Carmelite followed calling first as a Franciscan sister

Sister Mary Alice Grace, OCD, who served 80 years of religious life as a Franciscan and as a Carmelite, died Aug. 14. She was 99.

She was born July 26, 1920, in Pittsburgh to Eleanor and Eugene Grace. Mary Alice and her sister Mildred attended St. Scholastica School in Aspinwall, Pa. She began praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament during recess and on her way to school and after, according to her obituary from the Carmelites. She was taught by the Sisters of St. Francis. After her father died when she was 12 years old, she began attending daily Mass and by 13, she went to Mount Alvernia Prep School. Though she felt called toward a cloistered religious life, she was told it was a temptation, her obituary stated.

In 1937, she was a novice of the Sisters of St. Francis and made her first profession in 1939. Sister Mary Alice attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and taught for about 10 years in Pennsylvania Catholic schools.

Still feeling called to cloistered life, she transferred to the Carmel of St. Teresa in Little Rock on Dec. 21, 1950, and made her solemn vows Dec. 22, 1951. Over 68 years, Sister Mary Alice served a term as prioress, subprioress and several as a novice mistress, her obituary stated. From 1992 to 2001, she helped the Carmel of New Orleans, serving as prioress. At the Little Rock monastery, she baked, played the organ and helped with music, tended to the habits and tunics, gardened and corresponded with those asking for prayers, her obituary stated. In a 2014 Arkansas Catholic article celebrating her 75th jubilee, she said, “I have always been happy and long for others to find this happiness here also.”

There are no immediate survivors.

A vigil and rosary were held Aug. 16 and a Mass of Christian Burial Aug. 17 at the Carmelite Monastery Chapel.

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