Sister Andre Dembowski’s creativity and enthusiasm in multiple ministries were apparent wherever she lived and served.
She decided at a young age to become a Catholic sister when she grew up, certain that God was calling her to religious life. Initially she entered the religious community of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville, Pennsylvania, with whom she had been a vowed member for more than a decade.
She taught in elementary schools for her first several years of religious life but realized that she was called to more direct service of impoverished persons. She connected with the Sisters of Mercy while engaged in ministry with them, drawn to their “responsible freedom.”
AS a Sister of Mercy, she was involved in retreat ministry, adult education, vocation ministry pastoral care, shelter/transitional housing and support for Mercy Association. She loved the opportunity of living in an 1831 House in inner city Baltimore for several years. Her various ministries took her to Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
She found time in her busy life to pursue religious studies at St. Charles Seminary in Philadelphia and at the Center for Peace and Justice in New York. After receiving a diagnosis of a life-threatening brain illness, Sister Andre, determined as always, continued her studies, earning certification in pastoral care, working with the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, proving to herself, “that my brain is continuing to work just fine!” As her illness worsened, Sister Andre moved to Mercy Springwell in Baltimore for assisted living care, and eventually to Stella Maris for skilled nursing care. Until the end of her life, she welcomed visitors, especially the Sisters of Mercy.