Sr. Anne Onhaiser

June 12, 1912 – October 4, 2005

On October 4, 2005, at Taché Centre, Sister Anne Onhaiser (Sr. Jeanne Rosalia) embarked on the last adventure of her long and storied life. She was born July 12, 1912 in Narol, MB to Polish immigrants, John and Rosalia Onhaiser, the eldest of 13 children. She is survived by four brothers, Joseph Pat, Stanley, Anthony and Michael; and by one sister Sister Julia SNJM.

Anne was a bright little girl and an avid learner. Her father taught her to read in Polish before she began school. There she learned English, and later French and remained fluently trilingual all her life. She had some knowledge of several other languages.

In 1930, Anne entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Outremont, QC. Two years later, she returned to Manitoba and began her career as an educator. During the next 45 years, she taught in parochial, separate and public schools in Manitoba and Ontario. She taught in Winnipeg, Kenora, Keewatin, Flin Flon, Somerset, Notre Dame de Lourdes and Saint-Boniface.

Over the years, she taught every grade from 3 to 12. At one time or another, according to need, she taught almost every subject. Outside of school hours, she gave generously of her time to extracurricular activities for her pupils. Her success as an educator was due in part to her active and enquiring mind. Always an avid learner, her summers were spent studying at universities in Canada and the United States. Not content with becoming professionally qualified to teach at several levels in the two provinces, she also earned advanced degrees in the arts and in sociology and became qualified as a librarian and as a principal. In her spare time, she taught herself and then taught others how to type, cook, sew, sing, draw, paint and sculpt. She was always learning and always sharing what she learned.

Retirement at 65 did not bring inaction to Sister Anne. She left for Rankin Inlet where she served the Inuit. Several years later, when the cold of the far north became too much for her, she came down to Winnipeg, spending her days visiting and comforting the very poor in the hotels on éRésidence Jesus-Marie and finally at Taché Centre, both in Saint-Boniface. The stroke robbed her of physical and mental vitality, but not of her compassionate and fun-loving spirit, nor of her love for her natural and religious families and for her many friends.