In Memory

Sister Mary Mark Carnes, IHM

November 5, 1927 – June 26, 2009

Sister Mary Mark Carnes, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, June 26, 2009 at St. Rita Convent in Baltimore, Maryland.

She was born on November 5, 1927 in Dundalk, MD, and given the name Louise. She was the daughter of the late Patrick J. and Frances Simpson Carnes. She entered the IHM Congregation on July 2, 1945, made temporary profession of her vows on May 8, 1948, and final profession of her vows on August 2, 1951.

Sister Mary Mark was a teacher serving for nearly fifty years at the following schools: St. Agnes Elementary School in Washington, NC, from 1948 to 1951; St. Edward Elementary School, Twin Falls ID, from 1951 to 1959; St. Lawrence/St Anthony Elementary School in Portland, OR, from 1959 to 1964; St. Ambrose Elementary School in Bridgeport, CT, from 1964 to 1966; St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1966 to 1969; St. Ann Elementary School in Nyack, NY, from 1969 to 1972; Sacred Heart of Mary Elementary School in Jermyn, PA, from 1972 to 1973; St. Agnes Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1973 to 1978; St. Thomas Elementary School in Providence, RI, from 1978 to 1980; St. John the Evangelist Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD, from 1980 to 1983; and St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1983 to 1992.

Sister Mary Mark served as principal of St. Rita Elementary School in Baltimore, MD, from 1992 to 2005. Following her tenure as an educator, she served as an associate chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, MD, from 2006 to 2007.

From 2008 to the time of her death, Sister Mary Mark was a volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Society of Baltimore, MD. While residing at St. Rita Convent, she also served as a prayer minister.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Marywood College.

She was preceded in death by three brothers, Edward, Samuel and Arthur, and four sisters, Mary Taber, Jean Gayle, Margaret Seibert and Frances Knight.

She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

The funeral will be Tuesday, June 30, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at St. Rita Catholic Church in Dundalk, Md. Friends may call at St. Rita Catholic Church on Monday, June 29, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, June 30, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. A prayer service will be held on Monday at 8:00 p.m. Interment will be at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cemetery, Dundalk, MD, following Mass. A memorial mass will be celebrated at the IHM Center in Scranton, PA, on a date to be determined.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Fall 2009 issue

Anyone who has ever visited our St. Rita Convent would always experience IHM hospitality. I attribute this to Sister Mary Mark. Next to my mother, she was the most hospitable person I have ever met. She was both Martha and Mary combined.

As a teacher, not only did Sister attend to her classroom, but she was always willing to help the principal and other teachers, making their tasks easier.

As principal, she was always there for the students. She visited the classrooms every day, if only to say hello to the students, enjoying their stories or their songs. When a child was once asked what Sister Mary Mark taught her, she said, “to love.” Every morning and afternoon Sister made every effort to be at the door to either greet the children or wish them good-bye.

Sister was always present to the teachers. They knew they had a confidential friend in Sister Mary Mark. She was so approachable, they never felt as if they were intruding on her time.

Parents were always welcome to meet with Sister to discuss an academic, financial or family problem. Sister initiated a scholarship program to assist those parents who were in financial need.

After Sister Mary Mark retired as principal, she continued to reach out to others through her volunteering at the Parish St. Vincent DePaul Society. Sister also served as associate chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital.

When company came to visit for the first time, Sister Mary Mark, the Baltimorean, would take the guests on a tour of the city. She was the one we asked for directions anywhere in Baltimore.

Shopping was Sister Mary Mark’s favorite hobby. Sister loved Christmas and birthdays and delighted in the expression of surprise and joy as the recipients opened their gifts from her.

Like Mary, Sister spent quiet time in prayer or reading. Like Martha, she brought the presence of Jesus to others, whether at wakes, funerals, hospital visits, or through phone calls. Even while shopping, or sitting in the doctor’s office, she would make pleasant conversation with others.

Although Sister Mary Mark had constant pain, it never kept her from smiling or going the extra mile for someone. She had a great sense of humor. These attributes are what attracted so many people to her.

Sister Mary Mark also had great devotion for her family. She was always with them in the happy moments or to comfort them in times of great sorrow.

The Sisters at St. Rita Convent are grateful for the years spent with Sister Mary Mark. Her jokes, laughter, decorative ability, and her care for her dog, Snuggles, are a few of the memories that we’ll cherish.

by Mary Lambert Rossi, IHM

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