National Catholic Sisters Week Banner

Sisters of Charity Celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week


By Lorraine Cooper, SC

Sister Miriam Ann BrennanSister Miriam Anne happily began her ministry as a Sister of Charity as a third-grade teacher at St. Paul’s School in Brooklyn. In 1944 she was sent to study nursing at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. That led to many happy years at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, especially in obstetrics. In 1957 she was missioned to Staten Island as Director of Nursing.There she found much joy in the fact that all—sisters, staff, students, and patients—were like a family. This helped her recall how her mother was always helping young families in their building, particularly newborns and young children, and they would pray for them with the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit, which she learned in the fourth grade.

In 1966, open to the Spirit, she became Health Coordinator to the entire community, a ministry that she carried out with her common-sense and positive attitude toward life, her wit, and her compassion. This attitude followed her to St. Joseph’s Hospital and later as Nursing Administrator at the Convent of Mary the Queen.

For the last seven years at the Convent of Mount Saint Vincent, and now retired, Sr. Anne brings her health expertise and her enthusiasm for life to all who live at the convent. Many of the new sisters are known to her, so she is a bridge for them as they adjust to the new setting and have questions about how to take care of their medical needs. She speaks of herself “as an old shoe in the closet: “One which people take out when they want comfort.” This is a continuation of her mission as a nurse and a sister friend.

As tasks become fewer, Sr. Anne finds her prayer life deepening. Still guided by the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit, she feels drawn into her rosary meditations on Elizabeth, Anna, and Simeon. Accepting her limitations and grateful for all the ministries that the community invited her to do, she finds she has more time to pray for the living and the dead, but especially for young families. With these, she takes every chance to keep in contact and support them in any way she can. This she learned from her mother and feels that this is her “mission of charity dream” to be lived into the future.