SISTER MARY ANITA
BELMONT - Sister Mary Anita died Thursday, November 15, at Marian Center at Sacred Heart Convent in Belmont following a valiant struggle with stomach cancer. Sister Anita, the youngest daughter of Catherine Came and William Anthony Sheerin, was born on February 10, 1931 in Philadelphia, Pa. She graduated from Little Flower Catholic High School and soon after she came south to Belmont N.C. to enter the Sisters of Mercy.
Sister Anita was dedicated to the education of young people and throughout most of her 62 years as a Sister of Mercy she ministered in the elementary education field. In preparation for this work she earned a bachelor's degree in social studies at Belmont Abbey College, a master's in education administration at UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. and a master's in religious studies from Fordham University.
Sister Anita's experience in elementary education was extensive. Her teaching career took her to many cities throughout North Carolina, New York and Florida. She taught at St Mary's School, Wilmington; St Michael School, Gastonia; St Patrick School, Charlotte; Sacred Heart School, Salisbury; St Eugene School (now Asheville Catholic School); Sacred Heart School, Cutchogue, N.Y.; and Sacred Heart School, New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She also served as principal of the schools in Charlotte, Gastonia, New York and Florida.
Sister eventually broadened her interest in administration, left the education field and assumed the role of pastoral administrator at St Francis Catholic Church in Mocksville, N.C. In this capacity she was responsible for the daily operation of the parish and worked jointly with a visiting pastor. A part of this ministry was visitation of the sick and homebound and Sister Anita fell in love with this ministry and wished to pursue it full-time. She returned to Asheville as a chaplain at Mission/St Joseph Hospital. In the hope of expanding her ministry even further she assumed the position of pastoral associate at St Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville. There she served as Director of Volunteers, visitor of homebound and hospitalized and was involved in various advocacy activities including Pro-Life, Crop Walk and the needs of the homeless. During this time she was involved in the Cursillo Movement and also served as the Asheville area Director of Mercy Association, a group of lay women and men who witness to mercy in their everyday lives.
Sister Anita's health began to fail in 2011 which necessitated her retirement to Sacred Heart Convent. Being noted for her love of people and her ability to make everyone feel welcomed and cared for, Sister quickly became involved in small volunteer jobs and engaged readily in activities for the retired Sisters. She was once quoted as having said, "My main goal is to give everything I've got every day" and she did that till the end of her life.
In addition to the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Anita is survived by her sisters, Margaret Rooney of Philadelphia, Catherine McDonnell of Morristown, Pa.; and thirty-five nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents; brothers, Father John Sheerin and Joseph Sheerin; and a sister, Sister Agnes Sheerin, CDS.
The wake service will take place Sunday, November 18 at 7 p.m., Sacred Heart Convent, Belmont. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, November 19 at 10 a.m. in Cardinal Gibbons Memorial Chapel, Sacred Heart Convent. Burial will follow at Belmont Abbey Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Sisters of Mercy, 100 Mercy Drive, Belmont, NC 28012-4805.
Online condolences may be made at: www.carothersfuneralhomegastonia.com
Carothers Funeral Home, Gastonia is serving the Sherrin family.