By NICHOLE GOLDEN, Editor | Published January 11, 2024
CAMP SPRINGS, Maryland—Sister Hanna Rezan Abraham Mehanzel, FSA, died Sunday, Jan. 7, in Maryland. A Daughter of St. Anne, Sister Rezan served the Archdiocese of Atlanta as a delegate for religious.
She was born in May 1951 in Segheneity, Eritrea, to Ato Abrha Mehanzel and Weizero Abeba Ketema. She made her final religious vows in September 1977 and then taught elementary school in Eritrea and Ethiopia. She was sent to Rome for further study in 1983, then served as religious superior of her community. She completed her nursing education and was a director of the Mokanissa Health Center in Sidamo, Ethiopia for one year.
From 1991 to 2000, Sister Rezan served as provincial superior of the order’s province Immaculate Sacred Heart of Mary in Ethiopia, dedicated to services for the poor and orphaned, including the war-orphaned. She designed and organized several associations and health service centers.
The Daughters of St. Anne first came to Washington, D.C. to serve the East African Catholic community nearly 25 years ago. Their mission is centered on teaching catechism, culture and language to children of Eritrean immigrants and ministering to teens, adults and senior citizens. They also serve in the Atlanta area.
Sister Rezan served as the delegate for religious beginning in 2021 in Atlanta, and then later shared the duty with Brother Nicholas Wolfla, who was named to oversee the Office of the Delegate for Religious in 2022. The office is the liaison between the archdiocese and the scores of religious orders involved in education, social justice and parish work.
The Visitation Monastery in Snellville, home to the cloistered nuns of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, was Sister Rezan’s first official stop in her duties as delegate.
Mother Teresa Maria Kulangara, superior of the Visitation Monastery, said Sister Rezan told her she wanted to begin her ministry as liaison with them praying for her. The Visitation Sisters are a contemplative order, focused on prayer.
Sister Rezan then visited the Missionaries of Charity in Atlanta because of their work with the poor.
“She always talked about how she loved the poor,” said Mother Teresa Maria. She said Sister Rezan always looked for opportunities to serve those in need.
When the cook for the Visitation Monastery had her marriage blessed in the chapel there, it was Sister Rezan who picked out the wedding dress after a trip to Macy’s with the bride.
“It was perfect,” recalled Mother Teresa Maria.
The Visitation Sisters last saw Sister Rezan Aug. 18, 2023, at a healing Mass for her. Sister Rezan shared with the sisters a few days prior that she was facing some health issues and would be returning to her order’s convent in Maryland.
“She was very selfless,” said Mother Teresa Maria.
The funeral service will be at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, Camp Springs, Maryland on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. The burial will be Jan. 13, at 1 p.m. at Resurrection Cemetery in Clifton, Maryland.