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Sister Scally in the MDS library.

Two years ago, we had a surprise visit from Dr. Ruth Anne Rich. She attended Mount de Sales in the late 1950s but left to pursue a career as a pianist and music professor. Dr. Rich donated a book written by Sister M. Anthony Scally, a nun who befriended her at MDS.  The book, Medicine, Motherhood, and Mercy: The Story of a Black Woman Doctor, is a biography of Dr. Lena Edwards.

Who was Sister Anthony Scally? She entered the novitiate at the age of 17, and though she only worked at MDS from 1956 to 1958 as a teacher and librarian, she had a remarkable career in “social work and involvement with those she felt had needs she could meet,” according to Rev. Peter E. Hogan, S.S.J.

Dr. Rich remembers Sister Anthony as a very precious friend and mentor. “She was conscientiously busy with teaching, researching, running the library, and doing the chores, which all of the nuns had to do,” said Dr. Rich. “But whenever I wanted to talk to her, she gave me her time. When I was very worried about some friends who were openly agnostics, she sat down with me to offer helpful suggestions about things I might say to them, books that I might recommend they read, etc.”

After leaving Mount de Sales, Sister Anthony Scally worked in Pensacola for eleven years and was active in the civil rights movement, served as an advisor to the NAACP Youth Council for two years, marched in protests despite the Archbishop’s prohibitions, and volunteered as a teacher at a local jail. Eventually, she became the librarian for the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History and worked tirelessly to preserve the history of African Americans in the Catholic Church and the American experience.

Not only did Sister Scally have her work published in The Catholic Review, the Catholic Librarian, Negro History Bulletin, and Freeing the Spirit, she wrote five books including Negro Catholic Writers 1900-1943, A Bio-Bibliography; African Heritage in the Catholic Church; Carter G. Woodson: A Bio-Bibliography, Walking Proud; and Medicine, Motherhood, and Mercy.

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Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, which is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.