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Sr. Mary Elaine (Margaret Anne) Breen

1936 ~ 2021

Visitation: 6:00 p.m. Friday, March 19, 2021 at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole Funeral Home. Bishop Michael Olson will preside at a Rosary/Vigil service beginning at 7:00 p.m. Per Diocesan protocol, Masks are requested.

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated in private at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, 2021 at Our Lady of Victory, with Father John Shanahan, TOR, presiding.
The Mass will be live-streamed on Facebook at “Sisters of St. Mary, Western Province.

Interment: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Mount Olivet Cemetery. The interment is open to family and friends.

Memorials may be sent to the Sisters of St. Mary, 909 W. Shaw St., Fort Worth, Texas 76110-4057.

You may view a video tribute

Margaret Anne Breen was the second oldest of six children. Her father, Robert Anthony Breen, was born in Fort Worth and after working for an oil company in Indiana, returned here and opened a grocery store near downtown. This was destroyed in the famous 1949 flood, so he and his wife, Helen Marie Breen, opened a second store in White Settlement, where Margaret Anne worked in the family business.
Margaret Anne attended St. Alice School where she met Sr. Mary Irma Endres at Sisters of Saint Mary of Namur (SSMN) while learning about the missionary work of the Sisters in Africa. She graduated from Our Lady of Victory Academy in 1954. She was among a group of five from that class who entered the SSMN Novitiate that year, where she took the name “Sister Mary Elaine.”
After her novitiate, she asked to become a missionary and began nurses’ training at St. Joseph School of Nursing. She obtained her degree as an R.N. in 1960, the first Sister from Texas to do so, and was sent to the SSMN missions in the Congo and in Mubuga, Rwanda, serving as midwife, nurse, and even as doctor when one was unavailable until 1968, when she returned to Fort Worth. She made 2 more trips to Africa, spending a total of 10 years in missionary work.
Sister Mary Elaine worked at Catholic Charities with unwed mothers and their children for several years, as well as helping in the relocation of Vietnamese refugees. In 1973, she became director of the Infirmary at Our Lady of Victory Convent (OLV) which was located on the fourth floor of OLV Academy. The Fire Department began pushing the Sisters to move to a safer location, so Sister Mary Elaine exchanged her nursing cap for a hard hat as she worked with architects and contractors to develop OLV Center, which now serves as the Infirmary, Retirement Center, and Provincial Headquarters for all the Sisters of St. Mary in Texas.
After the Sisters moved into the Center in 1987, Sister Mary Elaine served in several capacities – as Coordinator, Nursing Director, and Development Person. She and Sister Francesca Walterscheid became “Baby Buddies,” volunteering to rock babies at Cook Children’s Hospital once a week.
In her final years, her health deteriorated and she returned to the infirmary at OLV as a patient, eventually moving to Stonegate Nursing Home where she died.
Sister Mary Elaine was preceded in death by her brother Bill Breen and sister Susan Bennett. She is mourned by her sister Judy Breen Keane of Austin, TX, and brothers Michael Breen (spouse Thelma) of Waco TX, Dr. Bob Breen (spouse Laura) of Rockwall, TX, numerous nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces, countless godchildren, the Sisters of her religious community, and numerous friends.