Sister Mary Dolores Stanko, SND; October 8, 1932 – December 26, 2021 (formerly Sister Mary Charles Ann)

Published by SND USA on

Dolores Anna Stanko was the first of two daughters born to Charles and Anna Sotak Stanko. She and her sister Mary Jane spent their early years living in multi-generational, multi-family homes, characterized by faith, hard work, and care for others. Dolores attended St. Benedict School, Cleveland, where she first met the Sisters of Notre Dame. “I always liked school,” she said, “probably because God made studying easy for me.” High school years at Notre Dame Academy on Ansel Road meant opportunities to explore a wide range of subjects, especially math and science in which she excelled. In summer school she took additional courses that would not fit into her regular schedule. She continued the piano lessons which had begun in second grade, and participated in as many extra-curricular activities as possible. “I wanted to be a Sister ever since I could remember,” she wrote in her autobiography. The example and goodness of her teachers guided her to Notre Dame; she became a postulant on September 8, 1950. At investment, she received the name Sister Mary Charles Ann, in honor of her parents.

Sister Mary Dolores began undergraduate studies at Notre Dame College, South Euclid, Ohio, and in 1954 was assigned to St. Peter High School, Cleveland. Over the next 26 years, she ministered at 10 different high schools in Chardon, Cleveland, Elyria, South Euclid, and Warren, all in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Notre Dame College in 1961, and a Master’s in Science from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana in 1965. Her background in chemistry led to a keen interest in photography; expertise in math brought her to the forefront of computer science. She used her skills in new assignments, first as an editorial assistant to a team of sisters who authored high school religion books, and then most notably as an assistant in the province secretarial office for 27 years.

Sister Mary Dolores was ahead of her time: in 1977 she was awarded a grant to introduce her students to environmental studies. Besides instructing the secretarial staff in computer technology, she joined the Northeast Ohio Apple Club, whose members affectionately nicknamed her “The Computing Nun.” An avid gardener, her organic grow boxes yielded prize tomatoes, each displayed with a card indicating weight and circumference, and then served for supper at the salad bar. She learned Spanish, and spent a month with a family for an immersion experience in Mexico. Her many gifts were freely shared with others, expressing God’s grace and energy at work within. After several years of declining health, Sister Mary Dolores died peacefully on December 26, the Feast of the Holy Family.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Mary Dolores will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 5, at 4:30 p.m., at the Sisters of Notre Dame Center, 13000 Auburn Road, Chardon, OH, 44024. The Mass will be livestreamed. 


4 Comments

Terri Jaroscak · December 30, 2021 at 11:46 pm

I am a first cousin to this wonderful Sister, growing up I always admired her for her faith even as a young student, then in high school I knew that she would become a nun, which she has proudly been for 70 years. She was the smartest person in our family, our entire family just loved her so much. Now she is in the arms of Our Lord, where she has always wanted to be, we will truly miss her, but will cherish the wonderful memories of her in our hearts forever. RIP Sister Dolores.

Veronica Syroney · December 31, 2021 at 11:08 am

I was able to spend several Christmases with Sister Dolores after I married one of her nephews (David son of Mary Jane and Louis Syroney). We would spend hours opening presents due to the large size of our family. Among all the excitement of unwrapping presents I always had a special feeling before opening hers as they were so thoughtful and useful. Sister Dolores was a true apostle always spreading God’s teachings and love, simple and very insightful. May you enjoy eternal life. Love Veronica Syroney

David Syroney · December 31, 2021 at 11:27 am

I remember growing up we would make special trips to our grandparents house because Sister Charles Ann was visiting. She changed her name back to Dolores later. We were always impressed with her knowledge and she sure did impart that knowledge during her visits. Later in life she became an expert in all that is Apple Computer. This of course was well before Apple was a household name. She was also way ahead of her time with her interest in environmental issues. Although we didn’t have frequent contact with her we knew her heart was with God and her family. We hope in someway we may be able to retain some of the knowledge she imparted on us throughout her life. We know she is with our grandparents and God

Elizabeth Sarisky · January 4, 2022 at 10:06 pm

I fondly remember St. Charles Ann’s course in Humanities in 1976-1978 at N.D.A. Chardon where my 3 sisters and I graduated from. Sister brought such enthusiasm in piloting the program based on the Ascent of Man series. Years later at an alumni event, I was able to speak with her and tell her what an impact her teaching had on me.

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