Sister Stephen Ann Zawacki, O.P.
Sister Stephen Anne was born in Houston, Texas to Helen and Steve Zawacki. Sister Stephen Anne is the youngest of three and attended All Saints Catholic School and St. Agnes Academy. She entered Sacred Heart Convent after graduating from St. Agnes Academy in 1959. Sister Stephen Anne remembers the sisters who taught her in school. “I had been with Dominican sisters in school my whole life. It is ultimately God who inspires you to religious life, but the sisters definitely had something to do with it. They were happy in what they were doing and I wanted that.” She remembers fondly Sister Mary Joseph Roach who taught her in the eighth grade and then served as her principal at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School when Sister Stephen Anne began teaching.
Sister Stephen Anne’s first teaching assignment was at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School in Houston, Texas where she taught first grade. She enjoyed teaching the young children and for fourteen years Sister Stephen Anne taught first grade at five other schools including St. Augustine Catholic School in Houston, Texas, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Galveston, Texas, St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Riverside, California, St. Christopher Catholic School in Houston, Texas and St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Houston, Texas. During these years of teaching Sister Stephen Anne attended and graduated from Dominican College with a Bachelor’s in English.
In 1975 Sister Stephen Anne was asked to be principal at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Riverside, California and served the community there for six years. In 1981 she became the Dean of Students at St. Agnes Academy. During her eight years as Dean of Students she studied toward a Master’s in Administration from the University of San Francisco, finishing the degree in 1987.
In 1989 she became principal at St. Anne Catholic School in Houston, Texas where she served that community for four years. In 1994 she spent a year teaching third grade at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Houston, Texas and then moved to Austin where she became Assistant Superintendent of Schools in the Austin Diocese. “I would visit all of the schools and really loved it.” After two years as Assistant Superintendent she served as principal and teacher at Dominican Academy in Austin, Texas and then in 2001 she spent a year teaching at Galveston Catholic School in Galveston, Texas. In 2002 Sister Stephen Anne went to teach in Texas City, Texas. “I made it full circle going back to teaching first grade again.” For the next eleven years she taught the first graders atOur Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Texas City, Texas.
During her years teaching, Sister Stephen Anne attended Loyola University in Los Angeles, California, University of California in Riverside, California and University of Houston in Houston, Texas where she received additional certifications and instruction.
One of the ministries Sister Stephen Anne has really enjoyed over the years is the girls’ summer camp sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Houston. For over a decade she has worked alongside other Dominican Sisters, teaching the young girls who attend the camp about the outdoors. “I really enjoy being there with the sisters. We work together teaching the girls about fishing, archery, and doing arts and crafts.” For Sister Stephen Anne the camp brings forth one of the things she loves most about being a Dominican sister. “I love community life and the companionship of the other sisters.”
Sister Stephen Anne has lived in Galveston, Texas for the past thirteen years. Last year she worked at the Kiddie Kampusdaycare taking care of the children there. “I really enjoyed it. I loved working with the babies in the nursery.” Sister Stephen Anne worked at the daycare until she took a full time position working as a receptionist for the fishing boat company, William’s Party Boat, scheduling fishing expeditions and answering fishing questions for the curious fisher people wanting to learn to fish. Sister Stephen Anne has been deep sea fishing since the 1980’s and she loves it. “I love being in Galveston where I am near the water. I would fish everyday if I could.” When she is not near the water she enjoys reading and yard work.
Interview with Sister Stephen Anne Zawacki, O.P . August 1, 2014.