Sis­ter Ann De­votes Her Life To God

Escalon Times - - LIVING - By GLENN KAHL 209 staff re­porter

Sis­ter Ann is a fa­mil­iar name around Man­teca, Lathrop and Tracy as the nun who man­ages to be there for ev­ery­one she meets from se­nior cit­i­zens to school chil­dren and in­mates in state prison.

A hum­ble woman who wants no no­to­ri­ety about her ac­com­plish­ments is about to celebrate her golden ju­bilee — 50 years as a nun next Jan. 7.

Sr. Ann Britto was born in the small town of Bam­bra, In­dia. She was one of five chil­dren in a tight knit fam­ily — two boys and two girls. She was in the mid­dle. Af­ter get­ting her sec­ondary teach­ing cer­tifi­cate she came to the U.S. and was hired at St. Bernard’s Catholic School in Tracy where she served the chil­dren of the com­mu­nity from 1976 un­til 1985.

From there she would trans­fer to St. Ge­orge’s Parish in Stock­ton teach­ing kinder­garten chil­dren both the 3-Rs and daily re­li­gion classes. While at St. Ge­orge’s she started her prison min­istry work­ing with in­mates who were held be­hind bars.

Teach­ing kinder­garten by day and the pris­on­ers by night she was meet­ing her chal­lenges well. One prob­lem she will never for­get was that she had a hard time keep­ing her fin­gers off the alarm but­ton that sent pris­on­ers ei­ther rush­ing for the floor or hit­ting the floor as guards of­ten rushed in with their guns drawn.

“I’ve been caught in lock­down sev­eral times,” she said of her ten­ure be­hind bars. “Lock­downs lots of times. And, I caused the alarm to go off three times.”

When she car­ried an alarm but­ton in her hand, she didn’t re­al­ize she had tripped the alarm un­til the guards rushed into the room, say­ing, “she’s the one!”

“One time when I was sit­ting in a class room with the guys, I leaned over a desk and the alarm but­ton on my belt came in con­tact with the cor­ner of the desk when I leaned over to pick some­thing up,” she re­called.

She learned much of her giv­ing na­ture from her mother who had been called the Mother of Per­pet­ual Help by her neigh­bors. She was al­ways giv­ing and did ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble from tend­ing fu­ner­als, new births and the cook­ing and sewing needs of the neigh­bor­hood, Sis­ter Ann said.

She also noted that her dad was a rather quiet man who pro­vided for his fam­ily well — quiet be­cause her mom was the talk­a­tive one, she quipped.

She re­mem­bers teach­ing fifth and sixth grade when she ex­ited the con­vent near her home near Bom­bay. It was the school where she had gone for eight years in her

youth. She had also gone to high school in Bom­bay.

Now she is look­ing out for se­nior cit­i­zens, whether they are Catholic or not, at St. An­thony’s Catholic Church in Man­teca. She holds count­less noon lun­cheons for the se­niors ev­ery month that usu­ally draws a crowd of some 250 se­niors. They en­joy a small band that she brings to the lunch, dance and so­cial­ize with new friends they met ear­lier or on that day.

It was a few years ago that Sr. Ann was el­e­vated by the city to the Man­teca Hall of Fame with her por­trait among other in the new Man­teca Transit Cen­ter on Mof­fat Boule­vard. Her fa­vorite thrill among all oth­ers is prob­a­bly when she met Pole John Paul in Rome in 1991.

As for her up­com­ing Golden Ju­bilee mark­ing her 50 years of ser­vice to oth­ers and to God, she said she is sur­prised that she has lived long enough to reach that bench mark in her life.

ABOVE PHOTO: Sis­ter Ann Britto greets Pope John Paul in Rome in 1991. RIGHT PHOTO: Sis­ter Ann Britto en­tered the con­vent in her youth to serve chil­dren and

se­nior cit­i­zens.

PHOTOS CON­TRIB­UTED

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