Sister Ann Catherine Klaus M.M., Maryknoll Sister for 73 Years Dies

Maryknoll, NY: Sister Ann Catherine Klaus, M.M. died on August 4th, 2021 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. She was born on August 1st, 1928 in Marion, OH to Frank Klaus and Louise (Risch) Klaus. She had one brother, Francis and two sisters, Patricia and Barbara Rose. Her brother and sister, Patricia survive her.

In 1946, Ann graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Marion, OH. She then entered the Maryknoll Sisters in Valley Park, MO (from St. Mary’s Parish, Marion, OH, Diocese of Columbus) on October 31st, 1947. She made her First Profession of Vows on May 8th, 1950 in Valley Park, MO and her Final Profession of Vows on May 8th, 1953, in Tanganyika, East Africa.

From 1950-1951, Sister Ann attended Maryknoll Teachers College in Maryknoll, NY. She then received her first assignment to Kowak, Tanganyika in East Africa. There, she studied Kiswahili for nine months and sewed all new habits for the Maryknoll Sisters when they switched their colors from grey to white. In 1954, she was assigned to Nyegina to take charge of the primary school. In 1958, she returned to Kowak for one year to teach and prepare young women aspiring to join the community of the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa. She then moved to Makoko-Musoma to teach religion and domestic science until 1961. That same year, she returned to Maryknoll, NY to finish her Bachelor of Education Degree at Rogers College.

In 1962, Sister Ann returned to Shinyanga in Tanganyika to teach. It was at that time that the new government of the United Republic of Tanzania was established (1964). Sister Ann honored the government’s request for Maryknoll Sisters to teach in secondary schools, relocating her to all girls’ secondary schools in Buhangiya in 1965 and in Mwamapalala in 1970.

In 1972, she relocated to Maswa and began moving to mission outstations, shifting her focus on leadership training for women and basic skills of cooking and sewing to improve their daily lives. She extended her ministry to Mwamapalala for pastoral ministry and continued to promote development and leadership training of village women. During this time, Sister Ann also wrote a cookbook in Swahili and later utilized it in her campaign to create solar ovens for the community in an effort to save trees from being cut down for charcoal.

In 1975, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY where she worked in the Congregation’s Development Department and Mailroom until 1977. After a few years, in 1979 Sister Ann returned to Bariadi, Tanzania to do parish work and women’s development. In 1983, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY for renewal and worked as a Secretary in the Center Health Unit until 1986.

From 1987-1989, Sister Ann volunteered to go to Somalia to work in a refugee camp for Ethiopians under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Somali Health Department. In 1991, she returned to Tanzania working for one year in Sengerema where she taught pastoral courses to kindergarten teachers. The following year she served in Nairobi, Kenya at the Maryknoll Sisters World Section House until 1995.

For the next eight years from 1995-2003, she spent her time in Kalebejo, Tanzania assisting other Maryknoll Sisters with the VEMA Program-a Kiswahili word meaning “complete well-being”. This program included forty-seven outstations for basic education: teaching health practices, cooking, sewing and income-generation handicraft projects for the women. She then relocated to Mwanza, Tanzania from 2004-2010 to help HIV/AIDS patients, making visits to hospitals and assisting orphans and children in need with finishing school.

In 2012, Sister Ann returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY where she fully retired.

Funeral Services: A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Sister Ann on Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 in the Annunciation Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, NY. Burial will immediately follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery.