Sister Anne Lorraine Hanna, CSJ
Nov 1, 2021
We come together as a community to celebrate Sister Anne Lorraine Hanna who creatively and generously lived life to the fullest as a Sister of St. Joseph for 66 years.
Born Joan Lorraine to James and Florence Hanna, Anne grew up in Queens, graduated from The Mary Louis Academy and received her Bachelors from Brentwood College. Anne’s ardent love of children and her concern for their well-being within the family structure motivated her to earn a Masters from Catholic University in Child Adolescent Psychology.
After faithful service as a Coordinator of Religious Education in St. Peter’s and then in St. Sylvester Parish she served as Director of Family Life for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Countless stories are told of her tireless and compassionate presence in all aspects of parish life. Her door was always open to offer a listening ear, down to earth advice or a shoulder to cry on. The heart of God pulsed in her every activity and her joyful countenance radiated a peace born from a personal and deep relationship with her God and a prayerful commitment to her religious community. Mercy Center Ministries in Bluepoint, where Anne served for 10 happy and memorable years as Director offered an opportunity for her varied talents and interpersonal skills to blossom! Compassionate care for all was her mantra!
Phyllis Esposito will now share her Reflection as she journeyed with Anne these past 10 years.
Even though I’ve known Anne for over forty years, it wasn’t until the last ten years that I really got to know her.
Most people know that Rose Sheridan and Anne Lorraine were the closest of friends. Well, Rose was also a friend of mine so when I visited her, I spent time with Anne, as well – but it was the kind of visiting we do when we visit a convent – lots of stories about the novitiate, early missions, etc – all surface with lots of laughs.
However, ten years ago I became their Regional, and by this time Rose was sick. So I got to know Anne first as Rose’s unofficial health care coordinator. She knew every doctor, appointment, medication, allergy, complication that had anything to do with Rose. And by then, Anne was pretty much an invalid herself due to her back injuries sustained in Mercy Center. In these times, I learned two things about Anne: she loved Rose with a deep love and friendship – and she was “in charge” – some might even say “bossy” – but she got the job done!
As we all know, Anne’s “in charge-ness” could not prevent Rose’s deathbed the love helped Rose to pass peacefully and surrounded by love. That love also helped Anne heal. During the grieving time, I got to know Anne in different ways – I learned about all the talents Tesa alluded to in her talk – but I especially learned that Anne was a “true Sister of the neighborhood” in her beloved Bluepoint. She knew every neighbor and spent hours on the phone, listening to their stories and supporting them through her compassion. Reciprocally, she appreciated the many times they brought her to doctors and other appointments (thank you, Walter). She even had an art show in one of the neighbor’s homes where she displayed her artwork and provided an opportunity for the community to gather. She welcomed six of us into her home for a monthly deepening group with lots of laughter as well as deep sharing. She was addicted to CNN and MSNBC and was very definite in her political opinions and her action for justice through calls, emails and donations.
But even with all this, she would have been totally lonely had it not been for three things – her cat, Crystal; her own caretakers, especially Tanya; and ultimately, her nephew, Kevin, who came to live with her for “a few months” and stayed for about five years until Anne moved to Brentwood permanently. Strangely, Kevin died three days after “Joanie” and we are all convinced they are together again. Our hearts go out to you, Jimmy, as you and Mary and Vicki mourn the loss of aunt and brother.
In conclusion, we need to look at Anne’s story through the eyes of the artist – which Anne truly was. She saw God’s creation and beauty all around her and tried to capture it in her painting. She saw and felt pain and vulnerability, and tried to bring balance and healing. She suffered a lot, but kept on choosing life. She knew she was loved – and she always craved more. One of her last desires was to paint the November birthday cards for the Sisters in the convent, but instead of a painting, those Sisters will receive her blessing from heaven because she never completed them.
But one desire she did see fulfilled – a few days before she died, she managed to get her nails done – and two days before she died she got her hair done. This will be the most permanent permanent of them all! Anne would laugh with us because she knew her own foibles and she did her best to laugh at herself and open herself to God’s love and healing.
Phyllis Esposito, CSJ
Phyllis ~ What a fruitful and meaningful life, lived with dignity and grace.
Walk down the halls near the elevators outside this chapel and treat yourself to some of Anne’s artistic expressions of her deep faith in the grandeur of God in all of creation and our Earth community. Anne would want to express appreciation for the Administration and Staff, especially the Aides, for your love and compassionate care in Maria Regina Residence and St. Joseph Convent. It is with deep gratitude to our gracious and all-loving God for the life of Sister Anne Lorraine, lived faithfully and creatively as a Sister of St. Joseph for 66 years that I place our Constitution in her hands. May her spirit of goodness and deep sense of the holy in our midst bless us all.
Sister Anne Lorraine Hanna, CSJ died on October 31, 2021 in the 66th year of her religious life.