Sister Ann Roberta Powers, pioneer in India, dies

Sister Ann Roberta Powers

Sister Ann Roberta Powers

Sister of Charity of Nazareth Ann Roberta Powers, one of the pioneers who founded the order’s first missions in India, died June 27 at Nazareth Convent in Mokama, India. Sister Powers, a native of Cloverport, Ky., was 90 and had been a Sister of Charity of Nazareth for 71 years.

Sister Powers taught elementary school in Ohio and at Holy Name School from 1944 to 1947. She served the remainder of her life in India.

She was 22 when she and five other sisters set out for India on a cargo ship in 1947. When Sister Powers arrived in Mokama, her first mission was to help open a hospital to care for lepers.

In an article that appeared in The Record in 2005, Sister Powers talked about her journey to India, saying “the Lord was calling me there.” On her work there, Sister Powers said, “It was pioneer days then. We had to be able to stand on our own and be ready to do anything in India.”

Sister Powers went on to establish several missions, including opening and teaching at Nazareth Academy, in Gaya, a school for students from kindergarten through junior college.

She also served as the superior of the first community of Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Ranchi. Sister Powers later founded and taught in the first school in Chatra where children in the rural town attended school for the first time.

She was the last of the pioneer sisters in India, though there are now hundreds of Indian SCNs serving in dozens of ministries in India.

Sister Powers is survived by two sisters, nieces and nephews and her religious community.

The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated June 28, followed by her burial in Mokama. A memorial service was celebrated in Nazareth, Ky., on June 28.

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