Sr. Mary Ernest Rothe, BVM

Born: Aug. 19, 1927


(first): March 19, 1949

(final): Aug. 15, 1954

Service in the Diocese of Phoenix:

  • 1949-51: St. Agnes
  • 1973-74: St. Matthew
  • Unknown: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Died: March 5, 2018

Memorials: Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52003, or online.

Sr. Mary Ernest Rothe, BVM, may have ranked among the nation’s longest-serving sisters. The one-time educator in the Diocese of Phoenix died March 5 at Caritas Center in Dubuque, Iowa. She was 90.

Longtime Valley Catholics might recognize Sr. Mary Ernest’s name from her brief time at St. Agnes (1949-51) where she taught while still in formation herself. Sr. Mary Ernest, a native of Burbank, California, was born Aug. 19, 1927 and entered the BVM Congregation Sept. 8, 1946, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

She professed final vows Aug. 15, 1954, the feast of the Assumption, and proceeded to serve in a handful of schools throughout southern California as well as Stockton, California; Chicago; Kansas City, Missouri; and Tucson. She spent the 1973-74 school year at St. Matthew School in Phoenix and an unknown period at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tempe. Some of her time in California was also as parish director of religious education and tutor.

Sr. Mary Ernest was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Fr. James A. Rothe. She is survived by brothers Ernest R. (Jean) Rothe, Port Ludlow, Washington, and Frank A. Rothe, Sun Valley, California; a sister, Lorraine (Richard) Schneider, Newbury Park, California; nieces; nephews; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 71 years.