Sister Anthony Eileen Reidy reached the fabulous age of 102 on Monday, July 25, 2022. She is the oldest member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia congregation. Sister Anthony celebrated her birthday simply at Assisi House—the sisters’ retirement community in Aston, Pennsylvania—with balloons and a cake.
Born Margaret Reidy in County Limerick, Ireland, to Michael and Hanora Reidy, Sister Anthony Eileen entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 1939 and professed her first vows in 1945. In reflecting back on becoming a sister, Sister Anthony wrote for her 70th jubilee, “I am brought back to the day when Sister Pierre and Mother DePadua came to our area to speak to us about religious life. I attended the meeting and though I didn’t know the Sisters of St. Francis, I was very impressed by their kind, gentle approach and to hear them explain that they serve everybody—not just one group of people.” She decided to join the congregation and entered with other young women in Mallow. “We had lots of fun together even though we worked hard and learned much in how to become a Sister of St. Francis.”
In her ministry life, Sister Anthony served for 35 years in the Diocese of Trenton at St. Francis Hospital/Medical Center. She recalls, “The memories of my days working in the hospital cafeterias come to mind. Many of the young nursing students would confide in me because I was as young as they were and they found a friend in me. In fact, some have remained friends for many of my 70 plus years.” Sister Anthony is friendly and caring and tends to look for the needs in others, so it’s not surprising that she was also able to make friends and gain trust in her other ministries as well, including serving at St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia; St. Patrick Hospital, Co. Cork, Ireland; and St. Mary’s Home in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
In 2010, Sr. Anthony moved to Assisi House, where she serves in prayer and hospitality ministry. In addition to daily prayer and her service projects, Sister Anthony enjoys watching movies and listening to music. When asked about what being a Sister of St. Francis has meant to her, she wrote, “I feel it is a spiritual community—stable and caring. After leaving my family in Ireland and coming to America, I was able to shape my life and live out my hopes and dreams while strengthening my prayer life. I thank God for his goodness to me in helping me find this wonderful congregation,” as he has continued to guide her for her 102 years of life.
The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is a community of approximately 320 Catholic women religious who choose a Gospel way of life lived in community and uphold a long and honored tradition of loving God and being in relationships through loving service. We choose to live the Gospel in the prophetic spirit of Francis of Assisi and our foundress Mother Francis Bachmann. With Jesus Christ as Brother, we live as sister with one another, with the entire human family, and with all creation. Calling ourselves and one another to continuous conversion of heart, we commit ourselves to a life of contemplation, poverty, and humility. Seeking to participate in the Spirit’s action in the world, we direct our personal and corporate resources to the promotion of justice, peace, and reconciliation. www.osfphila.org