By Lorraine Cooper, SC
Sister Alberta Carey wanted to share, first and foremost, how grateful she is for God’s goodness and care to her throughout her fifty-four years as a religious, forty-two of them as a Sister of Charity. The experience of her mother’s love and expert care when she was eight years old and sick with scarlet fever solidified her desire to be a nurse. That she did, but later, a back injury caused her to look toward administration and teaching.
After joining the Sisters of Charity, Sr. Alberta taught at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Then she was approached by Fr. Terence Attridge to open an office of Substance Abuse in the Bronx.
Later, at the request of Msgr. Leonard, the Leadership asked her to make a home in Incarnation Convent for AIDS babies from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. As with our founding Sisters at St. Patrick’s Orphanage on Mott St., this work entailed a complete overhauling of the convent: painting, ripping out backyard weeds and inside structures, hiring and instructing aides from the neighborhood and essential staff, and purchasing cribs and the furnishings for twenty-four babies. All this was in “the dark ages of AIDS.” Sister Joy Pellegrino volunteered to paint animal murals on the walls and the Sisters at the Convent of Mount Saint Vincent knitted booties for each baby. Next, foster homes had to be found for the surviving babies.
Sister Alberta’s last ministry was with AIDS and tuberculosis control in New York State. Through these experiences she learned firsthand of the struggles and sorrows of families coping with drug addiction and of God’s constant help to meet these challenges.
Now in retirement at the Convent of Mount Saint Vincent, she sees her living of the Mission of Charity to be deepening through interaction with her Sisters there as well as staff, in the simple flow of their lives together in a spirit of gratitude and interdependence, both in giving and accepting support when needed. In this way of living and praying she looks forward with confidence that the Lord will continue to lead the community and herself in the way of charity.