Sr. Mary Anita (Irene) Niemiec, CSSF, of Detroit, Michigan, age 102, religious 81 years, entered eternal life on July 8, 2023, at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent in Livonia, Michigan. Born on November 2, 1920, and Baptized at St. Stanislaus Church, Detroit, she was the second of three girls, including Lottie and Clara, born to Andrew and Dominica (Surowiak) Niemiec. She completed her elementary education at Our Lady Queen of Apostles Grade School and graduated from St. Ladislaus High School, both in Hamtramck.
After graduation, answering God’s gentle call, she entered the Felician Congregation on August 11, 1939, and received the name Sister Mary Anita. Final Profession of Vows was in 1947.
Sister Mary Anita earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Madonna (College) University in Livonia and a Master of Arts from the University of Detroit in Business and Social Studies. With Michigan State Secondary Certification, Sister embarked on a ministry of teaching that spanned 63 years at Sacred Heart, St. Hyacinth, Our Lady Help of Christians, St. Louis, St. Casimir, St. Andrew, Patronage of St. Joseph, and St. Stanislaus Schools, all in Detroit; St. Stanislaus, Bay City; St. Adalbert, South Bend, Indiana; St. Mary, Alpena; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Wyandotte; and St. Florian and Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Hamtramck.
From 1975 to 2001, Sister Anita served as principal at Our Lady Help of Christians, Detroit, St. Florian High School, Hamtramck; St. Valentine, Redford; and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Wyandotte. Sister also served as Assistant Principal and Director of Student Activities at Ladywood High School, Livonia.
A warm, vibrant person with a sparkle in her eyes, Sister’s presence was a blessing and a joy to all. She loved teaching, and her main subjects were Religion, Business, Commercial Drafting, Economics, Social Studies and Government. While serving as principal at St. Florian High School, Sister had the important task of coordinating the transition of students from St. Ladislaus High School when St. Lads closed.
In 2005, Sister Anita retired to Presentation Convent, Livonia, yet continued to perform a variety of duties as Sacristan, Portress, and Hospitality Aide. With increasing health concerns, a permanent transfer to the infirmary of Blessed Angela Convent took place in August of 2015.
Sister cherished a deep love of the Eucharist and devotion to Mary. She would spend hours in the chapel reciting the Rosary for the needs of the Congregation and the special intentions of the sisters. When her vision and hearing were greatly impaired, her devotion to the Mass never wavered and her voice could often be heard above the others in the liturgical responses.
Following a 100th birthday gala in 2020, Sister’s health began to waver and weaken. However, she still maintained contact with the sisters by joining them for meals in the dining room, Bingo, and other recreational activities. In the evening hours of June 8, 2023, after enjoying some ice cream, the healthcare staff prepared her for bed. Around 9:30 p.m., facing the large crucifix on her bedroom wall, Sister cried out: “God, please take me home!” Then at 10:05 p.m., the Lord answered her final prayer. She peacefully breathed her last and journeyed to meet Him whom she served for 102 years, 81 as a religious.
Sister Mary Anita is survived by nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.
The Morning Prayer Service began on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. Very Reverend Canon Walter Ptak, assisted by Rev. Gary Michalik, celebrated the Mass of Resurrection at 11:00 a.m. in the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Convent Chapel, Livonia, Michigan. Rev. Stanley Pachla and Rev. John Phalen were in attendance. Burial was in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, Michigan.
Obituaries for clergy and religious who have lived or served in the Archdiocese of Detroit may be emailed to [email protected]. Obituaries are printed as they are submitted, but may be edited for grammar and style. Detroit Catholic reserves the right to refuse or edit any submissions.