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Community Mourns the Loss of Sr. M. Annunciata Witz, OSU '42UC

June 21, 2013

Sister M. Annunciata Witz served 10 years as the Ursuline general superior in a period of change and upheaval in the Church and in religious life. Beyond her tenure she remained an active community member, lending interest and insight to congregational discussions and ready advice and prayerful support to leaders who succeeded her. The decisive leader and faith-filled community member died June 20 at the Regina Health Center in Richfield, where she had lived since February 21. She was 92.

Margaret Witz was born January 17, 1921, one of five daughters born to Joseph and Verena Witz. The Ursuline Academy (55th Street) graduate worked for a number of years at Richman Brothers before entering the Ursuline congregation from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Wickliffe, on January 8, 1945. She professed final vows in August 1950. Sister Annunciata earned her undergraduate degree from Ursuline College and a master’s from Catholic University of America.

She began her 65-year ministry as an elementary school teacher, first at Cleveland’s St. Jerome School, then at St. William School, Euclid. She served 13 years at Ursuline College, teaching education classes and working in the Registrar’s Office, before being elected the congregation’s general superior in 1966. Her tenure coincided with Vatican II renewal in the Church and in religious life, and was marked by all the attendant challenges it inspired, including the departure of many sisters from the community. Under her leadership, the first Ursulines joined the diocesan mission team in El Salvador where Ursuline service continues to this day.

In 1976 Sister Annunciata was named by then-Bishop James A. Hickey to serve as associate vicar for women religious in the Diocese of Cleveland, the first woman to serve in that capacity in the diocese. In that role she visited women religious throughout the area, offering counsel and advice and serving as a resource for educational and spiritual conferences. Her last formal ministry was an eight-year stint as pastoral minister at St. William Parish, Euclid.

In 1991 she returned to the motherhouse where she ministered in the congregation’s medical insurance office for eight years. Her final work, one to which she was deeply committed, was the ministry of prayer. In eight years of residence at the Saint Angela Center and most recently at Regina Health Center, she devoted hours each day to prayer and to nourishing her own spirit with reading from spiritual masters past and present.

Sister Annunciata will be remembered as a capable educator, decisive leader and powerhouse of prayer. She was a committed woman of faith, a sensitive and capable minister, and a devoted family member and friend.
She is survived by a sister Josephine Kausek and nieces and nephews.

Donations in her memory can be made to the Ursuline Sisters at www.ursulinesisters.org.

Funeral Service for Sister Annunciata

3:00 PM, Monday, June 24
Ursuline Motherhouse, 2600 Lander Road, Pepper Pike

Funeral Mass:
7:00 PM Monday
Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity (Motherhouse)

Burial Service: 9:30 AM Tuesday, June 25
Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity

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