Sister Anne Marie Bradley, who died on May 23, 2019, was buried in the community cemetery, following the Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Joseph Villa on May 28.
Anne was the second of three children born to Nora and Bernard Bradley. At the time, her family was living in Linwood, Delaware County in Pennsylvania, close to where her father worked at Sun Oil. She and her two brothers, Bernard and Joseph attended Holy Savior School. Later, during her high school years, Anne attended and graduated from the School of the Holy Child in Sharon Hill.
After high school, Anne joined the work force; she frequently went to visit her old teachers from Holy Savior School, especially Sister Anne Leona and Sister Alice Anita. She felt quite comfortable with the sisters. In her own words, she stated, “By 1953, there were buds and even some small blossoms [of a religious vocation] quite evident to me.” So she took the preliminary steps and applied for entrance to the Sisters of Saint Joseph, with never a thought that there would be a problem. To her astonishment, dismay and disappointment, however, she received a letter saying that she failed the physical exam and could not be accepted. That was not an answer that Anne could accept. She wrote a passionate letter to Mother Marie Estelle, director of postulants, to reconsider. Anne said she realized that she had been born with a heart defect, but this had not stopped her from engaging in sports, in dancing and all kinds of physical activities. On March 19 she receives a letter in reply, saying that she would be accepted. The letter was dated, March 17 and Anne was given a second chance.
On September 8, 1954, Anne began her life as a Sister of Saint Joseph. After Easter of 1955, she began the second phase of life as an SSJ. She received the Habit and was given the name, Sister Bernard Patrick, a nod to her Irish heritage, which delighted her mother who came from County Mayo.
Anne (Sister Bernard Patrick) began her ministry as a teacher of elementary school students at Resurrection of Our Lord School in Philadelphia in September of 1956. During her years in education, she taught in schools in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, in Washington, DC, Newark, NJ and the diocese of Wilmington, serving in elementary and in secondary schools. She ministered not only as teacher but also in an administrative capacity.
In 1992, Anne accepted a position in the congregation’s Finance Office as assistant to the treasurer, utilizing her gifts of attention to detail and of wonderful people skills; she served there for next twenty-two years.
When she worked in the finance office, Anne moved to the Motherhouse, celebrating her golden jubilee there. She was asked about the most significant events in her life during those 50 years. She considered the question for a while and then answered, “Of course, entering the Sisters of Saint Joseph.” Then she wrote, “Today I am living and working at the Motherhouse, another second chance. My relationship with my God first began here, vaguely fifty years ago. [It] has become very deep, very real, very vital in my life. Love is better the second time around.” She added that her heart problem of many years earlier has been, “repaired both physically and spiritually.”
Anne has always been faithful to family and friends; she helped care for her parents before they died and mourned the deaths of her brothers and their wives. Because of her friendship with S. Marie O’Malley, IHM she gained another family, the O’Malley’s.
Fortunately for us, Anne wrote that letter to Mother Marie Estelle and got her second chance. Because she gave second chances to so many others, a first chance was all she needed with God. We love you and we will miss you, Anne. Rest in peace.