Sister Anne Marie Kozakewich, a Sister Servant of Mary Immaculate, passed away at Bethany Home, Winnipeg, MB on 29 March 2020. She recently celebrated her 100th birthday and gave 79 years to religious life.
Born – 29 December 1919
Entered – 26 May 1941
Clothing Day – 26 November 1941
First Vows – 27 November 1943
Final Vows – 15 August 1950
Anne Kozakewich was born on December 29, 1919, in Parkerview, SK, daughter of Theodore (Fred) Kozakewich and Eudoxia (Dora), nee Kohuch. She had two brothers and four sisters.
Anne entered the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in Mundare, AB, on May 26, 1941, and was admitted to the novitiate November 26 of that year, taking the name Sister Euphemia. She made her first Profession of Vows on November 27, 1943 and Final Profession on August 15, 1950, in Ancaster, ON. In 1971, she changed her name to Sister Anne Marie.
Of her 79 years as a Sister Servant, about 50 years were spent sewing vestments for clergy at all levels of orders, as well as for other liturgical needs: altar linens, shrouds, banners, etc. Sister Anne Marie was well-known for her skill among the Ukrainian Catholic clergy, as well as those of other rites: Roman, Melkite, Coptic. Orders were filled for clergy throughout Canada and the USA, but also as far as Ukraine, Egypt and Australia.
Sister also shared her skill with younger generations of Sisters. In the 1960’s, she taught novices how to make habits, in Ancaster. Later, she taught vestment sewing in Toronto, and when Ukraine rose from the underground, she was sent to teach in Lviv in 1992, and Krystynopil (Chervonohrad) in 1994. Several of those whom Sister taught in Ukraine were able to come to Toronto, to study with her there. They are now heading vestment departments in their home Province. In 1992, at the end of her four-month stay, she also went to Kyiv, to sew curtains for the Nunciature.
Like Blessed Josaphata, who was known to create and adapt patterns for habits and vestments, Sister Anne Marie also was an innovative designer. Her crowning achievement was the eight-segmented collapsible bishop’s mitre, used by many Ukrainian Catholic bishops and other Byzantine bishops today. She was also honoured to make an episcopal mantle for His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, during his Patriarchal Visitation in 2014. Her skill was recognized in wider circles; in 2013, she was invited to display sample vestment sets in “Sacred Stitches”, a multi-faith exhibit of ecclesiastical embroideries and textile art, hosted by the Anglican Church in Toronto.
Throughout almost 80 years of religious life, Sister Anne Marie spent 40 of these years in Toronto. She also served her religious community, church and people in other missions in Canada: Mundare, Komarno, Ituna, Oshawa, Ancaster, Montreal, Saskatoon, Regina, Yorkton and Winnipeg; and in the USA: Philadelphia. Besides her ministry of liturgical arts, she had also been prefect of orphans, in orphanages run by the Community in Mundare and Ituna, and prefect of girls at Sacred Heart Academy in Yorkton. Sister also taught Ukrainian School and catechism in parishes, summer camps, summer catechisms, and even by correspondence. She was also assigned to kitchen duty, as a laundress and as sacristan, in various homes, and was local superior in Regina.
Her years of catechesis out-numbered even her years as a seamstress. She prepared countless children for First Holy Communion, even privately in her last active mission home before her brief retirement. Sharing the love of God with others was of primary concern for Sister Anne Marie. Her summer catechetical ministry was carried out in Komarno, Ituna, Oshawa, Montreal, Buffalo, Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Toronto, Saskatoon, Regina, various rural centers in Saskatchewan, and Transcona. She also catechized at Camp Wabamun, near Edmonton, and Camp Chaban at Madge Lake, SK. These were all over and above the year-round catechism she taught at the various parishes in her places of mission.
She took her own spiritual growth very seriously, participating in annual retreats, often personally directed, and sharing insights of her prayer with Sisters, and with others who needed uplifting. She had the opportunity to take a course in Theology in Ottawa for a year, and made a 40-day Ignatian retreat in 1981, renewing this experience with the 19th Annotation, over the course of the 1983-84 year. She often would attend charismatic conferences, and could often be heard singing praises alone to the Lord in chapel. Her deep love of God was freely shared on her pastoral visits o the ill and to the bereaved.
Sister Anne Marie had several opportunities to travel, for ministry and for pleasure. In 1961-62, she spent a year in Rome, taking studies in gold embroidery, which would enhance her vesting ministry. In 1984-85, she travelled with family to Lourdes and Rome. In 1988, she joined a tour group to Rome and Medjugorje, organized by Rev. Stefan Soroka (later Metropolitan of Philadelphia). And in 2001, she and her sister, Natalie Killnack, spent a week in Birmingham, Alabama, at the EWTN Communications Centre, the studio of Mother Angelica. Apart from these special trips, she also visited family in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Toronto, or would go on shopping trips to New York, with Sister Nathanael Preyma, for sewing supplies, and also visit our Sisters in Sloatsburg.
By her last decade of life, Sister Anne Marie gave over responsibility for the vestry department to Mrs. Anna Rotko, her assistant of some 30 years, but she still took active part in the ministry, according to her ability. She retired to Bethany Home, in Winnipeg, at age 98, and was still vibrant at the celebration of her 100th birthday, three months before her passing.
Sister Anne Marie was predeceased by her parents, brothers Nicholas and Michael, and sisters Theresa, Natalie, Paulette and Mary. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews with their families, including niece Sister Theresa Slota, SSMI, former Superior General. She will be deeply missed also by her Community, all the clergy she served for these many years, and all those she touched through her presence and ministry.
Special thank you to Dr. Shelley Pidsadney, her Care Givers at Bethany Home. A private service has been held. A Memorial Service will be held at a later date to honor her life.
Hear Sr. Anne Marie speak briefly on her vocation. Click on the bottom right of the screen to view in full screen.
May the memory of Sister Anne Marie be eternal – Вічна їй пам’ять!