A Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, she served with distinction as a nurse on the front lines of the American Civil War. Her work with the wounded and in health care in general caused her to be known as “Angel of the Battlefield” and “Florence Nightingale of America.” Her portrait hangs in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Mary Ellen O’Connell was born in Limerick, the daughter of William O’Connell and Catherine Murphy. In 1821, she emigrated with her family to Boston, and attended the Ursuline Academy in Charlestown, Massachusetts. On 5 June 1835 she entered the novitiate of the American Sisters of Charity in St. Joseph’s Valley, Maryland, founded by Saint Elizabeth Seton, and was professed in 1837, taking the name of Sister Anthony. Soon after, she went to Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sister Anthony arrived in Cincinnati in 1837 to begin her work at St. Peter’s Orphan Asylum and School…
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