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Sr. Ann Kelly ’68 Helping Ebola Survivors in Liberia

Sr. Ann Kelly


Sr. Ann Kelly, ’68, knows firsthand the sorrow and devastation caused by the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa for she is currently living in Liberia – the epicenter where the virus struck. 

Sr. Ann is a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary, a Catholic order that has homes in Bryn Mawr and Ardmore. She has been working in the town of Foya, Liberia, where the first cases of Ebola were diagnosed. Foya is in Lofa County which has had the most patients diagnosed with and die from the virus among all of the five African countries affected to date.

“We are working with so called safe villages to help them cope with the situation around them. One of the main areas we have been asked to address is the stigmatization of survivors. The villages are often unwilling to receive survivors back into the community,” Sr. Ann explained.

Another major issue that needs immediate attention is the growing number of children who have either survived the virus or have lost both parents to the virus. These children are often rejected by others in the village due to fear.

“There are so many sad stories to tell but there are so many brave stories as well. There are stories of great compassion that lift up your heart and keep one going,” she said.

She told the story of stranger arriving in a village being turned away in case she was infected. On her way out of the village a woman called and told her that she had emptied a room in her house where she could stay while they observed her for a few days. They alerted the health team who came to assess the woman and said that she was fine.


Sr. Ann and her colleague Sr. Bridget Lacey are well aware of the daily challenge of taking the proper precautions to stay healthy. They have lost a few friends, including fellow nuns and a priest, who all had worked in the Catholic Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia.

The Ebola crisis has far-reaching consequences in Liberia. According to Sr. Ann, the country’s economy is at an all-time low. Prices have skyrocketed and carrying goods to other parts of the country is difficult due to the check points along the way.

Sr. Ann gives enormous credit to the people of Liberia and their extraordinary capacity to pick up their lives and meet the challenge facing them head on.

“Their courage is humbling for those of us who are privileged to be on the path with them at this time.”



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