By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE – A teacher, mentor, role model and friend to countless people in the St. Dominic Parish community was honored Oct. 4 for her service.
Sister Anne Brady, R.S.M., is celebrating her 60th anniversary of her profession of vows this year and she’s been a fixture at St. Dominic. She taught for 44 years at St. Dominic Catholic School and remains a vital part of the parish after having retired more than 10 years ago.
“One of the great things is so many people that I taught years and years ago are still in the parish,”
Sister Anne said. “It’s been great to be a part of their lives. The people have always been so gracious and kind.”
Sister Anne began at St. Dominic immediately after coming over from Ireland. She said it was her first full-time teaching assignment and there was not much time to get acclimated to the position.
“When I came, we were still building the classrooms, so we had only one sixth grade. And Fr. (Joseph) Adams’ policy was if you want your child to come to Catholic school, we’ll take them. So I ended up with 60 sixth-graders in one class,” Sister Anne said with a smile.
“I just thought ‘well, Americans always do things in a big way.’ ”
Sr. Anne remained a middle school teacher throughout her time at St. Dominic.
Among Sister Anne’s notable achievements is her contribution to Holocaust education. She’s a co-founder of the Alabama Gulf Coast Holocaust Library and serves on the board of the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education.
In 2017, she received the Shalom Award for her work.
“One of the best compliments I got was from a seventh-grade boy who asked me, ‘Are you Jewish?’” Sister Anne said in 2017 upon receiving the award. “When I said ‘no,’ he said, ‘Why do you care so much?’ I think and hope that our students also learn to “care so much,” as a result of their Holocaust study.”
The faces may have changed, but she said children haven’t.
“One of the things that’s changed so much is technology,” Sister Anne said. “In my day it was books. Basically, youngsters are the same.”
Many of the students she taught throughout the years later sent their own children to St. Dominic.
Many of the students she taught also became her co-workers at the school.
St. Dominic middle school teacher Cathy Wertz was one of Sr. Anne’s students and eventually taught with Sr. Anne for about 20 years.
“She allowed students to work at their own pace and would work with us individually as we needed help,” Wertz said. “Our classes were large. I remember having 40-42 students in a class. I remember the class quietly working while she helped students at her desk.”
When Wertz taught with Sr. Anne at St. Dominic, Sr. Anne was much more than a colleague. When Wertz needed a proxy godmother for her daughter because Wertz’ best friend from out of town could not attend due to being pregnant, Sr. Anne stepped in.
“She is my mentor and very dear friend,” Wertz said.
Sister Anne taught St. Dominic principal Laurie Michener’s children. Michener echoed that Sister Anne is much more than a teacher.
“To me, she’s not only an excellent teacher, but a model of a Christian woman and what a good Christian should be like,” Michener said.
“For me personally, she is always willing to offer her knowledge and wisdom when it comes to the school and things that are bigger than academics. She’s always willing to offer wisdom and love.”