|Birth: ||Jul. 28, 1903|
|Death: ||Jun. 29, 1996|
Born on July 28, 1903 in Seneca, Kansas, Anne Loyola Madden was the eldest daughter of Mary Alice Rogers Madden and John Madden. Anne's father died three years before she graduated from St. Mary's Academy in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1922. Anne continued her studies at Duchesne College, where she graduated with an English major and a history minor in 1927. That next year, on September 8, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood where Gertrude Bodkin was Mistress of Novices. After two years in the novitiate, Anne made her first vows in March of 1931, and returned to Duchesne Academy where she was Surveillante and taught English, History, Latin and Religion until 1935.
Three things converged in her life in 1936: she finished her Master's degree in English at Creighton University; she made her Probation with Julia Datti at the Mother House in Rome; and she became Surveillante of Duchesne College. For the next 49 years, Anne would work at Duchesne College, Barat College, Menlo Park and Duchesne Academy having various job titles: teacher, freshman councillor, principal, assistant dean of students, secretary for alumnae. By the time Anne moved to Oakwood to retire in 1985, she had worked 25 years at Duchesne in Omaha, 25 years at Barat College and 4 years at Menlo Park.
It was probably Anne's humor that marks her most in people's memories. Anne was keenly adept at turning a phrase, at seeing more quickly than most the humor in a situation, at redeeming the mundane with her quick wit. In the former Chicago Province she was famous for something called "Maddenisms," namely those witty phrases that only she could utter, for example: "One of the nicest features of heaven will be not having to see other people's slide collections."
It often seems to be the case that people gifted with great wit have the gift on the other end of that spectrum: melancholia, and at times, depression. These were no strangers to Anne. Her self-image did not always match the wonderful image others held of her. And when Anne had her heart attack in the late 1970's, she struggled mightily with depression. Perhaps humor bends us to know more our humanness. Anne certainly knew hers.
Besides her humor, there were other facets to this woman from the heartland. Anne had a contemplative, meditative side to her. A prayerful woman, she counted deeply on her relationship with God. In her later years at Oakwood, people who came to visit her often found her in the chapel; she loved being there. Anne would have loved to have studied eastern religions and theology as they related to western mysticism. A voracious reader, Anne was nothing if not abreast of nearly every new important book published. One RSCJ heard it said, and believed it to be true, that Anne read one book a day. And in fact, as she got older, it was her eyesight that Anne was most worried about losing. What would she do without the gift of being able to read her books? They fed her mind and her conversations with others. "I'm reading the best book..." was one of her often-used opening lines.
She had a depth of compassion in her. One of her RSCJ sisters recalls being an aspirant when Anne was Mistress General. Anne was "always so personally loving and helpful, listening, and supportive. There were a couple of times when I had to go to Anne, in panic, and say, 'I am not ready with my class preparation. Could you help me?' And, sure enough -- life-saver that she was -- she took my class!"
Another alum and fellow RSCJ recalls that Anne was her Freshman class Dean at Barat. "Our class pushed to their limits the minutia of regulations that all Catholic colleges had at the time. Our rebelliousness certainly did not make Anne's first year on the Barat faculty easy. Years later Anne told me that during the summer [before that first year at Barat] her mother died and she was asked to leave Duchesne for Barat. That fall we students had no idea that Anne was grieving the death of her mother, the leave-taking from her beloved sister Irene, as well as from Duchesne. Anne later admitted to me that that year was very difficult for her, but she hid her deep sorrow, and we saw only her witty, buoyant side."
Anne's cousin, Vera Rodgers, had entered the Society eight months after Anne. Their relationship in the Society was a great gift to Anne, and she loved Vera very much. Vera died in 1955. Years later, when Anne spoke of Vera, one sensed that Anne still felt deeply that loss. So Anne had lost her father, her mother, and a close cousin by 1955. Her sister, Irene, was the family she had left, and their relationship grew stronger as the years passed. Perhaps it was the early loss of all but her only sister that gave Anne the endearing quality of inquiring about other people's family members. It is a simple fact that Anne Madden cared deeply about people. She felt a genuine connection with many, many people, and they with her. She was one of the RSCJ about whom alums always asked. As one former college student and RSCJ sister said: "We always knew that she was there for us and truly interested in each one, personally."
In these last years, Anne experienced a diminishment which was difficult for her. She had been a tall woman, and she had had responsible positions in the Society's schools. The last six years saw Anne physically shrinking and learning a new status: that of one dependent on others, a dependency which, doubtless, was hard for her to accept. Now, though, that diminishment has been transformed, as Anne entered the fullness of time and communion with our God on June 29, 1996.
Requiescat in pace!
Cor unum et anima una in Corde Jesu.
Convent of the Sacred Heart Cemetery
San Mateo County
Created by: Steven Keller
Record added: Feb 17, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105381982