By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF | Published November 17, 2022
ST. LOUIS—Sister Anna Bridget Kearns, CSJ, died on Nov. 3 at St. Joseph Manor at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis. She was 92 years old and a Sister of St. Joseph for 74 years.
She was born on May 19, 1930 in Augusta to Timothy Joseph and Johanna Agnes (Bartley) Kearns.
Sister Anna Bridget, baptized Anna Patricia, was the seventh of nine children. She grew up in a loving Irish, Catholic family and attended Mount St. Joseph Elementary and High Schools, staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Her mother always prayed that one of her daughters would become a sister and was delighted when Anna responded to the call.
Anna was received into the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1948. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Fontbonne College in St. Louis in 1959, and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu in 1969. Further studies included Xavier University in New Orleans and Christian Brothers University in Memphis.
Sister Anna Bridget ministered in elementary education for more than 55 years, including service in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and in Savannah, Hawaii, St. Louis and Boston. She served 50 of those as a teacher and five as an administrator.
The first 10 years of her ministry work was in Georgia, beginning in 1950. In the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Sister Anna taught at Sacred Heart School (1950-52, 1957-59). In the Diocese of Savannah, she taught at Sacred Heart School in Savannah (1952-53, 1959-60), St. Francis Xavier School in Brunswick (1953-55), St. John the Evangelist School in Valdosta (1955-57).
In 1960, Sister Anna moved to the Hawaii Island of Oahu. During nine years of service there, she taught at St. Anthony School in Kailua and St. Joseph School in Waipahu.
She came back to the mainland and went on to teach in St. Louis at Holy Guardian Angels School and St. Roch School. Sister Anna then moved to the state of Massachusetts and served in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury where she taught at St. Joseph Community School for the next eight years.
In 1981, she returned to Atlanta to serve at Our Lady of Lourdes School as a teacher (1981-83) and principal (1983-88).
In 1989, after being on sabbatical for nearly a year, Sister Anna Bridget continued teaching in Atlanta at St. Anthony School until 1993. She then went back to St. Francis Xavier School, where she fulfilled her ministry as a teacher.
Sister Anna Bridget retired in 2006. She remained in Brunswick and served as a volunteer for 13 years. She ministered with people who were homeless, in hospice care and shut-ins. Once a week, she would spend a day at St. Francis, helping the third grade teacher whom she taught in third grade.
During her spare time, she loved to spend time walking at the beach and with friends. When celebrating her 70th jubilee in 2019, Sister Anna said her 70 years as a CSJ had been a blessing for her, and expressed gratitude to the community, family and friends who supported her along the way. Since 2019, Sister Anna resided at Nazareth Living Center in St. Louis, carrying out a mission of prayer and presence.
A memorial Mass for Sister Anna Bridget will be Monday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. at Nazareth Living Center Chapel in St. Louis. Her cremains will be buried at Resurrection Cemetery. The Mass will be available to watch via livestream at https://video.ibm.com/channel/csjsl-general.
Memorial contributions may be sent to: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province, 6400 Minnesota Ave., St. Louis, MO 63111-2899 or online at www.csjsl.org/ways-to-give/make-a-donation.