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Sister Anna Kessen, longtime teacher at St. Mary's School for the Deaf

Jan. 9, 1923 - March 18, 2017

Sister Anna Kessen, who served deaf children and adults for more than 50 years, died March 18 in Sisters of St. Joseph Residence, Clarence, after a short illness.

Born in Coldwater, Ohio, Sister Anna entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in September 1941 and made her final vows in August 1947. She earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers College, now Medaille College, in 1947 and a master’s of science degree in education of the deaf from Canisius College in 1965.

Sister Anna served in several roles at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf. Beginning in 1950, for 18 years, she ministered to 60 residential boys, ages 3 to 8, as a house parent. She then taught primary grades for 27 years.
Considered a creative woman, she often said, “I loved to make learning fun.” She later devoted herself to tutoring and religious education. And, in her spare time, she enjoyed baking for the children.

Sister Anna also extended her skills to the adult deaf community, serving as a pastoral worker at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish, Cheektowaga, where she signed Masses and taught religious education classes. In addition, she visited the sick in hospitals and in their homes.

Sister Anna retired in 2000, and became well known for her gracious, clever thank-you notes to benefactors and friends.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 7 p.m. Monday in the Sisters of St. Joseph Residence, 4975 Strickler Road, Clarence.

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