Sister M. Angel Larrea, math and language teacher

Cuban immigrant was a member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence who taught school for nearly 50 years

November 10, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Sister M. Angel Larrea, a member of the Oblate Sisters of Providence and a retired educator who taught in parochial schools for nearly 50 years, died from a massive stroke Oct. 31 at her order's Catonsville motherhouse. She was 91.

She was born and raised Maria Felicia Angela Larrea Dihigo in Jovellanos, Cuba. She attended the Oblate Sisters' San Jose School in Cardenas, Cuba, and, after graduation, continued her education at the Teaching Training Institute in Havana, where she earned a bachelor's degree.

In 1944, Sister Angel received a law degree from the University of Havana, and after practicing law, entered the Oblate Sisters in 1948.

After professing her final vows in 1961, Sister Angel served as acting principal at the Mother Consuella Clifford Academy in Cuba, where she also taught Spanish, mathematics, grammar and literature to grade-school students.

While teaching Spanish at Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart in Madison, Wis., from 1961 to 1964, she studied at Edgewood College and at Catholic University of America in Washington.

Sister Angel was assigned to Baltimore where she taught Spanish, algebra and geometry at St. Frances Academy high school from 1964 to 1966, when she joined the faculty of Holy Redeemer School in Miami, where she taught seventh graders.

From 1972 to 1978, she taught Spanish and English at the old Mount Providence College in Catonsville, and then spent five years in Costa Rica teaching adults and children English and business grammar at the Bi-National Center.

Sister Angel was an adult education teacher from 1990 to 1996 at the Gordon Bilingual Center in Washington, and from 1996 to 1998 was a tutor for two years at Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian School, also in Washington.

After returning to Baltimore in 1998, Sister Angel was a tutor at Mount Providence Reading and Math Center until stepping down in 2007 and retiring the next year.

"She enjoyed playing the piano and singing with her sisters. She was quite sociable," said Sister M. Celestina Johnson, also a member of the Oblate Sisters. "Games on the computer were another pastime for her."

Beulah Edwards, who worked in the health care unit's kitchen, said she enjoyed spending time with Sister Angel. "I loved all of the sisters because they teach you a lot, but there was something special about Sister Angel," said Mrs. Edwards, who lives in West Baltimore. "She used to call me 'Granny,' even though she's older than me."

"We spent a lot of time together. I enjoyed taking her out. We'd go to church together or the mall. Being around her was a lot of fun and when she played hymns on the piano, she was simply wonderful," Mrs. Edwards said.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Nov. 5 in the motherhouse chapel.

Surviving are two sisters, Carmen Vazguez of Silver Spring and Zoa Larrea of Cuba; and several nephews.

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