The former Anna Marie Doyle was born on a farm near Guelph, one of the fifteen children of Michael F. Doyle and Catherine McDonald. The couple had met and married at Maynooth in Hastings County, Ontario, but early in their married life moved to the home in the Guelph area where their family grew up and were educated. One of the elder girls joined the Sisters of Loretto, was known as Sister Austin, and after a long religious life died at Loretto Abbey, Armour Heights, and Toronto.
Sister Mary Mechtilde entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Providence on December 8, 1913. After profession she completed her high school course at Maryvale Abbey, Glen Nevis, and then obtained professional training at Ottawa Teachers’ College.
For over thirty years she taught elementary grades in the dioceses of Kingston and Pembroke, serving at Smiths Falls, Perth, Belleville, and Arnprior. She spent a brief term at St. Joseph’s Vocational School, Winnipeg, doing remedial teaching. She had a special aptitude for helping children with learning difficulties.
Following a heart attack in 1951 she was obliged to retire from the classroom, but kept herself occupied with light duties at the Motherhouse for four or five years. Since that time until her death she was a patient in the Marian Infirmary, and endured many privations with remarkable patience. First her sight became gradually impaired until she could no longer read. However, after two or three years of this inconvenience she underwent surgery for cataracts with excellent results and she was able to read the smallest print. This was a boon for her, because by this time her hearing failed, and when it was difficult for her to carry on a conversation, she derived much solace and enjoyment from her reading. She had many favorites among the books and read and reread the spiritual books from which she had profited in her earlier religious life.
As the years advanced, her heart condition became more troublesome and more difficult to treat. Yet she remained mentally alert and was able to join from her bed in the celebration of the great feast of Christmas, 1970. But it was apparent that her condition was growing serious and on January 4th the doctor asked to have her taken to the hospital hoping some relief could be given her. The long drain on her strength, however, had been too much for her and she lived only a week. Her death came peacefully on January eleventh.
The funeral Mass was offered by His Grace Archbishop Wilhelm on January 14th, and as our chaplain Father Buckley was absent, Father Price from the Cathedral staff accompanied the body to the cemetery and recited the prayers at the grave. The honorary pall bearers were Sisters M. Alban, Electa, Ignatius and Clement.
Of her large family, only one sister survives, Miss Helen Doyle of Windsor, Ontario. Seven relatives, nieces and nephews, from the Detroit, Michigan area attended the funeral.
Sister Mary Mechtilde will be remembered by all who lived with her for her earnestness, her zeal in the classroom and her kindness to her pupils, her fidelity to every duty assigned her and especially to her spiritual exercises. We trust that her fifty-seven years of following closely the Master have merited for her His joyous “Well done”.