8/1/2012 10:53:00 AM Former preschool teacher professes vows as Benedictine
Sr. MaryAnne Harp
MOUNT ANGEL — Mary Harp made her first profession as a Benedictine of Queen of Angels Monastery July 11 in front of the Sisters, family and friends. Taking a new name as part of her profession, Sister MaryAnne promised stability, obedience, and fidelity to the monastic way of life through her spoken and written words.
"The journey our community has made with Sister MaryAnne these past months, as she has discerned her vocation to monastic life, has been a joyful one," said Sister Donna Marie Chartraw, the monastery's prioress. "She has shown enthusiasm and love of life as a Benedictine Sister. We rejoice with her as she joins our community as a vowed member."
Sr. MaryAnne, 40, was rejoicing, as well, in this step in her spiritual journey.
“I love it here," she said. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I would never have dreamed that I would be here 3,000 miles away from home. It just proves that God does work in mysterious ways.”
Sister MaryAnne was born in Lutherville, Md. and raised at St. Vincent Children's Center until she was adopted at age three by Len and Pat Harp of Upperco, Md. Raised Catholic, she attended a Catholic elementary school and St. Bartholomew Parish. In 1997, she graduated from Frostburg State University with a degree in early childhood and elementary education.
Following college, Sister MaryAnne worked as a substitute teacher before securing a full-time preschool teaching position. She taught several age groups, but primarily taught two-year-olds for more than eight years. After a years-long period of discerning whether she had a vocation to religious life and visiting different religious communities, she attended the Mount Angel Benedictines' monastic week for interested women in 2009. She returned the next year to enter as a postulant. In 2011, she became a novice.
During her nearly two years at Queen of Angels, Sister MaryAnne, among other duties, has been a regular volunteer at St. Joseph Shelter, working both as a receptionist and with young children of homeless families. This summer, she is tutoring six shelter children, who range in age from preschool to sixth grade.
Sister MaryAnne is excited about teaching, or another future ministry as a Benedictine, and says she is completely trusting in God to make that a reality.
"I'm open to whatever God wants. He brought me here, and he knows what he has in mind for me. It's just me being open and receptive to what his plan is."