Sister Anne Reusch
Current Ministry Location – Hong Kong, China, Macau
Anne Reusch was born March 8, 1932 in Providence, RI to Agnes (Magner) Reusch and Walter Reusch. She had one brother, Peter. Anne graduated from St. Xavier Academy, Prince Edward Island in 1950.
Anne Reusch entered the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation on September 6, 1950 at the Sisters Center in NY. She pronounced First Vows March 7, 1953 at the Center and Final Vows March 7, 1959 in Hong Kong.
On receiving a B.S.in Education from Maryknoll Teachers College in 1956, Sister Anne was assigned to Hong Kong. After teaching there at the primary level for four years, she became involved, in 1960, in the women’s catechumenate at St. Teresa’s parish in Kowloon Tong. During this time Hong Kong was trying to house and educate thousands of people who had fled legally or illegally rather than live under the Communist government in Mainland China. It was during these years that the Church in Hong Kong grew and a vibrant, dedicated laity emerged.
In 1966 Sister Anne spent a year at the Divine Word International Center for Religious Education in London, Ontario, Canada and received a Diploma in Catechetical and Pastoral Formation in 1967.
Returning to Hong Kong she did pastoral work with two Maryknoll Sisters and the Maryknoll Fathers in Kowloon Tsai, a squatter area with thousands of people living in wooden shacks up and down the hillsides.
She also worked eighteen months in the Kai Tak East Vietnamese Refugee Centers, run by Caritas, and became the educational coordinator. It was one of the ten refugee camps set up in Hong Kong for the Vietnamese boat people who were arriving by the hundreds each week. To Hong Kong’s lasting credit no one was turned away from their shores. Many of the Vietnamese refugees were ethnic Chinese who had been in Vietnam for several generations so language was not a huge problem. There were Vietnamese Sisters in Hong Kong who could help the Vietnamese people who did not speak Chinese. Each camp set up some form of “school,” to provide classes in the evenings for adults and there were many volunteers who came to help. While she was involved in this camp in 1986, Sister Anne received word that her mother was seriously ill and she returned to the U.S.
For nine years she worked in New York City and went to RI to be with her mother almost every weekend. During this time she taught English language skills to new adult immigrants in Chinatown, NY. She also taught for a year at a center in mid-Manhattan for Russian religious refugees, Jewish people who came to the U.S. via Italy just before the breakup of the USSR.
In 1991, Sister Ann received her M.A. in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) from Hunter College, NYC and returned to Hong Kong.
With a Cantonese refresher, Sister Ann started to teach English in Guangzhou, China in 1992 at a technical university for one year and then transferred to the Guangzhou Normal College where she spent eight very happy years.
In southern Guangdong province Sister Ann also spent six and a half happy years at Zhanjiang Normal University, a second level university with a student enrollment of sixteen thousand all living on campus. In 2006, out of a faculty of some six hundred members Sister Anne was chosen as one of the school’s top ten teachers to receive the Excellent Teachers Award.
She says, “I think all of the hundreds of students from the countryside that I interacted with over the years were the first in their families to finish high school and earn a place in a university. It was very heartening to know that the families sacrificed as much for their daughters as they did for their sons. One of the most impressive things I experienced in my sixteen years in Mainland China was going with groups of students to the HD (Hansen’s disease) villages. These trips were completely organized by the students who connected via the internet and groups of twenty to twenty-five went to the villages for one or two weeks during the semester breaks as well as shorter weekend stays.”
Sister Anne is now in her next career! She is teaching in a Macau diocesan secondary school and is doing well.