Sister Mary Anita Saffran, SSND
Dec. 22, 1929 - Oct. 28, 2020
Born on a snowy December day at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Md., Mary Anita was the first child of George Joseph and Teresa Roeder Saffran. Mary Anita was baptized Jan. 5, 1930 in the Church of Fourteen Holy Martyrs, Baltimore. A brother, George Theodore, and a sister, Anne Virginia, fulfilled Anita’s desire for siblings.
Anita attended St. Benedict School, where she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Anita chose to study the academic-commercial course during her high school years at the Institute of Notre Dame. She was especially talented in the musical activities: singing in the choral group and playing the violin in the school orchestra. After graduation, Anita worked for Sun Life insurance Company.
In 1949, Anita applied for entrance to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Candidature. Due to the great need for teachers, Candidate Mary Anita taught at St. Wenceslaus School, Baltimore for two years. She said, “learning the skills of classroom management from the Sisters” enabled her to teach the second graders.
Anita was received into the novitiate on July 17, 1951 and was given her baptismal name, Mary Anita. She professed her first vows on Aug. 2, 1952 and “experienced being sent on mission” to St. Leo’s School, Irvington, N.J.
Moving from elementary to junior high classes, Anita became a teacher of business subjects. Over a period of 15 years, Sister Anita taught junior high classes in numerous states, including Pennsylvania and New York. She spent 13 years instructing high school math classes at Archbishop Keough High School, Baltimore. She was an adjunct professor at local Baltimore colleges during the 1980s until she became the Provincial Council Secretary. A specialist on the provincial computer network, Anita worked part time as SSND database coordinator and on database entry in the province archives.
Sister Anita received advanced education at Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in 1964 and a Master of Arts in Secondary Education with a minor in Mathematics in 1978.
Sister Mary Anita was very much her own person. A woman of many talents, she was especially musical. She was a long-time member of the Handel Choir of Baltimore. She was kind, friendly and helpful. Always positive, she enjoyed questioning and sharing opinions with others. In her later years, Anita enjoyed driving and accompanying Sisters to appointments.
Sister Anita died on Oct. 28, 2020 at Villa Assumpta. Burial took place on Nov. 2 at Villa Maria Cemetery, Glen Arm, Md. A Memorial Mass to celebrate the life of Sister Mary Anita will take place at a later date. Sister Anita is survived by her brother, G. Theodore Saffran and his daughter, Lisa Marie Benton, her husband, David and their three children, and sister-in-law, Patricia Lou Curtis and family. She is predeceased by her sister, A. Virginia Saffran.
-Jeanne Hildenbrand SSND