Sr. Anne - Age 90

Sister Anne Christina O'Sullivan

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Sister Anne Dies at Age 90

Sr. Anne Christina O'Sullivan

A Saint To Intercede for Us

To Read Other Tributes to Sr. Anne Click This Link


A Pilgrimage - A Saint for Intercessions

Upon her death, to honor and remember Sister Anne Christina O'Sullivan for her good deeds and her love in service, for two days, a pilgrimage was made to St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Norton, VA. As I personally sat with Sr. Julia Dennehy, as we kept vigil, for two full days the number that attended this wake seemed endless. There were so many people that Sr. Julia and I lost count. 

The faithful and the grateful came from all over Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania; and as far away as England, and Ireland. It was clear that our sweet Sr. Anne had touched a lot of lives and helped to heal a lot of souls. As they remembered her, many wept and some just bowed their heads in prayer.

Those that visited Sr. Anne, as she lay in state in her casket, told stories of how she had helped them or reminisced about how much they admired and loved her caring spirit. Sr. Anne's funeral was also well attended by those from all walks of life. The politicians, the doctors, the nurses, the lawyers, the bankers, people from every aspect of the community, they all loved her; and they all came to give thanks to God for giving us this sweet Irish “nun” of the Poor Servant of the Mother of God, Sr. Anne Christina O'Sullivan.

At the funeral, the Most Reverend, Bishop Walter F. Sullivan said, "Sr. Anne is a saint and now she watches over us. When you say your prayers, you can ask her to intercede on your behalf."

Sr. Anne Christina O’Sullivan was a true lady of grace who lived her life unselfishly. Her works will live on and she will always be remembered!

With Respect and God's Love Always - Denise Gabriele

'The Hospital will continue to live her legacy’

By Suzanne Tate - Coalfield Progress Managing Editor - October - 2000

Sister Anne Christina O'Sullivan was still a teenager when she decided her life calling was to become a nun and join the Poor Servants of the Mother of God in her native Ireland.

It is that kind of certainty and focus that led her to Norton to be one of the original sisters who founded St. Mary’s Hospital more than 50 years ago.

Sister Anne, 90, died Friday at the St. Mary’s Convent in Norton. She was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer about a year ago.

"I'm of the feeling that Sister Anne’s presence will always be here,” St. Mary’s Hospital administrator Gary DelForge said Monday. The associates hate to see her go, but her presence will always be here with them.

Bob Isaac, chairman of the hospital’s advisory board, said Sister Anne was a driving force behind the hospital throughout her life.

“She was in control at the hospital,” Isaac said Monday. “If she was against something, it wouldn’t have happened. Everyone had respect for what she believed in.”

Isaac said Sister Anne was respected, too, for her vast medical knowledge. As a registered nurse she worked in a variety of departments in the hospital along with serving as administrator from 1958-1985 and as president of the hospital board from 1970-1988.

“She has passed on, but the hospital will continue to live her legacy.” Isaac said. “Her reputation, and her insistence that no one be denied medical treatment based on their ability to pay, will live on.”

Isaac called Sister Anne “a strong woman of strong faith,” who dispelled myths about nuns and Catholicism. "I'm sure when Sister was still a teenager when she decided Anne's presence will always be Isaac said Sister Anne was Anne came here, no one had hardly seen a Catholic nun in a habit, much less one with an Irish accent,” he said. “Because of those sisters, I think people gained a greater understanding of the Catholic Church.”

Joyce Payne executive director of the Wise County/Norton chamber of commerce recalled Sister Anne’s delight at receiving the 1996 Special Recognition Service Award.

The award recognizes citizens for excellence in their vocation.

"She was honored to win," Payne said, "but we were honored that she stayed in Wise County all these years. She was the driving force at St. Mary's, a wonderful person and a true humanitarian."

Payne remembered Sister Anne being asked why she had stayed in Norton for all her life. "It was God's doing," Payne recalled her saying.

"She was so pleased to receive that award," Payne said, "and so many people were happy for her."


Sister Anne was interviewed in 1998, when the hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary. .

She recalled traveling to America in 1947 aboard the Queen Mary and being seasick most of the trip.

From the port in New York, she and four other nuns traveled to High Point, N.C., where they established a nursing home. But not long after they had been in America, they received word through another diocese that a clinic was for sale in Norton.

Sister Anne said the idea to buy the clinic was almost dismissed. The women had only been in America for a short time and the church didn't know if the venture would be successful. But after consideration, a decision was made to travel to Norton and talk to Dr. Noah Short and his wife, who owned the Norton Clinic, Sister Anne and Sister Patrice initially traveled to Norton and the church determined that it would help fund the purchase of the clinic. The nuns first lived in a house on Oak Avenue.

Later, they moved in with the nurse in the yellow house on the corner of Virginia Avenue and 10th Street and set to work. Most of the nuns, including Sister Anne, also were trained nurses, who worked alongside the nurses in the new 48-bed hospital.

Sister Anne's stay was to have been for live years, "but they never reassigned me. I don't guess they will now," she said at the time.

'I'm just grateful that the Lord sent me here and I appreciate the people of this community. We truly have been blessed.” Sister Anne Christina O'Sullivan, from a 1998 interview

She saw the hospital grow from the clinic on Virginia Avenue to a large complex located off East Park Avenue. She was modest about her own role, but proud for the hospital's accomplishments.

"I think people who know me, know I'm not interested in publicity," she said in 1998. ''I'm just grateful that the Lord sent me here and I appreciate the people of this community. We truly have been blessed."


Sister Anne, a native of County Kerry, Ireland, became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988.

Along with the chamber of commerce award, she also received her 50-year service pin from the hospital in 1998. In 2000 she was awarded the Pioneer Nurse Award from the Virginia Nursing Association.

She is survived by sisters Breeda Young of Paterson, N.J. and Mollie O'Connor of New York, N.Y., brothers Timothy O'Sullivan of New York, N.Y. and Michael O'Sullivan of Ireland, several nieces, nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at II a.m. today The St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Norton, Chief celebrant will be Bishop Walter Sullivan of the Richmond diocese. Burial will follow in the Highland Cemetery in Norton.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sister Anne Christina' O'Sullivan Scholarship Fund. P. O. Box 620, Norton, Va. 24273

Source of the Information

This Article was provided by and printed in Printed by the Coalfield Progress - October 28, 2000