February 11, 2018
On the morning of February 11 at the Ursuline Center on Indian Road, Sister Mary Bernarda Sullivan gave back to God her life of 97 years. Born Rita Ann, she was the youngest of nine children born to Charles and Mary Ann (Schoen) Sullivan. Preceding her in death were her parents and all her siblings: Bernard, Reverend Charles Sullivan, S.J., Arthur, Jerome, Donald, Roger, Joseph, and her sister Sister Mary Theophane, S.N.D.
Rita grew up in Toledo, Ohio, where she attended St. Ann School and Notre Dame Grade School and Notre Dame Academy. She began her formal training as a Sister of Notre Dame in September 1938. The following year she was invested in the habit of the Sisters of Notre Dame and received the name of Sister Mary Bernarda.
With degrees in Education and English from Mary Manse, Toledo, and the University of Detroit, Sister Bernarda was a highly effective educator whether as a teacher or principal in the elementary schools of St. Joseph, Fremont; St. Mary, Leipsic; St. Joseph, Maumee; St. Paul and St. Mary, Norwalk; St. Mary, Sandusky; Sacred Heart, Holy Rosary, and Christ the King, Toledo; and as a secondary teacher at Central Catholic, Toledo; St. John, Delphos; and Notre Dame Academy, Toledo. Through her 51 years of teaching and eight years as a librarian, Sister was well liked by her students, especially the boys whose football and basketball games she faithfully attended.
The oldest Sister of Notre Dame in the Toledo Province, Sister was in her 77th year of religious profession. Retiring from active ministry in 2006 Sister helped at the finance office at NDA. An avid reader interested in events, Sister was a good conversationalist throughout much of her retirement. She is survived by many nieces and nephews and the Sisters of Notre Dame in the Toledo Province.