Humble St. Catherine mother wins Regina Matrum
To serve as Jesus did. That’s how Kelly Maurin described her mother-in-law Anne Maurin, the 2012 Regina Matrum recipient who will be honored for her devotion to family and church May 14 at 7 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Metairie.
“She has a beautiful blend of gentleness, reverence, patience and, when needed, firmness,” as a mother, Mount Carmel Sister Angele Sadlier said. “It is admirable to witness how lovingly her children interact with her. Her home is a center of peace. It makes me recall Jesus’ saying that if we drink of his living water, out of us will also flow springs of living water.”
These are but a few observations from a slew of letters submitted by nuns, priests, neighbors, friends and relatives on why this mother of seven and “Mumsie” to 14 grandchildren (the 15th due any day) should receive this cherished award from the Council of Catholic School Cooperative Clubs.
How she became a mother
In reading the letters and talking to Maurin, the harmony of life in her family, faith and community is attributable to her trust in God. She moved from her hometown in Topeka, Kan., to Louisiana after falling in love and marrying a dashing soldier she met in a choir at the Strategic Air Command U.S. Air Force Base outside Topeka. They have been lifelong champions for each other.
“I could see in Anne what Joseph must have seen in Mary,” Tony Maurin said of his wife. “I am grateful for this woman, Anne, God has given me.”
Anne Maurin experienced love of family and faith growing up in Kansas through her father, Ed Fagan, an active Knights of Columbus and Holy Name Society member who often drove 60 miles with the children to visit his mother, who welcomed them with open arms and a table full of food. She also saw her mother, Helen Fagan, care for her own mother after she broke her hip.
Little did Maurin know she would reciprocate after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her son Anthony Maurin III mentioned how watching his mother’s patient care for his grandmother instilled the Catholic faith in him and his siblings.
Having a large family is characteristic of Regina Matrum recipients, which Maurin attributes to trust in the Lord.
“It’s that faith coming into play,” she said. “You have faith in the Lord. He is not going to give you more than you can handle.”
But it meant sacrifices for the Maurins, especially since she was a homemaker and her husband, a Loyola graduate with a physics degree, became an engineer for WYES and then WWL TV. They did what they had to – even selling Miracle Maid cookware together at night, Anne teaching piano to neighborhood children and preparing hamburgers every way she could – to assure a Catholic education for their children at St. Catherine, Jesuit and St. Mary’s Dominican.
“A Catholic education is basic training of faith, hope and charity and the Ten Commandments,” she said.
Love of neighbor was evident in every aspect of their lives, especially through her volunteerism at St. Catherine since 1969. Her parish work – serving at Pre-Cana conferences and the Renew program with Tony, being a cantor at weekday Masses, a lector, greeter, adorer at adoration chapel – earned her the Order of St. Louis medallion. The couple also has been active in a civic organization, and Anne Maurin started a rosary group with friends 15 years ago.
“Mom is very humble and doesn’t seek recognition for all the work she does for her family, her community and St. Catherine of Siena Parish,” Angelle Maurin Buckley said. “ She is the most kind, loving, thoughtful, giving, patient woman I know.”
Of all she does, what’s closest to her heart is distributing Communion to homebound Catholics.
“These people are very inspiring; they can’t get out to Mass but still want to receive the Lord,” Maurin said.
The ruse to present the award
Maurin was shocked March 11 to learn she was this year’s Regina Matrum winner. She was told her granddaughter was receiving an altar service award at the 11 a.m. Mass. When Father Eugene Jacques uttered her name, she became so weak-kneed that Tony said he had to steady her.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Maurin said. “I still don’t understand why. There are so many others that have done more than I. ... I look forward to rubbing shoulders with these ladies and continuing to learn and appreciate my faith, my parish, my friendships and my children. There is so much we can do with our children and grandchildren to influence them to keep the faith, to know that no matter what, God is good.”
Faith and constant prayer have calmed many a storm in her life. She recalls having recited a rosary and then seeing her son return safely after working in the Gulf of Mexico during a hurricane. She prayed to Our Lady of Prompt Succor during Hurricane Katrina when she and Tony stayed behind with their home, serving as their neighborhood’s “command central.”
“We became really good friends during Katrina,” she said. When the storm turned east, Maurin knew “that the Lord heard my prayers.”
Maurin said many individuals inspired her in her faith. As a young bride at St. Raphael Parish, she looked up to Rosemary Favaloro and Claire Menard, who were Regina Matrums. At St. Catherine, she was inspired by Tina D’Antoni and Ruth DiLeo.
“I vowed that I would help Tina in every effort,” Maurin said. “She did so much so generously. That’s what I am doing to this day. I haven’t come anywhere near being like her, but I’ve helped her in her efforts.”
But it’s been her outward expression of faith that influenced others.
“There is no doubt in my mind that having older, wiser and faith-filled Catholic women in our lives to mentor us and lead the way is a tremendous source of encouragement and strength when we, too, are asked to step up and assume challenging roles in our families and communities,” Ann Stevens, Regina Matrum ’09, said. “Anne Maurin has spent her entire married life giving this beautiful example to all – of living out her vocation as wife and mother in sincere, joyful service to God and to the many souls he has entrusted to her care.”
Christine Bordelon can be reached at cbordelon@clarion herald.org.