Whenever Sisters of Charity of New York think of Sister Ann Costello, they think of her as “always being available.” Sister Ann was appointed Sisters of Charity Health Coordinator when the Congregation numbered 550 sisters and she was available 24/7 — for 17 years! She accompanied sisters to doctor consultations, surgery, emergency room visits, and more. Whatever the need, Sister Ann was there.
Sister Ann studied at Pace University, where she earned a degree in Business Administration. She subsequently returned to Pace University for nursing, becoming a registered nurse in 1977. Sister Ann served at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan, providing care in orthopedics, cardiac care and general surgery. During that time, she continued her studies, earning a BS at Pace University and a master’s degree in Public Health Administration at Long Island University.
Sister Ann also worked at St. Clare’s Hospital in Manhattan, where she ministered to patients who had AIDS with kindness and compassion. She later served as Director at Siena Hall Dominican Convent Infirmary in Sparkill, N.Y.
As Sisters of Charity Health Coordinator, Sister Ann focused on evaluating sisters’ needs. In conjunction with Leadership, she assisted sisters in relocating to a living environment where they could receive the level of care required. She remained as Health Coordinator until after the Convent of Mary the Queen closed and sisters were relocated to their new homes. She retired in 2017.
In 2018, Sister Ann was awarded the Elizabeth Seton Medal by the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the College’s highest honor. Then-president, Dr. Charles L. Flynn, said the following:
Ann Costello, self-effacing, tough, masterful, and kind, you exemplify the Mission of the Sisters of Charity and the values of the College of Mount Saint Vincent…. Like Louise de Marillac, you found your ministry in serving those in great need. Like Louise and Vincent de Paul, you found hope and the face of God in all those you served. Like Elizabeth Seton, you sustain God’s love in relationship…. Your sisters dedicated their lives in selfless service to us. You have dedicated your life’s work to them, ensuring the integrity of their care with respect and compassion…. On your Golden Jubilee (2015), you shared the words of Pope Francis. Following God’s will means “…entering His great work of mercy and kindness…the work of forgiveness and love.”
In addition to her work in health care, Sister Ann served as Secretary of the Congregation from 1992 to 1996.
Notwithstanding “retirement,” Sister Ann is still available to every sister and fills in for the supervising nurse at Mount Saint Vincent Convent when needed.
Sister Ann has used her gifts and skills to provide advice, assistance, and care for many years. The Congregation is forever grateful for her countless contributions and her wonderful and generous spirit.
By Sr. Elizabeth Vermaelen