Sister Mary Ann Dice, OSB

April 2, 1939 – March 14, 2021

Sister Mary Ann Dice (formerly Sister Ursula), 81, a Benedictine sister of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kan., died Sunday, March 14, 2021, at the monastery. Funeral services are pending to a later date.

Sister Mary Ann was born in Kansas City, Mo., on April 2, 1939, the youngest of three children of Bertha (Gladbach) and Fred Dice. She attended Holy Trinity Grade School in Lenexa, Ks., and St. Joseph High School in Shawnee, Ks. After her graduation in 1957, she entered the Benedictine sisters. She earned a B.S. in education from Mount St. Scholastica College and M.A. in teaching from Webster University. As a primary teacher in parish elementary schools in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, Sister Mary Ann prepared hundreds of children for their First Communion and Confession. Early in her career, she received an Outstanding Young Teacher award in Salisbury, Mo., and continued to excel and be a model educator for 45 years. When she returned to the Mount, she supervised the monastery laundry and did embroidery work.

Sister Mary Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Bertha and Fred Dice. She is survived by her sister, Cynthia Bach (Herb), of Jetmore, Kan., and her brother, Fred Dice (Fran), of Heber Springs, Ark., nieces, and nephews, and her monastic family. Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home (www.arensbergpruett.com) is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be sent to Mount St. Scholastica or made online at the Mount’s website (www.mountosb.org). 

Vigil for S. Mary Ann Dice

Sister Thomasita Homan | April 14, 2021 | Song of Songs 2:8-19, 14, 16a; Colossians 3:12-17; Matthew 11:25-30

On behalf of our Mount community, I extend love and condolences to Sister Mary Ann’s beloved family: her sister Cynthia and brother Fred and to their families; and to her parents in eternity, Bertha and Fred. And to her many students and friends who journeyed with her in prayer and love.

Can’t you imagine Sister Mary Ann as she entered eternity and heard the echoes of the first reading from the Song of Songs: “The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills…like a gazelle…” And she hears the words: “Arise, my love…and come away…” (Imagine her joy in homecoming!)

Sister Mary Ann had used her natural gifts of prayerful wisdom, insight, listening, patience, and great generosity, in community, her teaching, and as Director of Laundry. She took what came her way. And when cancer came in 1999, she wrote her prayer poem: My Magnificat.

A Selection from My Magnificat by Sister Mary Ann Dice, written June 15, 1999-7/2/03
My soul proclaims the wonderous mysteries of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
He has watched over my life with tenderness and care;
behold I will praise him for his kindness and love.
 
His love has taken me step by step
throughout these sixty-four years
and blessed my life abundantly.
He blessed me with two wonderful
parents and a brother and sister. 

In the 2nd reading, Colossians, We read:

“As God’s Chosen ones…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…be thankful, teach one another with wisdom, with gratitude, in your hearts sing psalms, and spiritual songs to God.”

We’ve watched as Sister Mary Ann stitched her life experiences into a gift of beauty. (I’m reminded of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ advice: “Give beauty back to God.”) How did she do this? She tells us in her Magnificat of God’s continuing help:

He nurtured my vocation as a Benedictine and gave me the mount as my home.
He as blessed me with many monastic sisters and friends
to encourage me along the way in good times and difficult ones.
 
These past years in living with cancer and the treatment
have taught me many things especially the knowledge of the love and support
of community, friends, and family. May they all be blessed.
 

It is in our 3rd reading, in Matthew, that we see a summation of God’s presence throughout life…Sister Mary Ann’s life and our life. We, too, look back and see God is with us all the way.

She fondly remembers the children…

From My Magnificat by Sister Mary Ann

The little children each year in my
classroom have been wonderful
blessings and signs of his love for me.
 
May I bless the Lord
in all that I do
as the years progress
toward you and our eternal home.

Matthew continues: “Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke…my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

How would I describe Sister Mary Ann? As a Benedictine woman with deep, deep roots and wide, outstretched arms. In time–and now in eternity.

Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB in his To be a Pilgrim…describes “the unending ‘now’ of complete happiness. That vision will draw from us the response of surprise, wonder and joy which will be forever our prayer of praise. We are made for that.”