In loving memory…

Sister Rose Marie Canty, CSC

Sister Rose Marie Canty, CSC 

Memorial Mass:

Read the memories shared at Sister Rose Marie’s memorial Mass.

Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 10:45 a.m.
The memorial Mass was livestreamed.
View the video.

Funeral Arrangements:

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Church of Our Lady of Loretto
Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana

Prayers: 10 a.m.

Immediately followed by the Rite of Committal with Final Commendation, Our Lady of Peace Cemetery*

*Sister Rose Marie requested a green burial. Green burial is a way of caring for the dead with minimal environmental impact that aids in the conservation of natural resources, reduction of carbon emissions, protection of worker health, and the restoration and/or preservation of habitat. Green burial necessitates the use of non-toxic and biodegradable materials. A natural burial is the return of the body to the earth as simply as possible.

Sister Rose Marie Canty, CSC
(Sister Marie Pierre) 

August 7, 1925 – July 21, 2020 

Word has been received of the death of Sister Rose Marie Canty, CSC, who died at 4:55 p.m. on July 21, 2020, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Rose Marie entered the Congregation from Washington, D.C., on July 29, 1943. Her initial profession of vows took place on February 2, 1946.

Sister Rose Marie Canty was blessed by God with length of years. She died in the month before her 95th birthday. Sister had a variety of talents which she used extensively in over 74 years of consecrated life as a Sister of the Holy Cross. She was reared in a close Catholic family by her parents, Margaret (Creamer) and Owen F. Canty, and had four siblings: Kathleen, Mary Margaret, Frieda, and Owen. Rose Marie was born in the small town of Midland, in Western Maryland. Midland, which borders Pennsylvania and West Virginia, had been known for its coal mining and strip mining industry. Those who know her family find in them her same strong concern for the poor and for social justice.

When the family moved from Paradise, Maryland, to Washington, D.C., in 1936, Rose Marie entered grade six at St. Peter’s School, staffed by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, on Capitol Hill. After completing grade school, she attended another Holy Cross school, St. Patrick’s Academy in Washington, D.C., noted for its excellent business curriculum, and graduated in 1943.

Answering a call from God, she then entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana, and was given the name Sister Marie Pierre upon reception of the holy habit six months later. Following her initial profession of vows, she taught in the Congregation’s elementary and secondary schools in New York City, New York; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia. In the summers, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in business administration at Dunbarton College in Washington, D.C., and continued with post-graduate classes in accounting and financial management at reputable universities. She was a life-long learner, especially in areas of spiritual and personal development. Around 1968 she chose to reclaim her baptismal name in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.

From 1957 to 1989 Sister Rose Marie, in the second and longest phase of her ministerial life, served in various fiscal capacities involving leadership responsibilities. Among the positions she held were the following: Eastern Region treasurer and councilor for the Sisters of the Holy Cross; treasurer of Catholic Social Services, Columbus, Ohio; vice-president for finance, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame; and treasurer of Dunbarton College. She served on the boards of trustees for Dunbarton College and Cardinal Cushing College, Boston, Massachusetts. Her managerial and organizational skills, as well as her compassionate concern for others, made her well-suited for these leadership positions.

Sister Rose Marie valued prayer, both contemplative and group prayer. She was energized by the Second Vatican Council whose teachings and spirit she lived in her daily life. Building on her long-held appreciation for the writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, she had an evolutionary consciousness, looking forward to ultimate spiritual transformation of all in the cosmic Christ.

From 1990 to 2006, in the third phase of her active ministry, Sister Rose Marie addressed issues of systemic injustice, bolstered by her close friend, Sister Ellen Dolores Lynch, CSC, at the Quixote Center, a justice and peace ministry in College Park, Maryland. Involvement in direct work for justice and for the poor was a great joy for her. This period of advocacy occurred during her so-called retirement years until she was 81 years of age. This small and gentle woman did not fit the stereotype of nonviolent protesters often portrayed in the media, nor did the other Holy Cross sisters standing on the U.S. Capitol steps with her.

Sister Rose Marie moved to Saint Angela Hall, Kensington, Maryland, in 2006, where she was engaged in prayer and ministry to her community of women religious while remaining in close contact with family and friends. In January of 2014 she retired to Saint Mary’s Convent, where her devotion to prayer and thirst for justice continued along with frequent visits from her devoted family. Sister Rose Marie completed her journey to God, dying at Saint Mary’s Convent in the early evening of July 21, 2020, attended by her many Holy Cross sisters. The whole Earth is now the altar upon which she has laid down her life, a pure offering of love. Receive her, O God, as the sun rises in the eastern sky.

We invite you to donate to the Ministry with the Poor Fund in Sister’s name. 

—Written by Sister Grace Shonk, CSC