Sr. Mary Ann Scofield, RSM (1926–2012)
Sister Mary Ann Scofield, RSM, returned gently to God, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Burlingame, California, USA. A beloved teacher, spiritual companion, mentor, and friend, Mary Ann was a founding member of Spiritual Directors International and served as the organization’s first executive coordinator in the late 1980s. Her deep passion for spiritual direction nurtured SDI from its humble beginnings, in her bottom desk drawer, to a global movement. Today, SDI is made of more than six thousand members in six continents.
Mary Ann’s influence was global, and her impact, deeply personal. As a spiritual director, she trusted the movement of the spirit to help people recognize, claim, and share their distinctive gifts with the world. In her own words, “I do believe there is a unique image of the Divine that is placed in each of us and all the activity of the Divine in us is to bring us to that true self.”
Tributes from the Community
Sr. Mary Ann had a profound impact on my ministry as a spiritual director. She comes to mind often and remains an ever present presence in my life!
Jennie K. Curtis
I did not know Sister Mary Ann personally, but was privileged to hear her speak while participating in a summer internship in the Art of Spiritual Direction. She spoke on Spiritual Direction with the Marginalized. Having lived on the margins a great deal of my life, this was the population I felt most called to companion; the addicted, the imprisoned, the homeless. She was an inspiration in her talk, and walked in the true spirit of a Sister of Mercy.
Barbara Stone Rodriguez
The world is smaller today with the death of Sister Mary Ann Scofield, RSM, yesterday morning.
She was a large-souled woman who significantly touched my life as my first spiritual director, and then later as teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. In many ways she was mother to my soul, as well as to countless others here and around the world.
She spoke often of the unfolding life in God that begins with “becoming friends with God” and moves to “seeing as God sees” and then to “living out the social consequences of that conversion” through willing action in the world. One of her many gifts as a spiritual director was a developed capacity to see with the eyes of God what was not yet evident to the person with whom she sat. She never forced awareness like a hothouse bulb, but neither did she shrink from asking eye-opening questions. Her sparkling blue eyes radiated both compassion and grounded integrity. She was “poised toward the holy” in radical trust of the One who comes as Love.
Mary Ann lived a full, fruitful life and was many things to many people all over the world: a sibling, an aunt, a great-aunt, a dancer, a Sister of Mercy, a teacher from kindergarten through college, a pioneering woman theologian, a rather exacting formation director, one of the first women to lead Ignatian retreats, a graced spiritual director, a keen trainer and supervisor of spiritual directors… a dear and faithful friend to me and to so many in this chapel. Her gifts pulled her to give talks and lead workshops in countries around the globe. But above all, beneath all, surrounding all, motivating all, she was a woman grounded in God who helped the rest of us to waken to our true selves in God.
Marilyn Lacey, RSM
Thank you Mary Ann. The influence you had on my life was profound. May all the angels join in your new dance. You will be sorely missed. Forever you will be in the hearts of all who were so graced to know you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Sister Mary Ann was one of my spiritual direction teachers as I went through the program in Burlingame. I remember her sparkling eyes and penetrating questions and felt a real affinity with her, though I was a bit nervous around her as well because of her seemingly all-seeing laser beam eyes! Love to you, Sister Mary Ann.
You are one gift to many, Mary Ann! Your loving presence to me as a spiritual director and supervisor had shaped my soul. You gave my soul a name. You walked with me, across the miles, as I "traveled the long night." You spell and speak of who you are to many whom you "carried in the arms" with love. Your soul-mothering made us "touch" the Holy! I cannot stop thanking God for you! You made a world of SDI!
Celine Santiago, PDDM
Influencing many Sister Mary Ann Scofield's life reflects the Spirit alive and active in the world. I am grateful for her loving service and God's grace in her among us. May her influence be her legacy.
Those of us who have been with SDI since its early days know the great contribution this gracious and strong woman has made over the years. May her spirit continue to guide the organization she loved so dearly.
Miriam Cleary, OSU
Dearest Sister Mary Ann: Sending you love and blessing on your journey home. I will never forget the incredible understanding and acceptance I felt from you during my first year in spiritual direction training at the Mercy Center as the only Jew that year. You were especially concerned about my well-being. You helped to create a bridge from my sacred texts and identity to your own. Your insights were brilliant and always helpful but most of all I remember the transparency with which you "real played" a spiritual direction session, showing us all what was divinely possible. Thank you, I will say Kaddish for you.
I met Mary Ann when at Burlingame as I did the Supervision program. She was a woman who was immersed in life and in her calling. May she now dance with the Trinity and be a beacon to all who knew her and loved her. May her beautiful soul rest in peace.
Joan Cartlidge, FCJ
I first met, or more accurately, experienced the dynamic grace of Sister Mary Ann as a powerful SDI teacher at Burlingame. She mentored in what she taught, and truly in how she was. I was also blessed to have her for a spiritual director for ten years until I moved out of state. During one time of desert and loss, I lamented that I didn't know who I was anymore. With typical succinct and holy directness, Mary Ann responded with a line I treasure to this day, "Perhaps you don't know who you are these days, but you do know whose you are." For years I have been trying to integrate so much of the wisdom, faith, and grace of Sister Mary Ann Scofield, but I will let her dancing an Irish jig stand by its joyful self.
Baruch dayan ha'Emet. May her memory be for blessing. Sister Mary Ann was one of my early spiritual direction teachers, and her bright spirit will live in my heart always. She was a brilliant, compassionate, insightful teacher who loved her students, and the Mystery, with fierce devotion.
Thank you at SDI for letting me know that Mary Anne has gone to receive her very well earned reward. I will surely remember her in my Mass and prayers. She was a wonderful example of simplicity and love and left an invaluable legacy in SDI.
Padraig Leonard, CSSp
The world has lost a wonderful woman and the heavens have welcomed home a true and faithful servant of the Lord. Rest in peace, your work on earth is done.
Dr. Michele Fleming
Mary Ann, you touched so many of us in so many marvelous ways. You freely, humbly shared your wisdom. You lived Mercy. You will not be forgotten.
Thank for letting me share my soul with you and for tending it so tenderly. It has been an immeasurable gift to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with you, to call you mentor, colleague, friend. I enjoyed your sense of humor. Mary Ann, continue to show us what you see.
When my daughter sustained a snowboarding accident that left her paraplegic in April 2000, our family flew to California to be with her. I desperately needed support through this time of unexpected suffering and called Mercy Center at Burlingame to see if a spiritual director could see me on short notice. Sister Mary Ann answered the phone and spontaneously said that she would see me! During our sessions, she trusted the picture she was getting of Mary at the foot of the cross, and for the first time in my life, I connected with Mary being with her suffering child. I felt such a deep sense of God's love and profound support through Sister Mary Ann during this difficult time and, over the years, we sent occasional e-mails to keep in touch. She was genuinely concerned about my daughter and our family. I am eternally grateful for her timely loving touch on my life.
Sister Mary Ann remains a dear, dear friend of mine—my spiritual mentor while I stayed at Mercy Center in Burlingame and my guide through spiritual direction training. We who have known and loved her have been truly blessed. Shalom, Sister Mary Ann, shalom...
Rev. Douglas J. Monroe