Sisters of Charity Celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week
By Lorraine Cooper, SC
Sister 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.
From one nurse to another, may God bless you and keep you well! Thank you for your service to so many over the years!
I remember Sister Miriam Anne Well. I graduated from St. Vincent’s SON, Staten island in 1966 (Sharon Keiper at the time). She was strict, but kind. One day she announced over the public address system in the hospital that all nursing students were to report to a classroom. We were lectured on our sloppy appearances and told to be more presentable. We need teachers like her for today’s nurses! It is because of the high ethical expectations set for us that i pursued a doctorate and am still focused on research ethics and moral reasoning. My focus is now on the inappropriate use of Medical Assistance in Dying in British Columbia, Canada (killing the elderly, denying them comfort and their preferred options in end-of-life care. Thanks to Sisters of Charity in SI, NY for their role-modeling and good teaching – the patient is the first priority. Thank you, Sister Anne!
Thank you for your kind words. Sister Miriam Anne will turn 100 in May!
Where can I send her a card of Happy Birthday and a “Thank you!” for all she has given to me as a person, a nurse, and a retired nursing instructor?
We will email her address to you. I just need to confirm her room number.
I just re-read my comment about Sister Miriam Anne from February. I wrote it with a heart filled with love, admiration and gratitude for all that Sister Miriam Anne gave to us in her many ways of teaching – in class and in her way of being. I hope that is what came across as when she called us from the units to address our appearances, it was not nasty, it was her way of saying – this is important – respect yourselves and respect your patients. Wishing I had told her so many things that were in my heart and mind. She is a treasure to me – a life’s blessing.
Thank you for sharing such lovely sentiments. Her students were always so important to her. She truly is a gift from God to us all!