Sister Elizabeth Burns, M.M.
Current Ministry Location-USA Region
Sister Betty (Elizabeth), from Hartford, Connecticut, entered Maryknoll in 1955. She had already earned an RN degree from St. Francis School of Nursing in Hartford. Sister Betty went to Pusan, Korea, and was a nurse in the Maryknoll Hospital for eight years.
Sister Betty returned to the United States in 1967, and earned a B.S. in nursing and an M.S. in community health nursing from Boston College. She worked as a public health nurse, and became very interested in systems of health care and the problems confronting elderly and disadvantaged persons in the United States. She relocated to Connecticut when her father became ill, and she and Maryknoll Sister Pauline Gibbons worked with the elderly and health-related justice issues.
After her father’s death, Sister Betty, along with Sister Pauline and Sister Betty’s mother, Elizabeth, formed a community of three who advocated for the elderly: the Sisters worked in community health nursing, and Mrs. Burns worked in projects to help the elderly.
Sister Betty worked with Connecticut’s Department of Public Health starting in 1972. She held a number of positions within that department, including as hospital inspector and consultant, chief of licensure and certification of medical facilities, director of hospital and medical care, and chief of staff for the department. She retired as chief of staff in 1999, and was awarded the Distinguished Managerial Service Award for her dedication to the well-being of patients confined to nursing homes.
Sister Betty cared for her mother and Sister Pauline after her retirement from the job with the state. Her mother and Sister Pauline are now deceased, and Sister Betty still lives in Wethersfield, CT, where she is a full-time pastoral volunteer at Incarnation Parish.