocation of Catholic Leaders held in Florida. The whole 5 day conference was based on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation Evangelic Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel. Mary Ann Gemma lived as a Missionary Disciple, which is what the Pope is calling us all to do. May her joy and fire for living the Gospel be an example to us all. To learn more, I recommend reading this article.


Joe Sehnert

Board President