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You Oughta Be in History, You’re a Unique Story
National Women’s History Month
by Sisters and Associates of the Sisters of the Holy Family

by Sister Marie Ann Brent, SHF

On January 5, 1953, I walked up the steps of “890” to begin a journey that, as of this date, has lasted 57 years.  Joined by four other young women, I began the Formation process leading to First Vows in 1954 in the Chapel in Mission San Jose.  I entered Holy Family with a desire to go out to our more rural Missions and my wish was granted when I was sent to San Antonio, Texas in 1960.  In spite of my struggle with the Spanish language, I spent two of the happiest years working in this Mission.  Working with the people of Good Counsel Parish and Missions prepared me to continue ministering back in California throughout the State.  In 1966 I left Parish Ministry to work for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in the Office of Religious Education.

Throughout my different experiences of ministry, one focus became evident to me: classes in Ecclesiology with Father Richard McBrien at USF helped to form a desire in me to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth, to build up the Body of Christ.  In 1970 I was asked to respond to the call to do summer ministry in Juneau, Alaska.  That six week experience has grown into a 39 year commitment to the people of Alaska, especially to those living in the most isolated villages and logging camps, and to the indigenous people of Alaska.  Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician III in 1979 provided me with one more wonderful tool with which to reach out to those who have slipped through the “cracks” of society.  Now, as the Parish Director at St. Francis Xavier parish in Valdez, Alaska, I am still committed not only to continue the mission to seek out and minister to those in need, but to hopefully instill in my people the desire to bring about God’s Kingdom on earth.