Sister M. Ambrose McCracken, CSC

(May 27, 1919 - February 27, 2013)

Word has been received of the death of Sister M. Ambrose (McCracken), who died at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, in Saint Mary’s Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Sister Ambrose, who loved to be called Ambie, lived her life on two levels: one as a private and deeply religious woman and the other as an outgoing, fun-loving person who delighted in the challenges of working with young people.

The first 25 years of Sister Ambrose’s ministry were spent in the elementary schools of the West, this in spite of the fact that she was born and raised in the East. One determining factor may have been the influence of her cousin, Mother M. Veronique, who was the provincial superior of the Western Province when Sister Ambrose entered the congregation. Whatever the reason, she loved the West with its beautiful contrasts in nature, from its Pacific beaches to its rugged mountains.

Once she returned to the East, Sister Ambrose continued teaching in the elementary schools for another 10 years before entering a new and exciting phase of ministry. In 1971 she became involved in the field of campus ministry and this change affected her in the deepest way possible. Sister Ambrose spent the next 18 years in giving retreats and being an active participant in the Cursillo movement, where she worked with young people from all walks of life. She learned the excellent skill of compassionate listening and, because of this, the teenagers flocked to her for counsel and sympathy. This ministry provided Sister Ambrose with much consolation because she felt she made a difference in the lives of those she touched, while at the same time she experienced a change within herself.

She wrote: “It was during these years that my spiritual life was deepened. Christ became real to me as I experienced that God works through people. His life was an example that gave me courage to do things that I didn’t know I was capable of doing. Many adults and priests helped me on my journey, but the teenagers turned my life around. They showed me how to share as they shared themselves with me. Their lives enriched me. Their struggles were real, and they trusted me enough to share them with me, their ups and downs. I trusted them. God bless the teenagers. I have completed my apostolate with my theme song singing in my heart. ‘I am loveable, I’m capable. God don’t make junk.’  I’m ready to go full steam ahead, ready to accept whatever God has in store for me.”

Though Sister Ambrose’s spirit was willing, all of this whirlwind of activity sapped her energy. So, at the age of 70 she moved to Saint Angela Hall in Kensington, Maryland, where she became part of the volunteer service team and continued to walk hand in hand with God. Ten more years of serving the needs of the community, doing various and sundry tasks but at a slower pace, gave Sister Ambrose the time to write the story of her life, which she titled: Ambie: I’m Lovable! I’m Capable! And a Sister of the Holy Cross. The book was published in 1997 with a preface written by Eileen Horan, a friend and graduate from Kensington, Maryland.

Sister Ambrose loved God, loved people and loved her community — and she lived her life true to all three. She now rests in peace.


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