Sister Alma Richardson, 90, teacher for 45 years

January 23, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

Sister Mary Alma Richardson, a member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence and teacher who loved one-on-one instruction, died Sunday of cardiac arrest in the nursing unit of her order's convent in Catonsville. She was 90.

Born Frances Maris Stella Richardson in Baltimore, Sister Alma devoted nearly 60 years to the Oblate Sisters, entering the order in Sept. 1942, and professing her vows in March 1944.

She taught elementary-age children in congregational schools for 45 years, including stints in St. Louis, where she earned a degree at Marillac College, specializing in reading; the District of Columbia; Chicago; and Asbury Park, N.J. Her work in the Baltimore area included an assignment as principal at the former St. Pius School from 1978 to 1979.

From 1951 to 1977, she was a reading consultant for the Archdiocese of Chicago. After her retirement in 1989, Sister Alma tutored children in remedial reading for two years at the Mount Providence Reading Center, until her health began to fail.

"She was a very spiritual woman," said Sister Celestina Johnson. "I worked with her at the reading center. She was very good with dealing one-on-one with the students."

Sister Naomi Smith, a high school teacher, said Sister Alma was very creative. "She was talented at dancing and interpretation," Sister Naomi said. "She would write plays. One sister mentioned that she gave a rendition of `The Creation' that was beautifully done."

Sister Alma was the oldest girl and second-oldest of nine children, said her brother, Joseph Claver Richardson, 79, of Northwest Baltimore. He said his sister was devoted to her work and was inspired to become a nun by the Missionary Sisters of Sacred Heart. "She was always interested in helping others, helping the family."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Mount Providence Convent, 701 Gun Road, Catonsville.

Other survivors include a sister, Lucille Crawford of Woodlawn, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

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