taken from “Traditional Catholic and Twelve Step Programs” by Sean Romer
as written for the Angelus magazine, September 2002
Compassionate, Irish-born Sr. Mary Ignatia of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine worked in the admitting office at St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio.
A sensitive soul who had weathered a nervous breakdown of her own, she was able to alternately offer tough demands and tender care to offset the emotional highs and lows that often served as harbingers of her patients’ drinking episodes. Fifteen thousand alcoholics became sober under her attention, and for her efforts she received a presidential commendation.
In co-operation with Dr. Bob, Sr. Ignatia was largely responsible for St. Thomas becoming both the first hospital and first religious institution to open its doors to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Sr. Ignatia immersed herself in Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ and in The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, St. Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Therese of Lisieux. She influenced the thought, development, and content of Dr. Bob’s contributions to the Big Book and to the Twelve Steps contained therein.