Obituary: Sister Martha Ann O’Brien
Sister of Mercy Martha Ann O’Brien (Sister Mary Alice), 89, of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community, Vermont, died at Burlington Health and Rehabilitation Center in Burlington on Oct. 2.
She was born in Burlington on Jan. 10, 1929, the daughter of Alice Anna (Powers) and Francis Robert O’Brien. She was educated at Sutton Elementary School in Shelburne and Mount St. Mary Academy in Burlington. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Trinity College and her master’s degree in counseling/guidance from the University of Vermont in Burlington and attended summer classes at Boston College.
She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1946 and was professed in 1948.
Sister O’Brien taught at St. Monica School and Marian High School in Barre and St. Mary School in Middlebury. She was principal at Mater Christi School and at St. Joseph School in Burlington. She received the National Catholic Educational Association award for Outstanding Principal of the Year for the Northeast Region of Vermont in 1988. She also worked in counseling at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington.
She was involved in outreach ministry to the elderly at St. Michael Parish in Brattleboro and at St. Joseph Parish in Burlington where she also became the director of Joseph’s House, which assists people in need. She also served on the Burlington Community Land Trust Board and the Mater Christi School Board.
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Louise (McKenzie) O’Brien, and numerous nieces and nephews from three generations as well as her Sisters in Religion, the Sisters of Mercy. She was predeceased by her parents, Alice Anna (Powers) and Francis Robert O’Brien; her brothers and their wives: John William O’Brien (Elizabeth McKenzie), William Powers O’Brien, George Gerard O’Brien (Helen Bennett McKenzie), James David O’Brien (Pauline Perreault), Robert Francis O’Brien (Mary Grace); her sisters and their husbands, Mary Alice O’Brien Jahntz (Will Jahntz) and Marjorie O’Brien Ernest (Frank Ernest); her sister, Sister of Mercy Helen O’Brien; as well as Mary Agnes O’Brien and Timothy Joseph O’Brien who died as infants.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 11 a.m. at Mount St. Mary Convent, 100 Mansfield Ave., Burlington. Visiting hours will be there from 5:30 to 8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy in support of their ministerial works, in care of the Local Coordinator, 100 Mansfield Ave., Burlington, VT 05401.