Sister Spotlight: Ann Martin Kelly

On Sunday, November 19, 2021, the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Brooklyn, NY, celebrated the 90th birthday of Sister of St. Dominic of Amityville Ann Martin Kelly.  That day, the sacristy of the church was named after S. Ann Martin as a way to honor her longtime 50-year service to the parish as a teacher and most recently as a sacristan.

It was a fitting acknowledgement noting her love of the Liturgy: “I love to see the church decorated, to change the linens, to see the priest dressed neatly and to help the priest celebrate with the people.”

As devoted as S. Ann Martin is to the parish is as devoted as they are to her! “It is obvious her love for the people of Our Lady of Guadalupe and their love for her!” said Sister Diane Capuano, a member of the Sister of St. Dominic Leadership Team who attended the special Mass with the Prioress S. Peggy McVetty. 

For more than 50 years, S. Ann Martin taught first grade at the school there.

“I never got promoted,” she said with a laugh. “I loved the little children. I loved being with them and seeing their expressions when they learned something new!”

Perhaps her longtime ministry with first graders should not come as a surprise as she was inspired to become a Dominican Sister by her first grade teacher! S. Loretta Anderson in Holy Family School in Brooklyn was her inspiration!

“S. Loretta Anderson was devoted and loving,” said S. Ann Martin. She described how S. Loretta would play the violin for her class and encourage them to sing along. Their friendship continued when S. Ann volunteered in her classroom, helping out by washing the chalkboards and doing other tasks. S. Ann felt called to go to the Dominican Juniorate, but her father felt she was too young. Instead, she attended Bayridge Public High School and worked at a bank after graduation. 

But the call persisted! She joined the Amityville Dominicans with S. Loretta as her sponsor.

Over the years, S. Ann served in various parishes including: St. Pius in Jamaica, St. Catherine in St. Albans, St. Hugh of Lincoln in Huntington Station and then back to St. Pius. As her parents aged, she asked to be near them in Brooklyn. She taught at Our Lady of Guadalupe for 29 years and has now been a part of that parish for 51 years.             

Although she always taught first grade, she noted that in each parish she was asked to work with the second grade religious education students to prepare them to receive the Eucharist. She said that was her favorite ministry: “I loved working with them, instructing them in their love for Jesus. It gave me great satisfaction when I saw them receive Jesus in the Eucharist and the expression on their faces were filled with such joy — they gave that joy to me!”