News and Events
Sister Mary Olsen, CSJ
Sister Mary Olsen, CSJ
(Sr. Alberta Marie)
August 5, 1934 – July 9, 2022
We Remember Her
In the blueness of the skies
and in the warmth of summer.
Gentle Woman – Mary Olsen – Sister Alberta Marie. How fitting those words to describe the gentle soul whom we knew and loved. Mary Augusta Olsen was born in Everett, the only child of Albert and Ada Mary Olsen. As a graduate of Immaculate Conception School in Everett and Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Mary was well steeped in the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph, whom she joined in 1954, and with whom she lived sixty-eight years of dedicated service.
Mary’s early days of ministry were spent as the food service director in a number of our convents. After the second Vatican Council, as life in our convents changed, Mary moved into new ministries, beginning at Bethany Health Care Center. Ever willing to serve the dear neighbor, Mary became a nurse’s aide, physical therapy aide, and a clinical assistant. She was beloved by many because of her compassion and kindness. Mary – gentle woman!
Drawn to ministering to the sick, Mary moved into pastoral care at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Here, she spent many years comforting, praying, and being present to the patients. That beautiful smile of hers certainly must have brightened the hearts and lifted the spirits of those who experienced health setbacks. While working at St. E’s, Mary also volunteered her time at Tippett Home in Watertown, where she companioned those who were approaching the end of life and where she was recognized as dedicated, supportive, and valued. Mary – gentle woman!
Mary truly lived the directives of our Constitution. “Sharing in society’s struggle [for the values of justice, peace, freedom and human dignity] we challenge structures wherever they oppress or imprison people…” was a call to action for Mary. In protest of the manner in which employees were being treated, Mary resigned her position at one institution and wrote an eloquent letter to her supervisor, explaining her action. Calling the employees “sincerely good and dedicated workers”, Mary expressed her opinion that “compassion has been sacrificed in the name of expediency.” Mary – gentle woman!
In recent years, Mary spent her time in her beloved Bethany. Ever gracious and graced, she received visitors with a welcome smile and an offer of a chair, conversation, and some candy. She delighted in those who found time to sit with her. Of late, there were days when Mary, waiting to be with her God, was not responsive to the human voice or touch; however, the last time I visited her, I was delighted to have my presence warmly acknowledged by this gentle woman.
Mary, like your namesake, you have blessed all those who have had the good fortune to know you. You have blessed them with your genuine care, your graciousness, and your warmth. May you, in turn, be blessed by the loving God, whom you served so faithfully. Godspeed, Mary, Gentle Woman!
Given by Sister Judith Costello, CSJ – July 14, 2022