She was born in Fall River, Massachusetts on January 23rd, 1917 to Irene (Moffitt) Powers and Ambrose A. Powers. She had one sister, Eustelle and one brother, Ambrose; both have pre-deceased her.
From 1931-1934, Mary attended B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, MA. She entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate located in Maryknoll, New York on September 7th, 1942. At her Reception she received the religious name, Sister Mary Ambrose Irene. She made her First Profession of Vows on March 7th, 1945 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY and her Final Vows on March 7th, 1948, also at the Sisters Center.
In 1944, Sister Mary began her studies at Maryknoll Teachers College (located on the property of the Sisters Center) and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1948. After graduating, she received her first teaching position at St. Anthony’s School in the Bronx, N.Y, where she taught 7th grade.
In 1949, she was assigned to Hawaii to teach Grades 7 and 8 in Kalihi – Kai, Punahou and Wailuku until 1967. From 1968-1970, Sister Mary served as Principal of St. Anthony’s Elementary School and Coordinator of the St. Anthony Convent in Kalihi-Kai. In 1971, she was appointed Principal at St. John the Baptist School in Honolulu, where she served for 5 years before returning to the Sisters Center in Maryknoll, NY. She remained at the Sisters Center for Congregational Service from 1976-1981; during these years she worked in the Treasury Department and served as Supervisor of Direct Mail in the Development Department.
In 1982, she returned to Hawaii once again to serve as Regional Planning Coordinator and Guidance Counselor at Maryknoll High School in Honolulu until 1984. Sister Mary then became involved in community service and served as Project Director of RESPECT (an Interfaith Volunteer Program serving the elderly) until 1996.
She retired in Honolulu in 1997, but remained an active volunteer in the community. In 2009, Sister Mary returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY.
A Vespers service will be held for Sister Mary on Tuesday, November 26 at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.
A funeral Mass will follow on Wednesday, November 27, at 11:00 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Center.
Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.