JULY/AUGUST 2001: SISTER ANNE CARLINO
Drawn to a Calling
When Anne Carlino was about 17 years old, she saw an advertisement in a Catholic publication. It was of a Hospital Sister bending over a patient. Intrigued she made contact with the vocation office in Springfield, Illinois and that was the beginning of her journey in faith and service to the sick, poor and hungry of the world. Sister Anne Carlino professed her final vows in September of 1962 with the American Province of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. She is originally from Brooklyn, NY, and you can still hear a trace of a New York accent even today. Her vocation embodies the healing spirit of the Hospital Sisters.
After responding to God’s invitation to join the convent, she earned a nursing diploma and continued her education at St. Louis University earning her BSN in 1968. In 1973 she also received a Master of Arts Degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Illinois. From 1969 to 1982, she was instrumental in planning and developing the open-heart surgery, intensive care coronary units and cardiopulminary units at Saint John’s Hospital. Her organizational talents also resulted in expansion of cardio vascular diagnostic facilities including the world class cardiac cath lab.
When Catholic Relief Services was looking for volunteers to work in refugee camps, Sister Anne responded. In January 1980, she traveled to the Kho-I-Dang camp in Thailand spending 3 months establishing 4 assessment clinics for feeding women, children and malnourished adults at the camp. The results of her efforts fed 60,000.
Touched by the plight of the refugees she returned to Springfield and started the immigration ministry at Springfield Catholic Charities. During her time at Catholic Charities, she developed several programs. Her continued empathy for the hungry led her to facilitate the building of a new structure for the St. John’s Breadline completed in 1994.
A Source of Conversion
In 1999, the Hospital Sisters began missionary activities in Tanzania, East Africa. Sister Anne Carlino and lay associate Stefanie Koester are ministering to the poor and needy in a fast growing Tanzanian village called Kemondo. The Sisters selected Tanzania because it is one of the poorest countries in East Africa and has some of the most extreme needs.
Sister Anne immediately determined several ways to help the people of Kemondo and the surrounding area. Soon after they arrived they found a nearby mountain stream. They determined how to use this water source to supply three villages, or more than 300 people, as well as their own with clean water. Upon realizing that malaria is a bigger killer than AIDS Sister Anne and Stefanie are also helping local people obtain mosquito netting. Remarkably, Sister Anne, who grew up in Brooklyn, is teaching organic farming. Between Sister Anne and Stephanie, they are providing primary health care, teaching English classes, teaching adults to read and write, and visiting families in their homes.
Sister Anne finds that working and living with the people has been a source of conversion for her. “We are not here just to teach. We learn from the people here. They are poor but joyful!”