Loretto Sister Anita Marie Robertson died at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary May 17 at age 87 and in the 68th year of her life as a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross. A longtime educator, librarian assistant, librarian and poet, Sister Anita Marie worked in libraries in Denver and in California and taught for 14 years in Catholic schools in four states.
The daughter of Emilie Rose (Berthouldt) and Charles Joseph Robertson, Sister Anita Marie was born Sept. 1, 1931, in Denver and baptized Mary Ellen Robertson at Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. In Denver, she attended Cathedral, Wyman and Park Hill grade schools, Smiley Junior High and East High School, graduating from there in 1949. Mary Ellen entered the Loretto novitiate in 1950 from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Denver.
On April 25, 1951, she was received into Loretto, donning the habit and taking the name of Sister Anita Marie. She made her first vows Aug. 15, 1953, and her final vows Aug. 15, 1957. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in social studies, in 1961 from Webster College (now University) in St. Louis.
Sister Anita Marie taught primary grades in Missouri, Kentucky, New Mexico and Texas from 1953 to 1967. She drove for retired Loretto Sisters in St. Louis for four years and then returned to Denver for three years to care for her mother. From 1973 to 1975, she worked as a part-time librarian in Vallejo, Calif. Returning to Denver, she served as library assistant in the law library of Holland and Hart (1975 – 1979), a librarian at Roath & Brega law firm (1979 - 1983), a library assistant at Information Management (1983-1988) and was a self-employed law librarian (1988 – 2002).
In her autobiography, Sister Anita Marie noted that for many years, she had a great desire to write. She had three poems published in national magazines and received an honorable mention in a contest by Colorado Writers Association.
Later in life, Sister Anita Marie cared for a brother for several years until his death. In 2005, she moved to Loretto’s Denver Center. In 2007, she decided to organize the more than 80 poems she had written since leaving the Loretto novitiate in 1953. It was Sister Anita Marie’s way to say thank you for the care the Denver Center Loretto Community had given her while she recovered from knee surgery. The booklet, “Songs of Joy from an Alien Land,” has had several supplements since first being published. Sister Anita Marie retired to Loretto Motherhouse in 2010, where she carried out a ministry of prayer and community service until her death.
A funeral Mass for Loretto Sister Anita Marie Robertson was celebrated May 23 at the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky. Burial was in Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse.
Memorials in Sister Anita Marie’s name may be sent to the Loretto Community, care of the Loretto Development Office, 4000 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, CO 80123-1308.