When she was young, Anne Deuprey’s passion in life was to become an opera singer. But when she was not chosen for the chorus of the San Francisco Opera, she decided to give up her ambition to sing professionally. A visit with her sister, a nursing student at Providence Hospital in Oakland, changed everything. Anne became a nurse, met the Sisters of Providence, and the rest is history.
“I envisioned a very different life, but I loved nursing,“ said Sister Anne, now 98.
Born in Reno, Nev., the youngest of three, she grew up in Long Beach and Oakland, Calif. Sister Elizabeth Claire, director of nursing in Oakland, helped foster her conversion to Catholicism and her vocation. After working as a registered nurse at a local hospital, Sister Anne entered the religious community in February 1944. She professed first vows in 1946 and final vows in 1949. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Seattle University in 1956, and a master’s degree in religious education in 1969.
Took leave to test independent life
Sister Anne was a nurse at Providence hospitals in Washington, Oregon and California for 30 years. “We were supervisors and managers of dietary, visiting, spiritual needs, tray service, janitorial service; we did everything,” she recalled. “We were too young for it, but we depended on the Lord to help us, and we made mistakes, too.”
She began in obstetrics at Providence Hospital in Everett, Wash. Her later patients were older, preparing her for an eventual ministry as night supervisor and a pastoral associate at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle. “I just did the best I could and I never worried. Above all of his works is his mercy, his tremendous love for each one of us.”
In 1968, she and another sister, both in the habit, received permission to move from the convent to an apartment to test whether independent living meshed with religious life. Because the bishop did not approve, they took a year’s leave of absence, dressed in lay clothes and got jobs. Sister Anne never wore the habit again.
Ministered to elderly poor, alcoholics
She was a staff nurse on the psychiatric unit at Harborview Medical Center. She also focused her ministry on the elderly poor, especially alcoholics, helping provide shelter, meals and assistance in Portland’s Burnside area, with the Northwest Pilot Project, and through Catholic Family Emergency Service, Heritage House and the King County Jail.
Sister Anne retired in 1985 to St. Joseph Residence, Seattle, but was a volunteer in pastoral care at Holy Rosary parish in West Seattle and at Mount S. Vincent.
She is grateful to the religious community for the care and comfort provided at St. Joseph Residence, Seattle. For her celebration, she invites the prayers of friends through the years if not their presence.