Sister Mary Rae (Genevieve) Higgins, OSB, died on March 30, 2017, at St. Scholastica Monastery. She was in her 66th year of Benedictine Monastic Profession.
Born on December 16, 1930, to Clinton and Genevieve LeBeau Higgins in Duluth, Minnesota, Mary Rae was one of a family of twelve children. Her strong Catholic upbringing and her many siblings contributed to her desire to live in a Benedictine Community. She entered St. Scholastica Monastery on September 8, 1948, made her First Monastic Profession on July 11, 1950, and professed her Perpetual Vows on July 11, 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1975, her Golden Jubilee in 2000, and her Diamond Jubilee in 2010.
Sister Mary Rae received her BS degree from The College of St. Scholastica and her MA from St. Cloud State University in Special Education. Her teaching career spanned 42 years. She taught grade school in International Falls, Virginia, and Aitkin; in Crosby, where she was also Principal; and at Our Lady of Victory in Minneapolis. She was a Special Education teacher at Brainerd State Hospital for one year before going to Washington, D.C., as teacher and prefect for mentally challenged girls for eight years.
After a year of a sabbatical in San Antonio, Texas, Sister taught at Holy Name School in Medina. She served in Pastoral Ministry at her home parish of Holy Family and St. Mary Star of the Sea in Duluth, and at St. Leo’s which was merged with Blessed Sacrament and Immaculate Conception in Hibbing. While at Star of the Sea, Sister taught GED part-time in the Duluth County Jail.
Sister Mary Rae’s beautiful smile, compassionate heart and boundless energy brought joy and hope to many who deeply needed it. When she retired, and returned to the Monastery in 2004, she continued to provide meaningful contact with others through Spiritual Direction and coordination of volunteers.
Sister Mary Rae was preceded in death by her parents, brothers “Butchie” (Lawrence Joseph), Don and James, and sisters Susan Krier and Pat (Larry) Marlenga. Besides the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery and her beloved sister, Sister Barbara Higgins, she is survived by sisters Nancy (Chuck) Davidson, Irene Williams and Bonnie (Mike) Tweedy, brother Wayne (Carol), many nieces and nephews, sisters-in-law Evelyn Higgins and Elaine Higgins, and many cousins and their children.
The Wake Service/Morning Prayer will be held on April 7, 2017, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel at 9:30 a.m. Visitation will follow from 10-10:45 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial is at 11:00 a.m., Reverend Brian Schultz, presider. Arrangements are made by Dougherty Funeral Home. Memorials to St. Scholastica Monastery are preferred.