SR. LIGUORI ROSSNER
By Joyce Rothermel
On November 14 and 15, Sr. Liguori Rossner and Ann Mason, respectively, passed from us. Each a courageous witness for justice, their legacies will remain with us through the organizations and people they inspired.
SR. LIGUORI ROSSNER, co-founder and life time Executive Director of the Jubilee Association, had a long- time association with the Thomas Merton Center, drawing from her faith and commitment to peace and social justice.
Though broad in her interests and talents, Sr. Liguori chose to give her life in the day to day efforts of ministering to many of Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable people who made their way to the Jubilee Kitchen, 2005 Jumonville Avenue in the Soho section of Pittsburgh, to the Heinz children’s educational center next door, or to the pantry in Polish Hill.
Most came in need of the services offered there (a meal, clothing, job counseling, a place to get mail, and other basic human needs). Thousands volunteered over Jubilee’s now 40-year history (commemorated only 5 days after Sister’s passing) to help in whatever way they were needed.
With her capable and effective leadership, the Jubilee attracted the time, talent and treasure of volunteers, staff and donors. Many were young people inspired by the mission and Sr. Liguori’s witness.
Living with the realities and limitations of chronic illness, Sr. Liguori’s journey was single-minded: a life of tireless, loving service and unwavering faithfulness to that calling. Many will remember the help they received, others will recall Sr. Liguori’s wit and great sense of humor, and others her persistent determination in the midst of adversity.
Officiating at the Mass of Christian Burial for Sr. Liguori, Bishop David Zubik remembered the friendship and prayerful support they offered to one another over the years and expressed the gratitude of the Pittsburgh community to Sr. Liguori for her life of selfless giving.
“She can never die. Her body might die, but her memory lives on. As long as there’s Jubilee Kitchen, there will always be Sister Liguori,” — David Betts, long time employee of Jubilee Kitchen
ANN MASON began a life of public service as a member of the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program (the domestic Peace Corps program) when she was a young adult. Then as wife and mother, Ann took on leadership roles in human services – Executive Director of Hunger Services Network and interim Executive Director of Lutheran Services in the Pittsburgh area to name just two.
Up to the time of her passing, Ann was busy preparing for the 2020 Racial Justice Summit to be held in January. She and her husband Major Mason were long time members of the Merton Center, active residents of the community and within their church, Community of Reconciliation in Oakland.
“Ann Mason was truly one of the most loyal, dedicated and committed people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with. She was my key partner with the work of the Black & White Reunion and its summits from the very beginning. I will personally miss her smile, humor, and humanity. She leaves a void which will never be filled.” –Tim Stevens, Black Political Empowerment Project.
“Ann, you represented strength, perseverance, wisdom, caring, God’s love, grace and mercy. You touched so many lives in ways they will always remember…my life is one of them. Both before and after my stroke, you were there with a listening ear, an encouraging word, a friendly smile and a warm hug. I will shed no tears because I know you are with our Lord and Savior celebrating your return home. Your work on earth has come to an end. As it is written in Matthew 25:21, “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’.” Grace and Peace.” –Audra V. Walker, President Greater Pittsburgh Business and Professional Women.
Joyce Rothermel was a long time friend of Sr. Liguori Rossner and Ann Mason a colleague in the work to eliminate hunger in Allegheny County.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 40 No. 10. December/January, 2019/2020. All rights reserved.