Monday, January 24, 2011
Sister Anthony Davis, OSBS, died at the age of 95. Fr. Gary and I traveled to Marty Indian Mission for her funeral. I worked with Sr. Anthony in Eagle Butte years ago. She was a gentle, happy person, and a woman of deep prayer. In her latest years of convalescence, the list of people she kept in her daily prayers was four pages long! I knew I was in good hands since I was included on that list. I was happy to share a few of my memories with her relatives and friends who gathered to remember and say their farewells.
Sr. Anthony was Chippewa, hailing from the Turtle Mountain reservation in North Dakota. Last year, Sr. Anthony celebrated her 75th anniversary of religious profession! She is the last founding member of the Oblate Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, an order specifically started for Native American women.
The community was organized by Fr. Sylvester, a Benedictine under the patronage of Saint Katherine Drexel. When I think of a Saint, it’s often a distant historical figure, but Sr. Anthony met and spoke with her.
When Mother Drexel visited the community, Sr. Anthony was working in the kitchen, very nervous about getting everything right. She got so busy with potatoes that she left the buns in the oven too long and they started burning. Though mortified, during those depression years the community didn’t have the luxury of much extra, so Sr. Anthony had to serve the bread as it was. Mother Drexel came from a wealthy Philadelphia family and was undoubtedly used to the finer things in life. But she ate what was offered, and commented “These are the best buns I’ve ever had”!
Fr. Gary worked in Marty for several years and recounted many memories.
The roads coming home were difficult, with large drifts blowing across the road; the snow that had earlier melted turning back to ice. But we just took it slow, and with the camaraderie, the hundred mile journey really took no time at all.