“Happy Is she who sees the holy will of the good God being accomplished in her.”
-St. Julie Billiart
“My daily prayer is to understand aging—as I daily age. I am grateful for a very interesting variety of events in my life, events that I never expected. I have been very blessed.”
Having recently celebrated her 89th birthday, Sister Ann Stubbe, lovingly known as “Frannie” by her many friends, frequently reflects on the above quote that is framed and mounted on the wall outside her room. It embodies Frannie’s outlook on her life, one that she often expresses: complete and heart-felt gratitude to God.
Frannie’s qualities of perception, kindness, humor, and joy led her to be very effective in the variety of events that life brought to her. She has been an outstanding teacher of young students, both establishing and continuing a Montessori school, and training teachers in Montessori and Head Start methods. Frannie’s influence as a teacher included her rapport with parents who appreciated her wisdom in guiding children.
An experience that touched Frannie deeply was her seven years of ministering among families in Huntington, West Virginia. The families lived high in the mountains in extreme poverty. Fathers earned a meager living by coal mining; parents had little education, and health issues were a problem. Frannie saw how she could help and moved ahead.
First, she was trained in the Head Start philosophy and curriculum to do teacher training. Then she drove up into the mountains to train teachers to implement and to carry out Head Start programs. The Head Start sites were in the mountains since that was the only place accessible to the children.
Frannie and other Head Start teachers first taught mothers to read so that they could in turn read to their children. Knowing the importance of children actually reading books, Frannie obtained a generous donation and purchased paperback books for the children, which they loved.
When Frannie mentions the events in her life that she never expected, one very unexpected one was her week-long trip to Tahiti. Much to her surprise and delight, Frannie was needed to accompany a Sister giving a workshop in Tahiti!
Frannie’s most recent unexpected event was a broken left hip, which happened about 10 days before her Jubilee celebration and necessitated surgery. True to form, she made it to the celebration!
We know that as Sr. Ann/Frannie joyfully celebrates her 70th anniversary as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and reflects on her life, the words of St. Julie ring true: “Happy is she who sees the holy will of the good God being accomplished in her.”
By Sr. Judy Flahavan
Notre Dame Elementary, Belmont; St. Dunstan, Millbrae; Junipero Serra, Carmel; Notre Dame, Chico; Mission Dolores, San Francisco; St. Philip Neri, Alameda; Sacred Heart, San Jose; Sacred Heart, Saratoga; Montessori School, Saratoga; St. Lucy, Campbell; St. Columbkille, Los Angeles; Montessori Training Program, Belmont; Moreland Notre Dame, Watsonville (Learning Center); St. Matthias, Redwood City and St. Angela Parish, Pacific Grove (Day Care Director); St. Joseph Cupertino (Pastoral Associate); House of Prayer, Carmel.
St. Stephen School, Portland
St. Barbara Parish, Chapmanville; Huntington (Head Start Director)
To make a gift to the Sisters of Notre Dame in honor of Sr. Ann, please click here.