Sr. Mary Thomas (Catherine Aussem) was born November 3, 1928 to Joseph and Catherine Aussem and was nurtured in a loving family together with her siblings Joseph, Stewart, Joan and Muriel. She entered the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell on Sept. 8, 1949 at the age of 20, and progressed through her Novitiate (1950), First Profession (1951) and Final Profession (1957) giving evidence of her prayerful and devout way of living.  She died at the age of 90 on May 4th, 2019 after having served as a faithful Dominican Sister for 70 years.

Sr. Mary Thomas’ years of ministry began as an Elementary School Teacher of young children in Elizabeth, Union City and Jersey City (1951-1963). She loved being with the children as she taught and led them through their early learning experiences with care, guidance and example. 

The Community recognized her efficiency and communication skills and appointed her secretary in the Office of the Generalate.  In this role she served four Major Superiors (1963–1995).  It was said of her that she was trustworthy, discrete and able to graciously meet/greet persons seeking to speak with or make an appointment with a member of the Council. 

Upon the opening of Siena Village, a retirement home for senior citizens, Sr. Mary Thomas served as Administrative Assistant in a challenging shift in ministry (1995-2011). She enjoyed interacting with the Residents, sharing in their lives, supporting and comforting those who needed a kind word, a listening ear, an understanding heart. She retired from Siena Village (2011) from a ministry she came to enjoy. 

Her responsibilities in St. Catherine Convent where she resided continued to show her devotion to prayer, her generosity of time and talent in community and her concern for others through her thoughtful acts of kindness. Sister served as Sacristan, Eucharistic Minister, Lector and a Driver to take the Sisters to doctor appointments.

She enjoyed the simple things in life – traditional in her manner and choices – yet loved people and enjoyed companionship.  She was a faithful friend who enjoyed sharing news, joys and even the sadness that life sometimes brings. She found so many ways to continue her friendly outreach to others when she herself became a patient and in turn became a visitor to other patients. 

Mary Thomas’ life mirrors what beauty and grace there is when one gives all to follow the Lord. A true Dominican who lived her vows made to God throughout her 70 years in Community. Be at peace now Mary Thomas – thank you for showing us the way by your life of prayer, kindness, example and beauty. You will be missed and loved forever. Pray for us. 

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