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Sister Mary Ann Tusai, SND (formerly Sister Mary John Martin); August 25, 1937 – March 25, 2024

Born on August 25, 1937 to John and Helen (Doljac) Tusai, Mary Ann was the only girl and the oldest of five children. She attended St. Thomas Aquinas Parish School in Cleveland.  At St. Peter High School, Mary Ann joined the Glee Club, newspaper staff, and participated in the school play. She became an assistant Girl Scout leader. Following graduation in 1955, Mary Ann was employed by Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company and then at Hollander Abstract Company.

When Mary Ann was 14, she seriously considered religious life and learned more about the history and spirit of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Most of all, she said, the good example of the sisters helped her to see what God wanted of her. Mary Ann became a postulant on February 2, 1957. At investment she received the name Sister Mary John Martin.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from St. John College, Cleveland, in 1963 and a Master of Arts from John Carroll University, Cleveland Heights. As a dedicated teacher for 33 years, Sister Mary Ann ministered in 13 different schools, educating students in grades 5 through 8. Whether in Ohioin Avon, Cleveland, Lyndhurst, North Ridgeville, University Heights, and Warren—or in Dunedin, Florida, she shared with her students a deep appreciation of the beauty of planet Earth, which she called “our house away from home.” Reverence for God’s creation was evident in what the children learned from her and in what she encouraged them to do. Science projects involved cleaning up neighborhoods and charting the results. She put recycling containers in the cafeteria, challenged the classes to conserve water and other resources, and became known as “The Scrap Nun” for her untiring work of recycling hundreds of pounds of cans, metal, and glass. Families and staff joined in these efforts. The money earned provided eyeglasses, clothing, and other necessities for children in the inner city.

In 1993, having retired from classroom teaching, Sister Mary Ann became the bookkeeper for Julie Billiart School, Lyndhurst, and then for Notre Dame Elementary School, Chardon. For the past 20 years at the SND Center in Chardon, she assisted in the facilities office, drove sisters to their appointments, and served the community in various ways. For 10 years she was a catechist at the Parish School of Religion at St. Mary, Chardon.

Sister Mary Ann never lost her sense of wonder. With sisters who shared her enthusiasm for the outdoors, she delighted in hiking, camping, and exploring State Parks in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Every season held beauty for her. In winter, she simply traded her tent for a cabin. Each adventure was carefully planned, prepared for, and thoroughly enjoyed.

Sister Mary Ann journeyed in faith. God’s promise is now fulfilled. “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1)

The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, at the Sisters of Notre Dame Center. Visitation will be from 9:30-10:15. Mass will be live-streamed. 

To make a gift in memory of Sr. Mary Ann Tusai, please click here.

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