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CANYON, TEX–Benedictine Sister Mary Hawkins, OSB (formerly Sister Augustine), longtime Prioress at St. Benedict Monastery and former prioress of St. Scholastica Monastery, passed away March 15 after a brief illness. She was 97 years old.

Sister Mary, who was born in Tulia, Tex. on Oct. 20, 1919, grew up in Hart and was a graduate of Shamrock High School. After graduation she worked as a secretary in the Pentagon.

Two years after converting to Catholicism, Sister Mary entered St. Scholastica Monastery, making her first vows on June 24, 1950.

Sister Mary received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio; and a Master Degree in English from Creighton University. She taught at schools in Subiaco and Fayetteville, Ark.; Moberly, Mo; and Nazareth, Tex.

In 1977, she began a four-year stint as a reference librarian at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) in Canyon. While in Canyon, Sister Mary tested the waters for founding a Dependent Priory in Texas.

In 1981, St. Scholastica Monastery elected Sister Mary as its Eighth Prioress for a term of four years.

In 1985, Sister Mary returned to Canyon, where she worked to establish a small Benedictine community and create a monastic presence in the Canyon area. She was appointed Prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery. In 1998 and 1999, her community built a permanent monastery on the rim of the upper reaches of Palo Duro Canyon.

According to her community, Sister Mary considered her Benedictine vocation as one of God’s greatest blessings in a life filled with God’s blessing.

Sister Mary was preceded in death by her parents; two sisters, Mildred and Loramack; and a brother, Gus. Survivors include three brothers, Willis A. Hawkins of Canyon, Dr. Theron C. Hawkins of Comfort and Robert L. Hawkins of Hart; numerous nieces, nephews, great-niece and great-nephews; and her Benedictine Community at St. Benedict Monastery, Canyon.

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Sister Elizabeth Rossi, OSB, 91, passed away October 24, 2017. She was born on April 16, 1926 to Paul Rossi and Jane DeSalvo Rossi and was given the name Grace Helen. She grew up on a farm in Center Ridge, AR with her five sisters and three brothers. Upon being received at St. Scholastica Convent June 24, 1944, she took the name Sister Mary Elizabeth Rossi. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, TX and a Master’s degree in Education at University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Sister Elizabeth spent 45 years teaching elementary school in St. Boniface School in Fort Smith, Archbishop O’Brien School in Russellville, St. Edward School in Little Rock, St. Joseph School in Fayetteville, and several other schools in Arkansas and Missouri. She served as the community’s subprioress from 1977-81. Upon moving back to the monastery, she became house coordinator for the Sisters before retiring to the Infirmary and then Chapel Ridge Health and Rehab. Sister Elizabeth is survived by a brother, Pete Rossi, and a sister, Bernadine Rossi Noll.

Preceding her in death are her parents; four sisters: Sister Mary Paul Rossi, Annie Rossi, Josie Rossi, and Madeline Rossi; and two brothers, Tony Rossi and Angelo Rossi. Her nieces and nephews served as pallbearers.

Vespers for the Dead were prayed on October 30, 2017 and her funeral Mass was celebrated October 31, 2017, with Father Les Farley presiding, followed by burial in the monastery cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to St. Scholastica Continuing Care Fund, P. O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913 Donate In Sr. Elizabeth Rossi’s Memory
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Sister Anne Michele Raley, OSB, of St. Scholastica Monastery, passed away on March 6, 2017. In her 66 years of religious life she was a teacher, monastery treasurer, secretary, bookkeeper, and a strong advocate for peace and social justice. Her passion for justice was nurtured through jobs in Friendship House, ACORN, St. Joseph’s Day Care Center, and Heifer, Inc. In retirement she served on the monastery social concerns committee, witnessed for peace each Sunday afternoon during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and sought justice for all God’s children, especially those marginalized by society.

She was born July 10, 1924 to Thomas and Anna Raley, growing up with three brothers and four sisters in Paragould, Ark. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1948, earned a business degree from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Tx. and taught for sixteen years at St. Scholastica Academy; St. Edward School, Little Rock; St. Mary School, Barling; and St. Vincent School, Rogers. After serving five years as her community treasurer, Sister Anne Michele began a thirty-year career as a secretary in bookkeeper in Chicago, Kansas City, and Little Rock. From 1978-98, she worked at St. Joseph’s Day Care Center in North Little Rock.

In addition to her social justice work, Sister Anne served the community in retirement as a receptionist and mail clerk. In the last four months of her life she lived at Chapel Ridge Nursing Home in Fort Smith. At her sixtieth jubilee Sister Anne Michele said, “I have been blessed and challenged to a greater awareness of God and my calling to be of service,” and was fired by that passion for more than ninety years.

Sister Anne Michele is survived by three brothers: James John, Paragould, AR; Joseph Ronald, Tularosa, NM; and Howard Thomas, Atlanta, GA. Preceding her in death are her parents; and four sisters: Pauline Raley, Anna Loretta Raley, Francine Raley Hayden, and Virginia Raley Mullins.

Vespers for the Dead were held March 12, 2017 in the Monastery Chapel. The funeral Mass was celebrated March 13, 2017 with Fr. Les Farley presiding, followed by burial in the monastery cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Scholastica Continuing Care Fund, P. O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913.Donate In Sr. Anne Michele Raley’s Memory
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