Sister Anne Michele Raley, OSB, of St. Scholastica Monastery, passed away on March 6, 2017. In her 66 years of religious life she was a teacher, monastery treasurer, secretary, bookkeeper, and a strong advocate for peace and social justice. Her passion for justice was nurtured through jobs in Friendship House, ACORN, St. Joseph’s Day Care Center, and Heifer, Inc. In retirement she served on the monastery social concerns committee, witnessed for peace each Sunday afternoon during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and sought justice for all God’s children, especially those marginalized by society.
She was born July 10, 1924 to Thomas and Anna Raley, growing up with three brothers and four sisters in Paragould, Ark. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery in 1948, earned a business degree from Incarnate Word College in San Antonio, Tx. and taught for sixteen years at St. Scholastica Academy and other schools. After serving five years as her community treasurer, Sister Anne Michele began a thirty-year career as a secretary in bookkeeper in Chicago, Kansas City, and Little Rock. From 1978-98, she worked at St. Joseph’s Day Care Center in North Little Rock.
In addition to her social justice work, Sister Anne served the community in retirement as a receptionist and mail clerk. In the last four months of her life she lived at Chapel Ridge Nursing Home in Fort Smith. At her sixtieth jubilee Sister Anne Michele said, “I have been blessed and challenged to a greater awareness of God and my calling to be of service,” and was fired by that passion for more than ninety years.
Sister Anne Michele is survived by three brothers: James John, Paragould, AR; Joseph Ronald, Tularosa, NM; and Howard Thomas, Atlanta, GA. Preceding her in death are her parents; and four sisters: Pauline Raley, Anna Loretta Raley, Francine Raley Hayden, and Virginia Raley Mullins.
Vespers for the Dead were held March 12, 2017 in the Monastery Chapel. The funeral Mass was celebrated March 13, 2017 with Fr. Les Farley presiding, followed by burial in the monastery cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to St. Scholastica Continuing Care Fund, P. O. Box 3489, Fort Smith, AR 72913.