Sister Mary Mara 

Sister Mary Mara                   ND 5020                    PDF Download

Joyce Phillis Bennett

Immaculate Conception Province, USA

Date and Place of Birth:              September 2, 1938     Toledo, Ohio
Date and Place of Profession:    August 11, 1959           Toledo, Ohio
Date and Place of Death:            April 12, 2021              Toledo, Ohio

My whole life will forever reflect the greatness of the Lord.

Two days before her death, Sister Mary Mara requested that she be alone: “I want to be at peace, just Jesus and me,” she said. Throughout her life, she desired deeper intimacy with God. Thus, her life journey and her destination were one – ever directed toward her daily and final self-surrender to God.

Being an only child born to Harold and Sophie (Jakubowski) Bennett Joyce was particularly proud of her Polish heritage. She loved making Polish bread, knew a number of Polish expressions, and attended the Polish parish school of St. Hyacinth. Graduating from Notre Dame Academy in 1956, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in September and was invested in 1957.

Earning education degrees, she was well equipped for classroom teaching. Of her 46 years as a classroom teacher, she spent 32 years with 6th graders. 25 years were spent in ministry at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carmel, Indiana, where she loved the parishioners, the students, and her local community. She became an excellent teacher, well-respected by students and parents alike. She was especially talented in teaching composition and research skills. Students later in life would thank her for teaching them these useful skills.

After retiring from the classroom in 2005, Sister used her pleasant voice and interest in others to assist in the Development Office of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Daily she phoned benefactors thanking them for their donations, renewing friendships, and promising to pray for their intentions.

Sister suffered with cancer through the years and she was extremely diabetic. Being very faithful to her diet she recorded everything: what she ate, when she ate it, what her blood sugar count was, and when she gave herself each dose of insulin. Organization was another one of her strong characteristics.

Sister Mary Mara developed a beautiful devotion to our Blessed Mother. The Rosary and the Magnificat were powerful prayers which she recited faithfully. “My whole person lies open to God my Savior, expanding with grateful joy… Now is fulfilled the promise given to our father and to his children without end.”

May she rest in peace.