Sarah Anne Brennan, born on May 5, 1925 in Dublin, Ireland, was the fourth child and only daughter of Edward and Julia Brennan. Sarah had eight brothers: Daniel, Michael, Edward, Anthony, Sean, Patrick and William. She was educated in Dublin at St. Paul Arran Quay Elementary School and Christ the King Secondary School. In 1946, Sarah was deeply saddened at the sudden death of her loving father. For four years, Sarah worked as a children's nurse. In 1950, she became a postulant with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Sarah Anne Brennan received the religious habit and was given the name Sister Mary Anne. Her religious training continued for two years at St. Michael's Novitiate in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. On March 19, 1954, Sister Anne Brennan pronounced her Final Vows.
After her First Profession, Sister Anne was assigned to teach in parochial schools in New Jersey. From 1954 to 1975, Sister Anne taught students in Fords, Fairlawn, Rockleigh, Northvale and Whippany. She was regarded as an outstanding teacher in every school. After 20 years in education, Sister Anne turned to health care. She served as a trained nurse aide at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck and Valley Hospital in Westwood, NJ. In 1981, Sister Anne returned to parish ministry. At St. Rose of Lima Church, she taught primary grades, served as sacristan and trained the altar servers. Sister Anne always maintained a high energy level. On weekends she volunteered her services to St. Michael's Villa, Englewood Cliffs, and Villa Marie Claire, Saddle River. She retired from teaching in 2004, but continued to serve at St. Rose's until 2009. At age 84, Sister Anne was moved to the infirmary at St. Michael's Villa. As her strength weakened and her body started to wear out, her condition became serious.
Sister Anne Brennan died on February 23, 2015. Her funeral mass was offered in St. Michael Villa chapel by Monsignor William McCarthy, former pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church. She was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, North Arlington, NJ. Sister Anne was predeceased by seven brothers. She was survived by her brother Bernard Brennan in Dublin, Ireland, her grandnephew Richard Brennan in New York and several nieces and nephews.
"We are consciously choosing to shape the future rather than allowing the future to shape us."
Sheila Lemieux, CSJP