Sister Mary Alves, CSJ

Sister Mary Alves, CSJ

(Sr. Menric)

April 7, 1923 – October 8, 2022

We remember her

in the rustling of the leaves

and in the beauty of autumn.


Sister Mary Ann Alves (Sister Menric) was born April 7, 1923, to Joseph and Catherine McDermott Alves, and raised in St. Angela’s parish Mattapan with her brothers, Joseph, and George, and her sister, Catherine. In 1942, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph. She was missioned at Our Lady’s, Newton, St. Thomas, Jamaica Plain, Cathedral High, Boston, Matignon, North Cambridge, and Fontbonne Academy in Milton.

Her students described her as an excellent math teacher, one colleague saying, “She could teach math to a wall.” Always seeking ways to assist those who struggled, Sister Mary was creative about exploring new strategies and better learning techniques. Known to be strict in her classroom, Mary’s students loved her no less and tried to measure up to her high standards. At Matignon, her Academically Accelerated Homeroom, named their intramural team the “Supermen – ricks” after their beloved teacher. Cleverly, she wrote on the blackboard the word Laboratory and asked the class to focus on the first FIVE letters and not the last 5.

Her impact was so great that even just a few months ago, on “Find a Sister,” I received an inquiry from a former student asking about her well-being and describing her significance to this student’s life.

In 1973, while she was teaching at Fontbonne Academy, Sister Mary Ann’s younger sister Catherine died tragically, leaving thirteen young children. Mary was clear about her dedication and commitment to these children, who well into their adult years, she referred to as “my babies.” Every day, before school and after school, she would be at their home to do and be whatever and whoever was needed. Her nieces and nephews became involved several summers in the Children’s Theatre, held at Fontbonne Academy and “Auntie Sis” delighted in watching them perform on stage and at home.

Whatever she was about, Mary Ann embraced wholeheartedly. She was disciplined and took her commitments seriously. Her life of prayer and community was the cornerstone of her being, her teaching her passion, and her family — her joy. Her devotion to these pursuits, to her brothers, and to her sister whom she lost too young, was deep. For the riches God bestowed on her in her vocation, her community, her faith, her ministries, and her family, Mary lived with gratitude. She believed in living into the fullness of life here, as well as beyond, and she dedicated herself to saying “yes” to every invitation life offered.

Given by Betsy Conway, CSJ
October 14, 2022