Sister Anne Marie Kollasch

My aunt, Sister Anne Marie, often talked about the biblical “hundredfold.” She believed deeply in the truth of Matthew 19: that being a disciple of Jesus brings many challenges and crosses to bear, but the rewards are far greater--“a hundred times more.”

Her life witnessed to this. Literally. In March, we celebrated her 100th birthday. For about 78 of those years, she was a Sister, having joined the Presentations in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1940.

She devoted her ministerial life to teaching and learning. She worked very hard and enjoyed helping students in the classroom. But her ministry didn’t stop there. It was her entire life, wherever she was. Being a light of Christ to others was all encompassing.

She lived that way even as her health declined suddenly a few weeks ago. She died peacefully on August 17, and last week at her funeral in Dubuque, we celebrated her life in Christ and her life among us.

In the days since then, I’ve reflected a lot on the wisdom that Sister Anne Marie shared over the years. Discipleship, the cross, and the hundredfold were often topics of our conversations. I was reminded of these as I rewatched a short video interview of Sister Anne Marie, created in honor of her 98th birthday.

My favorite part (spoiler alert!) is when she says, “The cross is always there, and it’s up to me to decide if I’m going to pick it up and follow our Lord. And if I do, my experience has been he does give me the hundredfold.”

Sister Anne Marie wasn’t one to ignore or downplay the hardships of life, including religious life. Nor did she dwell on them overly much. To her, they were part of the fullness of life, so she chose to walk in trust with Christ in all the ups and downs that 100 years can bring.

Thank you, Sister Anne Marie, for your love, wisdom, and discipleship!