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Anne Ayres

Protestant nun
Born: Jan. 3, 1816
Birthplace: London, England

Ayres came to the United States in 1836 and settled in New York City. She worked as a governess until 1845, when she decided to pursue a life of service to God. At the time, there were no established religious orders for Protestant women in the American Episcopal Church or in the Church of England, so Ayres was consecrated a “sister of the Holy Communion” by Dr. William Augustus Muhlenberg, an Episcopal clergyman. After a few other women joined Ayres in running a parish school and working with the poor, they were formally organized as the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion in 1852, with Ayres as First Sister. The sisters, who made renewable pledges of service instead of taking permanent vows, opened an infirmary in 1853. Later they moved to St. Luke's Hospital, where Ayres directed the housekeeping and nursing. Ayres was also instrumental in opening St. Johnland, a refuge for the poor and disabled on Long Island.

Died: Feb. 9, 1896

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