By Pauline Fields
To continue celebrating the Convent of Divine Providence and their 150 year anniversary in Texas, we introduce you to Sister Rose Ann Blair.
Sr. Rose Ann Blair’s story is a unique one. She has traveled all over the nation to provide service in the name of Providence.
Her story begins in South Burlington, Vermont, where she grew up on a dairy farm as the oldest girl of seven children. Her mother was a role model as she instilled the life of Providence at a young age. It was her mother who taught her the “four fundamentals of poverty, simplicity, charity, and abandonment.” Sr. Rose Ann Blair told tales of how she enjoyed her childhood even though it was simple. She was proud of her shoes that had a cardboard sole, and loved the days she would chase the cows with her siblings.
Sr. Rose Ann Blair always knew she was to answer to a bigger calling but she had a difficult time finding the right fit. “I always knew I wanted to be a sister but I didn’t know where to go and what to do,” Blair said. She attended college for one year to go on and join the Sisters of Mercy in Vermont. Unfortunately she only stayed a year in the Sisters of Mercy. Her calling was elsewhere and her faith did not coincide with the Convent.
She went on to live a normal life as she took on the job of being a nanny and found a man she planned to call her husband. But the tides turned and she found her place in Providence.
It was Sister Alma Marty that pushed Sr. Rose Ann Blair to join the CDPs. Sr. Marty was a close friend and companion. She knew Sr. Rose Ann Blair was to answer a calling. It took convincing, and a trip to San Antonio from Vermont, to lead Sr. Rose Ann Blair to Providence. At the age of 24, Ms. Rose Ann Blair had become a Sister of the CDPs.
Once she joined the CDPs, she was trained to teach. She taught elementary kids in Louisiana but found her way her to OLLU. She taught at St. Martin’s Hall and was deeply focused on her students. She became too focused and she disconnected from her true potential.
It wasn’t until she moved into Catechistic work that she felt Providence. Her work asked a lot of her including moving to less fortunate areas. One town that will always have a place in her heart is Sebastian in Santa Monica; a town that only had dirt roads but gave the most.
As a Sister there are many tasks that are to be performed, including burial ceremonies. In her time in Sebastian, Sr. Rose Ann Blair conducted several of these, but it was tough for her when it was a child.
She performed a ceremony for a child that had passed and her family that was devastated. The child’s grandfather built a casket that was covered in little pink material with a lid that had a little pink cushion on it. The father and mother were the ones to place their child in the grave and create a mound over her grave that would hold her headstone, a homemade wooden cross made by the grandfather. This burial stayed with Sr. Rose Ann Blair “for days and days.”
This experience brought her closer to Providence. She was meant to be in that little town to help family. “That’s my place,” claimed Sr. Rose Ann Blair. “I felt that it was my mission as a missionary.” It was the kind and selfless people in that town that inspired and proved to Sr. Rose Ann Blair that she was doing the right thing.
Sr. Rose Ann Blair continued her journey and traveled to other states to teach and perform work in the name of Providence. She returned here to OLLU to take things a little slower as her back surgeries prevent her from putting in 100 percent. With her time here, she plans to engage with the students. She is taking steps to slowly integrate with the OLLU students.