Close this search box.

Sister Mary Therese Brown, SND (formerly Sister Mary St. Pius); December 3, 1937 – May 21, 2024   

In her autobiography, Sister Mary Therese Brown calls herself “a child of prayer,” because her parents, Lawrence and Margaret Grubiss Brown, had prayed for more than five years that God would bless them with children.  Their oldest daughter’s name honors the Blessed Mother and St. Therese as special intercessors. A son, Lawrence, was born in 1939, and a daughter, Jean, in 1940. The family lived in Lyndhurst, in St. Gregory the Great Parish.  At the parish school, the Sisters of Notre Dame fostered a missionary spirit among the students, supporting the newly-established SND mission in India. The example of the Sisters as teachers, community members, and vowed religious women had already inspired Mary Therese to want to join them in God’s service.  She attended high school at Notre Dame Academy as an aspirant and became a postulant on February 2, 1955. As a novice, she received the name Sister Mary St. Pius, professing perpetual vows in 1962.

Sister Mary Therese had always liked school, especially art.  With a bachelor of arts degree from Notre Dame College, South Euclid, Ohio, in 1960, she was certified to teach high school Latin and Art. In 1969 she earned a master of arts degree from Bowling Green State University, specializing in prints and sculpture as well as art history. For 35 years she shared her knowledge, faith, and artistic gifts with students at Notre Dame Academy (Cleveland & Chardon), St. Stephen, St. Peter, Regina, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Cleveland Central Catholic High School, all in Ohio. Her ministry also took her to Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, VA, and Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota, FL.  Her teaching style was loving and gentle, firm and whimsical—as the need demanded. As a drama director, her creativity and practicality found energetic expression. Post-graduate studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Rochester Institute of Technology gave her skills in carpentry and welding for building stage sets. She sewed imaginative costumes from pieces of fabric and ready-made clothing. The students thrived under her guidance, even the elementary children she brought to the stage with the high school singers and dancers for a production of The Music Man.

In 1995, Sister Mary Therese began a 15-year ministry as a Pastoral Minister and Director of Religious Education. She served at SS Cyril & Methodius Parish, Lakewood, OH; St. Therese Parish in Wilson, NC; and as Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Apex, NC. She especially loved accompanying adults into their faith journeys into the Catholic community. Back in Chardon, she worked with SND Global Missions, pricing the handmade items, baskets, and textiles for sale at the BBQ and Gallery, and set up a letter-writing partnership for the young sisters in East Africa. We enjoyed her ready laughter, her generous heart, and her freedom of spirit.

Her spirituality is expressed in various works of art, one of which is the Crucified Jesus in the chapel of Bethany Retreat Center. Sister Mary Therese was thrilled to be part of a committee that researched and designed the renovation of Regina Mundi Chapel in Chardon in 1998. She collaborated with several sister-artists to create the eternal life devotional space, with its quilted depiction of eternal life and glory. Here, the names of our deceased sisters are hand-lettered into a book of remembrance. It is a place of love, comfort, and hope.  Sister Mary Therese helped us to see God’s beauty–ever ancient and ever new.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 31, at the Sisters of Notre Dame Center, 13000 Auburn Road, Chardon. Visitation will be from 9:30-10:15. Mass will be live-streamed. Go to Click on the Chardon Regional Center. 

To make a gift in memory of Sr. Mary Therese Brown, please click here.

Share this post