"Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise. For God is king over all the earth; sing hymns of praise." (Psalm 47: 7-8)
In the city of Chicago, Illinois, a baby girl was born the day before Christmas in 1925 to Jacob and Anne Swies who had immigrated to the United States from Poland some years earlier. This little girl was the couple’s seventh child and they named her Evelyn. On January 10, 1926, Evelyn was baptized at St. Pancratius Church in Chicago. Later Evelyn and her six older siblings were joined by three more children bringing the Swies family to a total of ten children; four boys and six girls. Evelyn’s father worked as a molder and as you can imagine, Evelyn’s mother was kept very busy as a mother and homemaker.
On August 15, 1951, at the age of 26, Evelyn entered the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago along with five other women. Evelyn became a novice on August 12, 1952 and received the name Sister Mary Vincent. Two years later, Sister made her First Profession of Vows and on August 12, 1959, Sister M. Vincent made her Perpetual Profession.
During her postulancy Sister served at Guardian Angel Day Care in Chicago. As a second year novice, Sister served in the residents’ dining room at St. Joseph Home in Chicago, but after a month, she was sent to teach kindergarten at St. Hedwig School in Gary, Indiana. Sister continued in the field of education teaching second grade at Sacred Heart School in Gary, Indiana for a year and in 1958 Sister was assigned to care for the 2 1/2 year olds at Guardian Angel Day Care. Sister M. Vincent loved children very much and she taught them many things, especially about Jesus and His love for them. Sister was also very practical and taught the children how to scrape their dirty ishes after each meal and to stack them appropriately. Sister even learned to play the guit1ar so that she could accompany the children as they sang a variety of songs.
While at Guardian Angel, Sister also served a year as Local Minister and six years as Assistant Local Minister. Sister M. Vincent remained at Guardian Angel Day Care until 1990, a total of 32 years. During this time Sister earned her Associate in Arts degree in Child Development - Pre-School Education. For many years afterwards, Sister kept her knowledge current and innovative by attending various workshops specializing in the education of young children.
Sister M. Vincent learned to drive so that she could help out when necessary. It was not her favorite task, but she did it out of love; the way Sister did all things. She loved to pray and she would spend hours each evening in prayer. She also loved music. Her favorite was the music played by a Mariachi band.
In 1990, Sister was assigned to St. Joseph Home in Chicago where she served for ten years; five years full time in the Activity Department and then five years as a part-time resident visitor. On September 22, 2009, Sister Vincent retired to Our Lady of Victory Convent in Lemont.
After 66 years of religious life and at the age of 91, Sister M. Vincent quietly left this earth early in the morning of Saturday, April 8th, to be with Jesus whom she loved and served with all her heart.