Sister Agnes O’Keeffe

Sister Agnes O’Keeffe,
Nurse and Administrator in Tanzania, Guatemala and the United States,
Dies at 90

O'Keefe, Agnes

Maryknoll, NY —  Sister Agnes O’Keeffe, MM, nurse and administrator in Tanzania, Guatemala and the United States, died July 18, 2015, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Ossining, NY.  She was 90 years old.

Born in the St. Boniface district of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on August 12, 1924, to John Michael and Lucy Chatfield O’Keeffe, Sister Agnes entered Maryknoll on September 2, 1956, at its motherhouse in Ossining, NY, from Holy Cross Parish, Winnipeg, following graduation from St. Boniface Hospital School of Nursing.  She made her First Profession of Vows on June 24, 1959, at the motherhouse, and her Final Vows on June 24, 1965, in Guatemala.

Sister Agnes’ first assignment was working as a general staff nurse at Bethany House, a residence for elderly and infirm Maryknoll Sisters, located in Ossining, NY.

She received her first foreign assignment in 1960, when she was sent to Guatemala.  Following six months of language studies, she worked in a rural dispensary, then organized a health clinic for residents of San Miguel, Acatan, Huehuetenango, where she served until 1968.

Sister Agnes then returning to Ossining, where she again worked as a nurse at Bethany House for one year, then as assistant to Maryknoll Center Unit’s infirmary director until 1973.  She also work from 1969-1970 as a pediatric staff nurse at Bronxville Memorial Hospital, Bronxville, NY.

In 1973, Sister Agnes was sent to Tanzania where she served as administrator of a clinic in Bwirigi, a town in the Musoma Diocese.  Her primary work was training local health workers in preventing diseases, maternal child care and therapeutic medicine.

Sister Agnes then returned to the United States, where she worked in the Maryknoll Sisters Nursing home from 1989-1993. She then went back to Tanzania, where she served as medical supervisor for 300 boarding students at Kowak Girls Secondary School until 1997. She then returned to Maryknoll, where she was in residence until her death.

Sister Agnes is survived by her sister, Mrs. Anne Seigfreid of Green Bay, WI; her nieces, Karen Blahnik and Kathy Parker, of Green Bay. WI, and Patricia Goderis Saxton of Swan Lake, MB;  her nephews,  David Ronald O’Keeffe of Winnipeg, MB, Michael O’Keeffe of Winnipeg, MB, Ron Goderis of Minaki, ON, and Brian Seigfreid of Green Bay, WI, and numerous great nieces and nephews.

A vespers service was held for Sister Agnes on July 20, 2015 at 4:15 p.m. in the Chapel of the Annunciation at the Maryknoll Sisters Center at Maryknoll, NY.  A Mass of Christian Burial followed on July 21, 2015,  also at the Center. Interment was in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.