Cover photo for Sister Ann Kessler OSB's Obituary
Sister Ann Kessler OSB Profile Photo
1928 Sister Ann 2023

Sister Ann Kessler OSB

January 28, 1928 — February 1, 2023

Sister Ann Kessler OSB, 95, died on Wednesday, February 1, 2023. A wake service will be held at 7:00 PM on Friday, February 3, 2023 and the Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 4, both in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel in Yankton, South Dakota. Burial will be in the Monastery cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Yankton.

Ann Elizabeth was born January 28, 1928, the second child to George and Elizabeth (Sahli) Kessler of Aberdeen, South Dakota. She attended St. Mary’s School. Beginning in the eighth grade, she worked at her family’s corner grocery store as a stocker, clerk, and delivery girl. She graduated from Central High School in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Ann entered Sacred Heart Monastery in 1945. She became a novice on June 23, 1946, and received the name Verona. Later she reclaimed her baptismal name. She made her first vows on June 24, 1947, and final profession was in June 1950. The following year she became ill and spent fourteen months convalescing in Canon City, Colorado. After her recovery, she spent four years teaching at Mount Marty High School while completing her degree at Mount Marty College, graduating in 1953. In 1957, she obtained a Master’s degree from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska and taught elementary school in Webster, South Dakota, and Lincoln, Nebraska. She graduated in June 1963 with a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, and became an instructor at Mount Marty College; her tenure lasting thirty-seven years. 

Some highlights of her life were publishing her book, Benedictine Men and Women: Their Roots and History in 1996 after extensive research in Europe, and being asked to chair the Governor’s Council on the Aging. S. Ann was a member of the State Criminal Justice Commission, and she was a co-chair of Governor Kneip’s Citizens’ Committee for a study on Correctional Institutions. In September 2012, she was inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame for her lifetime achievements.

S. Ann was a scholar, educator, and social activist. She took great pleasure when she could influence the political perspectives of others and was an outspoken person on matters of justice for the poor of society. This passion involved a campaign run for South Dakota State Senate. In her advanced years, she spent hours reading newspapers and staying current on world affairs, encouraging others to do the same. 

She cherished the time spent with alumni when they dropped in for a visit, many coming from across the United States several times a year. She was proud to be a part of their lives and considered them extended family. 

S. Ann is survived by her Benedictine community and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, Bob and Ken.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sister Ann Kessler OSB, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Wake Service

Friday, February 3, 2023

Starts at 7:00 pm

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Funeral Service

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

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