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For Sister Ignatia: Our Everlasting Gratitude

SISTER MARY IGNATIA, one of the finest friends that we of AA shall ever know, went to her reward Friday morning, April first, nineteen hundred sixty-six. Next day, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine opened their Mother House to visitors. More than one thousand of them signed the guest book in the first two hours. These were the first of many who during the two days following came to pay their respects to Sister.

On Monday at high noon the Cathedral at Cleveland could barely seat its congregation. Friends in the city and from afar attended the service. The Sisters of Charity themselves were seen to be seated in a body, radiant in their faith. Together with families and friends, we of AA had come there in expression of our gratitude for the life and works of our well-loved Sister. It was not really a time for mourning, it was instead a time to thank God for His great goodness to us all.

In its affirmation of the faith, the Mass was of singular beauty; the more so to many, since it was spoken in English. The eulogy, written and read by a close friend of Sister’s, was a graphic and stirring portrayal of her character, and of her deeds. There was a most special emphasis upon the merits of AA, and upon the part co-founder Dr. Bob had played in Sister’s great adventure among us. We were assured as seldom before that those who dwell in the fellowship of the Spirit need never be concerned with barriers, or with boundaries.

For those thousands of men, women and children whose lives had been directly touched and illumined by Sister, it would perhaps not be needful to write this account of her. Of Sister, and of the Grace she brought to all these, they already know better than anyone else. But to the many others who have never felt her presence and her love, it is hoped this narrative may be something for their special inspiration.

Born in 1889 of devout and liberty-loving parents, Sister entered into this world at Shanvilly, County Mayo, of the Emerald Isle. The famed poet Yeats, born nearby, once remarked that the strange beauty of County Mayo had been specially designed to raise up poets, artists, heroes and saints. We can little doubt that even when Ignatia was aged six, and her parents had emigrated from Ireland to Cleveland, she was already beginning to manifest many a sterling virtue. View the complete tribute of AA to Sister Ignatia here or visit