Sister Mary Ann Rawson, SNJM

(Sister M. Rose-Clare)

June 13, 1941 – January 17, 2024

Sister Mary Ann Rawson, SNJM departed this life on January 17, 2024 at Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin, Oregon.

Sister Mary Ann celebrated 82 years of life and 57 years of her religious profession.

A Mass of Resurrection will be held Thursday, February 8, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. at the Chapel of the Holy Names in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Burial will follow at Holy Names Cemetery in Marylhurst, Oregon.


Sister Mary Ann Rawson, SNJM

June 13, 1941 – January 17, 2024

Sister Mary Ann Rawson, SNJM, 82, died on January 17 in Tualatin, Oregon. Mass of Resurrection will be Thursday, February 8, 11am, Chapel of the Holy Names at Marylhurst, Lake Oswego. Burial follows at Holy Names Cemetery, Marylhurst.

Mary Ann was born in Tonasket, in northeast Washington state and raised in nearby Okanogan. The oldest child of Robert Grindal and Helen Wells Rawson, Mary Ann was big sister to brothers Timothy, Richard, John, and Henry, and two cousins, Ronald and Quentin Wells, who her parents raised.

She attended Christ the King Grade School in Omak and high school in Okanogan. Her parents had a rule that their children would attend a Catholic college for at least one year. Mary Ann chose Holy Names College, Spokane, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor of Music Education.

Sensing a call to become a Sister, Mary Ann traveled to Marylhurst, Oregon, in August 1963 to enter the Holy Names Sisters’ novitiate there.

Her first ministry assignment was Holy Names Academy, Seattle. Other teaching assignments included St. Aloysius, Spokane; Holy Rosary, Pomeroy; and Christ the King, Richland. In Richland, she taught piano and music education in the school and did pastoral work in the parish directing choirs and training ministers and cantors. She was also active in the Tri-City Music Educators Association serving as its president. Over the years she completed a master’s in music education at Western Washington University, Bellingham.

Mary Ann then made a change in her ministerial direction, serving as Pastoral Associate at St. Stanislaus Parish, Lewiston, Idaho. She followed this by a year of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) training,

A warmer climate beckoned Mary Ann due to health-related challenges. She moved to Arizona where she worked at Yuma Regional Medical Center taking another course in CPE. After that, she took a position in chaplaincy at Carondelet St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s and Holy Family Center, Tucson. In an article at the time, it was said, of Mary Ann “What Sister Mary Ann does is a ministry of presence, simply reminding people there is a loving God. She has that capacity. … We cannot give what we don’t have.”

Retiring in Tucson, she remained active in parish choirs an in chaplaincy as president and treasurer of the local and state Chaplains Association. She also served with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), sharing her presence, support and love with children in crisis.

Mary Ann later moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon, joining the retirement community of Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst. Despite physical limitations but with an energetic spirit, she participated in wide array of activities from the Mary’s Woods Summer Players to Resident Council membership.

Mary Ann will be remembered for her love of music, her deep concern for her family and friends, for her friendly and out-going spirit, and for her dedication to justice. She was proud of her family and her heritage. She remained connected with many former students, rejoicing with them in their successes as musicians. She cared deeply for her companions along the way and did all she could to make the lives of other people better. Even though she struggled with health difficulties for many years, she strove to be positive, generous, hospitable and engaged with life. She was a woman who believed deeply in her friends, family, our SNJM community and in the promises of God.

A Holy Names Sister for 57 years, Sister Mary Ann is survived by her brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews and the members of her religious community. Remembrances may be made to the Sisters of the Holy Names, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR 97036 or online at