Loyola University Chicago

Gannon Center for Women and Leadership

Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM

Mary Ann Zollmann, BVM, (Mundelein College ’64) grew up in a family centered in faith and education—values that have shaped the direction of her life. Immediately after high school, she entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a community committed to education. In her 57 years as a BVM, she has lived out her faith as both learner and teacher.

Sister Zollmann’s formal education includes a BA degree with a major in French and a minor in religious studies from Mundelein College, master’s degrees in French literature from Purdue University and in religious education from the University of San Francisco, and a doctoral degree in spirituality from Duquesne University. Wanting nothing more than to communicate a vibrant spirituality to others, she spent 17 years teaching religious studies in secondary schools in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and St. Louis and 20 years at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa.

In 2000, Sister Zollmann was called to place her gifts more directly at the service of religious life and its mission both nationally and internationally: she was elected to the BVM leadership team, where she served for 12 years as vice president and president. She was also elected president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a position she held from 2001 to 2004. Thanks to the call and the opportunities of those years, Sister Zollmann traveled to be with her BVM sisters in Ecuador and Ghana, represent women religious in El Salvador, attend peace negotiations in Palestine and Israel, and sit down with church officials in Rome. Even as she carried the spirit alive in her to these experiences, her spirituality was deepened and expanded by what she learned from others.

Sister Zollmann continues to live out her lifelong connection between faith and education. She serves on the board of trustees of Loyola University Chicago and Clarke University Dubuque, enjoys writing and creating presentations on themes of spirituality, designs and facilitates retreats for a variety of lay and religious groups, and lives daily in a spirit of joy-filled gratitude.