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Remembering Sister Josephine Murphy, DC

December 12, 2023

Sister Josephine Murphy, DC, longtime leader of St. Ann’s Center, died on Sunday, December 3, 2023 at Villa St. Michael in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Sister Josephine was 94 years old. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday, December 9 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Sister Josephine was a beloved fixture at St. Ann’s Center, where she led our mission as Administrator from 1988 to 2005, serving generations of mothers and children in our region. Across Sister Josephine’s numerous ministries in her substantial career, she was a perennial champion of the rights of abused and neglected children, and she was a loving presence in the lives of the many children for whom she cared – particularly those at St. Ann’s.

In 2010 Sister Josephine received the inaugural Mary McGrory Advocacy Award at St. Ann's 150th Anniversary Gala, honoring her more than 40 years of work in the child care field.

"Of course, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the inaugural Mary McGrory Advocacy Award to Sr. Josephine Murphy, St. Ann's former long-term administrator, for her tireless work on behalf of at-risk children..."

-St. Ann's Center's recap of our 150th Anniversary Celebration

We are truly fortunate for the lasting impact Sister Josephine made for St. Ann's residents, staff, and the broader community. Sister Josephine will always serve as an inspiration as we continue to move ahead fulfill the mission of St. Ann’s Center – which was so near to her heart.

Sister Josephine – thank you for all that you have done for St. Ann’s! 

Sister Josephine Murphy
December 29, 1928 ~ December 3, 2023 (age 94)

Sister Josephine (Josephine Ann) Murphy, age 94, died at Villa St. Michael in Emmitsburg, Maryland on December 3, 2023. She was born on December 29, 1928 in Richmond, Virginia to Josephine Ann (Ross) and John Joseph Murphy. Before entering the Community, Sister Josephine was a member of St. Patrick’s Parish in Richmond. She graduated from St. Patrick’s High School in 1945 and entered the Daughters of Charity on April 7, 1946. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secretarial Science in 1965 from St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg and her Master of Social Work in 1973 from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Following initial formation, Sister Josephine was missioned as a Group Worker with children to the following missions: St. Mary’s Villa in Baltimore, Maryland (1947-1960), St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Home for Children in Farmington Hills, Michigan (1960-1966), St. Joseph Gonzaga Home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1966-1967), Col. John J. Astor Home for Children in Rhinebeck, New York (1967-1969) and to St. Joseph’s Villa in Richmond (1969-1975), becoming Administrator there for the next two years. Sister Josephine was next missioned to Emmitsburg to work as a Social Worker at Seton Center. After this, she served at Immaculate Conception Parish in Baltimore (1978-1979). From 1979 to 1988, Sister Josephine served the retired Sisters as Sister Servant of Villa St. Michael in Emmitsburg. For the next seventeen years, Sister Josephine was the Administrator of St. Ann’s Infant Home in Hyattsville, Maryland. During those many years, Sister Josephine advocated for the protection of children by supporting adoption and lobbying before Congress to urge passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which became law in 1997.  In 2005, she was missioned to serve as Pastoral Associate at St. Cyprian Parish in Georgetown, South Carolina until 2014, when she was missioned to Villa St. Michael for the Ministry of Prayer, a ministry she held until her death.

Sister Josephine was preceded in death by her parents, sisters, Margaret Holloway and Catherine Lee and her aunt, Sister Magdalen Ross, Daughter of Charity. She is survived by devoted nieces, nephews, cousins and her Sisters in Community. She is also remembered fondly by many of the children, now adults that were under her care during her many years in child care.

A Wake Service will be held on Friday, December 8 at 7:00 pm in the Villa Chapel in Emmitsburg. The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 am on Saturday, December 9 in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Burial will follow in the St Joseph Cemetery on the grounds.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Sister Josephine’s name to Daughters of Charity, 4330 Olive Street, Saint Louis, Missouri 63108.

This obituary is reproduced here from the booklet which accompanied Sister Josephine's Mass of Christian Burial. This obituary also appeared online at: