We celebrate the life of Anna Desiderio, a life of zeal, enthusiasm, compassion and true joy. Family was so important in Anna’s life but family was not limited to her relatives. It included so many others as part of her family of sisters, associates, educators, administrators and her beloved students. In elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens, Holy Cross, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Anna gave students a thirst for learning and they could be happy and secure in her classroom. In high schools, Stella Maris as teacher of math and St. Angela Hall as Assistant Principal, Anna understood the challenges teen girls faced and guided them through with wisdom and care.
Her gifts as administrator brought her to serve as principal at St. Athanasius, Our Lady of Miracles and Sacred Heart St. Stephen, all in her beloved Brooklyn. Each ministry brought Anna into contact with children and parents who benefitted from her common sense, joy in living and deep concern for their well-being.
Anna lived the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph every day of her life, reflecting love of God and neighbor without distinction in a spirit of self-giving and joy. A congregational woman, Anna did whatever needed to be done and served as Coordinator of St. Joseph’s Convent, our motherhouse here in Brentwood for eight years. She brought her enthusiasm and humor in caring for sisters who were facing changes in their lives but continued to minister in new ways. Here in Maria Regina, Anna was a joy-filled and happy presence to all of the residents and their loved ones. It is only fitting that last week as we celebrated Founders Day for our congregation Anna joined with our sisters for an ice cream social and regaled all of us with her stories, mostly of Brooklyn, while we laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.
Anna could only do all of these things because she knew the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ in her own heart. Now we are confident that she is filled with the utter fullness of God and enjoys eternal peace.
Sister Anna Mildred Desiderio, CSJ died on October 21, 2016 in the 64th year of her religious life.