Ann Manuel

Obituary of Ann Manuel

 

Surrounded with love by her partner Becky Lee, and nieces Maura Manuel, Cindy Sylka, and Susan Khrapal, Ann passed away in her 90th year on June 9, 2024, after a catastrophic brain bleed.

She was predeceased by her parents Jack Evans Manuel and Mary Keegan Manuel, her brothers John and Terence, her nephew Andrew, and her niece Kathleen Brown.

Ann was a proud Newfoundlander, born in St. John’s on August 6, 1934, and raised in Grand Falls, where her father was manager of the paper mill.

In her youth, Ann was an avid tennis player. By age 14, she played for Grand Falls in inter-city matches. At 16, she was Newfoundland’s junior tennis champion. It was her love of tennis that brought her to Loretto Abbey in Toronto for grades 12 and 13. For, along with a fine education, its brochure also promised a tennis court! She would go on to play for the University of Toronto.

While in university, Ann felt called to join the Loretto Sisters who had taught her, becoming Sister Mary John. She began her teaching career at Loretto Abbey in Toronto, then was transferred to Loretto Academy in Niagara Falls. It was there that she first assumed the role of School Principal. In 1967 Ann was reassigned as Principal of Loretto College School in Toronto, where she remained until she retired in 1989.

Ann was as steadfast as the Rock she was born on, and her heart was as big as the ocean that surrounds it. People were instinctively drawn to her. Grounded in her lifelong practice of prayer and meditation, Ann was kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and empathetic. At the same time, she had a good sense of fun and a strong sense of social justice.

In retirement, Ann continued to pursue social justice; helping to establish Furniture Bank Toronto, participating in the Sanctuary Coalition, the Multifaith Alliance to End Homelessness, and the Catholic Network for Women’s Equality. After completing an RNA course, she moved to Sioux Lookout to work in the Zone Hospital, now replaced by the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre. Ann also realized her dream of working in the global south as part of the Mary Ward Team, an international team of Loretto Sisters working with Rwandan youth in Tanzanian refugee camps. Subsequently, she facilitated refugee sponsorship for 9 young men by the Canadian Loretto Sisters.

Ann’s experience in the camps changed her worldview. In her words, she’d “lost all her absolutes,” leading her to leave the Loretto Sisters to share the rest of her life with a loving partner.

Ann will be deeply missed by Becky her life partner of 27 years, her 15 nieces and nephews and their spouses, their 24 children and grand children, the Rwandan families who call her their Canadian mother and grandmother, and the many friends, teachers, and students whose lives she touched.

Many thanks to Dr. Ian Cohen of the Toronto Memory Clinic for his caring support over the past 10 years, and to the doctors and staff of the palliative care unit at Sunnybrook Hospital during Ann’s last days.

A self directed Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, August 6, 2024 from 1-4 p.m. in the party room at 2662 Bloor Street West, Toronto. Please RSVP to blee@yorku.ca .

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Daily Bread Food Bank, Ernestine's Women's Shelter or FCJ Refugee Centre by using the links available on the Donations area of her home page.

We also welcome you to share a photo, story or sentiment of her life here at her memorial legacy page.

Uniquely entrusted to eco Cremation & Burial Services Inc.

- Modern Funerals -