Vera D. Guttmann

Vera D. Guttmann, a former Sister of Mercy and educator whose academic interests were sociology and Eastern religions, died Monday of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. She was 82 and had lived in the Glendale section of Baltimore County.

Born Ruth Helen Duvall in Baltimore, she was raised in Govans and Waverly. After graduating from Seton High School in 1942, she entered the Sisters of Mercy and received the religious name Sister Mary Vera.


She taught from 1946 to 1948 at Mount Washington Country School and from 1948 to 1949 at a parochial school in Mobile, Ala.

Dr. Guttmann earned a bachelor's degree from Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington and a master's degree in sociology from Catholic University of America in 1951.


From 1951 to 1961, she taught sociology at Mount St. Agnes, then spent four years at Fordham University in New York City, where she earned a doctorate in the sociology of religion.

During the 1960s, Dr. Guttmann took additional religious courses at an ashram in India.

In 1966, she returned to Mount St. Agnes and taught there until its consolidation with Loyola College, where she continued teaching sociology until 1977.

Dr. Guttmann left her order in 1977 and two years later, married Mark Guttmann, a physics professor at LaSalle College in Philadelphia. He died in 2000.

While living in Philadelphia, she taught at Villanova University. After returning to Baltimore in the early 1990s, she joined the faculty of what is now Towson University, where she was a member of the Auburn Society.

At her death, she was teaching at the Mount St. Agnes Theological Center for Women in Mount Washington.

She attended services at the Newman Center at Towson University and enjoyed reading and participating in discussion and meditation groups.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Stella Maris Hospice, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road in Timonium.


Surviving are a sister, Alma Duvall Meagher of Homeland; and many nieces and nephews.