Anna Mae Marheineke, RSCJ

Birth: Dec. 27, 1917
Profession: August 5, 1944
Death: August 14, 2013

Religious of the Sacred Heart Anna Mae Marheineke, educator and contemplative, died peacefully on Wednesday, August 14, the eve of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Oakwood, the Society of the Sacred Heart retirement center in Atherton, California. Her long life of ministry in education will be celebrated in a Mass of Christian Burial at Oakwood on Saturday, August 24 at 10:00 AM. She will be buried at Oakwood. A Memorial Mass is scheduled for 10:00 AM Saturday, September 14 at the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne, 619 N 2nd St., St Charles. She will also be remembered during the Alumni Liturgy at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, Grand Coteau, Saturday, October 19 at 11:00 AM.

Anna Mae Marheineke was born December 27, 1917 in St. Charles, Missouri, the oldest of eight children of Genevieve Kaemmerlen and Joseph Francis Marheineke. From her mother, Anna Mae learned “music, faith, and love for the Church.” She entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1936, made her first vows in 1939, and made her final vows in 1944. She was preceded in death by her parents and four of her siblings: Kathleen Marheineke, RSCJ, Jack Marheineke; Mary Duchesne (Mrs. Wm. P.) Kuhn and James Barat Marheineke. She is survived by her brother, Joseph F. Marheineke and sisters, June (Mrs. Elvis) Boettler and Sr. Genevieve Marheineke and numerous nieces and nephews. She will be missed by her Sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart, the staff of Oakwood, her final home, and legions of former students at Sacred Heart schools around the United States.

Wrote one former student and colleague, “The hundreds of souls she has touched send Mother Marheineke off with love and deep thanks, imagining what joy there will be as her beloved mother and father and sisters and brothers welcome her home. Thank you, dearest Mother. Thank you from the bottom of a heart overflowing with love for you.”

Sister Marheineke and her four sisters were day students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, St. Charles, from age five to sixteen. Following graduation there, Sister Marheineke attended Maryville College of the Sacred Heart for two years. During her second year there, the Vicar asked her if she was going to enter the Society. When she responded that she wasn’t sure, the Vicar replied, “Well, Kathleen (Anna Mae’s younger sister) is entering.” She recalled thinking, “I don’t want Kathleen to get there first!” so the two of them entered the novitiate at Kenwood in Albany, NY, together, on August 15, 1936. 

Kathleen and Anna Mae were separated for the first time when Kathleen was assigned to Villa Duchesne, St. Louis, and Anna Mae to Clifton Academy of the Sacred Heart, Cincinnati. Then in 1939, Anna Mae was moved to the Academy of the Sacred Heart (the Rosary) in New Orleans, where she was Surveillante of the Upper School and teacher of seventh and eighth grade students. After a second rotation between Clifton and the Rosary, she returned to Maryville College in St. Louis to complete her Bachelor’s degree and to teach religion to entering freshmen.

In 1945, after making her final profession, Sister Marheineke was assigned for the first time to her beloved alma mater, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. That one brief year was followed by three at Villa Duchesne, St. Louis. She spent two years teaching at Kenwood, in Albany, NY, 1949-51.

In 1951, Sister Marheineke arrived at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, where she happily stayed for fourteen years. An RSCJ who knew and loved Anna Mae during these years called her “a woman of prayer, and an outstanding teacher. The students adored her, and it was not a hero-worship kind of admiration. They valued her as a religious and as an educator.”

In 1965, Sister Marheineke returned to the Academy in St. Charles, to her great joy. It was here that she was to spend 40 years, the happiest years of her religious life, close to St. Philippine Duchesne, whose shrine is on the grounds of the Academy. She began her ministry teaching middle school and high school grades in the Academy, then, as retirement came on, she became a library assistant, Eucharistic minister and lector at the parish church and worked in the alumnae office. She is remembered as a talented, innovative and caring teacher and a gifted poet. A collection of her poetry was published by the Academy's alumni association in 2005.

“Anna Mae has left an indelible mark on the hearts and lives of our family,” wrote one alumna. “Her life has touched so many with her grace, her brilliant soul, and her love.”

One of the great joys of Sister Marheineke’s long life came in 1988, when she accompanied a group of faculty members to Rome for the canonization of St. Philippine.

Sister Marheineke moved to Oakwood in 2005. She felt at home from the beginning, and while her final years included several periods of illness, she was a joyful presence.

Sister Marheineke earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Education from Maryville College, St. Louis.


Submitted by Ellen Kuebrich ... on

A life well-lived by a beautiful soul.

Submitted by Theresa click on

Will be greatly missed. I still miss my late night talks when I worked at Regis.

Submitted by Jody Hatch on

I will always remember the click, click of Mother Marheineke's rosary beads as she monitored our dorm in the evenings at Grand Coteau. "Lights out, girls", she'd whisper. For those of us so far away from home for nine months out of the year, she was a source of love, and calm, and security. And oh how she inspired us to love learning and to be creative! Everyone who knew Mother Marheineke was greatly and forever touched, and she will be missed by all. Lights out, Mother, and may you rest in peace.

Submitted by Nancy Hamilton on

How I remember those blue eyes that could snap or sparkle depending on our behaviour - and her perfect, ramrod straight posture - as she stood in front of us in study hall. Sometimes stern, always loving. What a force of nature!

Submitted by Lynn Long on

"Mother Marheineke", as she was known in the 60's, taught me English at Sacred Heart Academy in St. Charles, from the 60's until 1970, when I graduated high school from ASH. Everyone loved her. She inspired us all. It is rare to have a teacher who touched so many and who after 40 years is still surely in the memory of all her students- all touched by having known her. She was a blessed addition to this world.

Submitted by Cindie Parrott ... on

What a force! She was one of my greatest memories of Coteau. None of my other classmates can remember this but I specifically remember her saying to our class" my dear children, someday Water will be as valuable as Diamonds. I am grateful to Mother M for opening up my mind, spirit, soul and for teaching me how to conjugate a sentence.
She lives on through the many, many lives she touched...Gratitude and Peace

Submitted by Carie Covilli Brown on

I am truly sad over this news. She was the best teacher of life. She always asked "how observant are you"? That has carried with me over the years. The one of the best observations I've made is that I was lucky to have her as a teacher and part of my life. She embodied everything that Sacred Heart is rooted in. She was an amazing human being.

Submitted by Donna Casalone on

Sr. Marheineke was loved and admired by all. She has touched my life and I will never forget her. What an inspiration and a blessing she was to me and my family! I am truly grateful for her fine example and faith, her friendship and love that she shared with me. Thank you, Sr. Marheineke. You have made a difference in this world through the lives that you have touched. Her spirit and beautiful soul will live on in our hearts forever. With Love and Gratitude....Peace Be with YOU.

Submitted by Ce Neill on

I remember you helping my son in the library. Although he only attended classes from Primary thru 3rd grade, we do have fond memories. God has welcomed his newest angel.

Submitted by Amy G. Haake on

For me there was always a connection with Mother Marheineke that went beyond the classroom - and I'm not just referring to the famous "grand tour" of Europe in 1970. Nor was it the numerous times I'd see her between school years when I'd be sent with summer's bumper crops of produce from the family farm. Oh, how she would exclaim over the zinnias which she said reminded her of her grandfather's garden. But there was something else and as a student I never could quite put my finger on it and simply attributed it to a sense of being one of her favorite, adoring students. After all, didn't we all vie for her attention and approval?

I knew of my maternal grandmother's connection with the Marheineke family - as seamstress, but never appreciated the affection that Mother M. held for her. That was, until going through my mother's things after her death last October and I came upon cards from Anna Mae. In one she writes: "I am deeply grateful to God for his having let me spend those last precious moments of your mother's earthly life with you. Heaven was very close that night...Nobody can replace one's mother...god bless and comfort you, my dear"

To both my mothers - so much, much love - nobody will replace you in my heart.

Submitted by Kathleen Britt ... on

I am very sorry I never had Mother Anna Marie Marheineke at City House, and surely wish I had met her. Perhaps if she had taught me in the Preps, my English would have been far advanced and ready for her sister Genevieve,
Wonderful times were experienced with Mother Genevieve Marheineke at City House in St. Louis. She was my freshman English teacher and I lover her very much. She was very friendly and actually liked my writing. I still can't believe it.
Also, I remember a test question she gave while we were studying David Copperfield. This particular question determined if we had actually READ the material, which I had. Peggoty was memorable because her buttons kept popping off the back of her dress. Therefore, she was overweight. I got the question right.
Since graduating from City House in 1961, I have actually visited with her down here in Houston. She was living at a beautiful convent whose name I don't recall.
Sister Kathleen was memorable because of the clack of her "wooden clacker", used to suggest silence among us. Sometimes the clack really never completed, remaining in the position to make noise but more like a "sliding" clack. Is this a correct term? She was usually stationed at the front left of the Assembly Room, very visible. She did her job.
Finally, I notice Sister Anne Marie's middle name was Barat, the last name of St. Madeline Sophie Barat. Barat Hall was an all boy's school, K-8th, right down the black top from City House. My brothers all attended Barat Hall whose principal was the much beloved Mr. Sylvester Kuntz. There was nothing like a Sacred Heart education. Thanks to all from City House, Barat Hall, and all the Sacred Heart schools.
Kathleen Britt Beetar

Submitted by Dan Stahlschmidt on

From '1100 Words You Need to Know' to reciting memorized poems each week to your Little Red House, Sr. Marheineke you were an integral part of developing so many ASH alumnae. You demanded so much out of your strive for perfection, to observe our surroundings, to breakdown sentence structure properly. More importantly you had a kind, warm heart that was willing to listen and point us in the right direction. Thank for being a role model, friend, and inspiration to so many.

Submitted by Kathleen Parvis on

Growing up as a child, I knew there was something different about how I saw words. I struggled reading out loud in a class settings because I could not read what was there. What I did not know at the time was that I was dyslexic. My mother knew I had it but did not want me to use a diagnosis as a crutch but rather work through it to be stronger. She knew I was a bright child and that I just learned differently. My way of dealing with it was faking I could read by memorizing or not volunteering to read out loud. But this was not the best way to overcome dyslexia because you need to practice more in stead of less to improve and/or over come the struggle.

In 8th grade, I had Sr. Marheineke and what a tough teacher she was. You dreaded her because she expected so much and yet loved her for her belief that we should expect more of ourselves. It was through her dedication that I faced my biggest challenge in life head on. She and I knew I struggled and I talked with her about it. She volunteered her free time to work with me outside of class to improve and conquer my biggest challenge of my life. We worked together on this throughout the year. She gave me confidence and encouragement to challenge myself in big time situations and practice, practice, practice to get it right and be “Sacred Heart” prepared for life.

I owe so much to her for not just what she taught in class but what she taught me about life. Life is not always easy. Sr. Marheineke firmly believed that if you are confident in your self, are well prepared and are keenly aware and observant about the world around you that you will succeed in life.

But in that success, you need to always remember others who need help. That little red house to me is a symbol of not only to give money to those who need it but also to give opportunities and time to those who need it as well. Thank you Sister Marheineke for teaching me how to live a fulfilled, creative life with your love, support and dedication.

Submitted by Mark Whealen on

I deeply admired and loved you Mother Marheineke. In all the years I worked in St. Charles you never waivered in your kindness and patience to myself and to all who knew you. It was always Mother Griesedieck, Mother FitzWilliam and especially Mother Marheineke. Yesterday I was at Calvary cemetery in St. Louis and I stopped at the RSCJ plot and I said a little prayer for all these women that I knew, especially for your sister Kathleen. God grant to me that I never forget you Mother Marheineke. So on behalf myself and all the Messner family of James, Louis, Gertrude, Tony and Betty, Rest in Peace.

Submitted by Jackie Reuber Bueg on

Sr. Marheineke was a strong woman. She expected much of each of us, but "not more than you are capable." Of all the teachers who have touched my life in so many different ways, none touched so many facets of my life all at once. I still hear parts of the first day speach of our 7th grade english lit class. I wish that it was recorded, written down, as it was timeless. She was timeless.

Submitted by Mark Whealen on

One more thing Mother Marheineke and I know that somehow you know this. I remember how you used to sit on the patio behind Regis Hall in the afternoon and pray and write poetry and watch the birds in you favorite old rocking chair. When you moved in 2005 to California the rocking chair was stored over by the Old Gym. At a garage sale the following year it was offered for sale and Sr. Cotto sold it to me. I still have that rocking chair. For a time it was at Old St. Ferdinand Shrine and when I left it went with me to my new home. I will never willingly part with it and will cherish it as long as live.

Submitted by Connie Schneider on

The saying 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou · Sister Marheineke, who always greeted me with a beautiful smile, made me feel loved and accepted. She exemplified God's purpose for us here on earth. We are all the better for knowing her.

Submitted by Liz Thebeau Landon on

Sister Marheineke was my teacher in 1978 and 1979 when I was in 7th and 8th grades at ASH in St. Charles. No one, save my own parents, touched my life the way that she did over those few years. I still think of her almost daily. She pops in my head whenever I encounter bad grammar or punctuation, when the leaves on the trees start to change in the spring and the fall, whenever I notice something that no one else has, when I hear Robert Frost’s poems or Shakespeare’s plays, when I try to speak French, when I contemplate my own children’s education, and whenever I doubt my abilities. Both the teacher and the poet are woven into me. There are few things I am more grateful for than having known Anna Mae Marheineke. Her lessons go on, neither finished nor done, and I am grateful to know the difference! :-)

Submitted by Sean Kelly on

Lloyd my brother Hibernian - I didn't know we had a mutual friend in Sr. Marheineke! Thanks so much for sharing that story - it shows such a great aspect of her.

Submitted by Sean Kelly on

God favored me with Sr. Marheineke as my teacher the first year I went to Sacred Heart in St. Charles – back in the Autumn of 1983. What gifts she gave me. That November my Grandpa Kelly passed away, and that was my first close experience with death. I met T.J. James for the first time in her class, and she sat us next to each other closest to her desk on the south side of her room. We were both outsider-newcomers to our classmates and the Academy, and she had the wisdom and generosity to allow us that means of alliance. Sister must have known to keep rascals close to hand, Jesus and charity with the reminder of La Petite Boîte Rouge. T.J. and I have been friends for thirty years now.

We often frustrated her by meandering around to delay the start of her class, and disappointing her with our inobservance to the bulletin board postings outside her classroom she labored to share with us, but her reprimands were so kind that I never felt them personal. She could be firm or sensitive, but she never lost her temper with us.

Sister knew we 7th and 8th classers could handle Shakespeare, G.M. Hopkins, Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Sandburg and so many more. She taught us grammar, diagramming, and how to express ourselves with vocabulary and idioms from the book 1,100 Words You Should Know. She asked us to memorize the Our Father and Hail Mary in French, literary terms and poetry, and do public recitations. My collegiate English experience never even touched upon these things, other than assigned poetry reading.

Her enthusiasm and joy for each day God allows us, and for life-long learning never ceased. She came most alive when reading her favorite poems to us. I can still hear her voice so clearly today, reading poetry and lovingly giving personal advice. Sometimes, if I ask the question of her, I can still hear and know what her answer would be today.

Mother Marheineke wasn’t all about academics – our personal lives and imparting the faith were most important to her. She became one of my dearest friends in this life, and I now feel like she’s my best intercessor. I see from previous commentaries she was this for many, but she had that gift of making each person feel like the most important person in the world. Anna Mae was truly a tangible sign of God’s love for us in the here and now.

Sr. Marheineke is still with us all. She greets us every time the sun shines, and embraces us with her warmth. She was devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Mater Admirabilis, and us. What a loving spirit of generosity she was. Anna Mae has to be the best imitation of Christ I’ve ever known. I feel we owe it to her, to keep her gift of self alive and imitate it ourselves every day. If we allow ourselves to nurture her spirit it will expand and flourish like a beautifully cared for garden here on earth.