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Mary O'Connell (also known as Sister Anthony) (1814-December 8, 1897) was an Irish-American Roman Catholic nun. Her work with the wounded during the American Civil War and health care in general caused her to be known as "the angel of the battlefield" and "the Florence Nightingale of America."

She was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1814, the daughter of William and Catherine Murphy O'Connell. She emigrated to the United States, and attended the Ursuline Academy in Charlestown, Massachusetts. She went through her novitiate with the American Sisters of Charity in St. Joseph's Valley, and took the name of Sister Anthony. She was in Cincinnati from 1837 through 1852, when she was placed in charge of St. John's Hotel for Invalids, a new hospital.

She was an active nurse during the Civil War, serving at Camp Dennison, and the battlefields of Winchester, Virginia, the Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia, Nashville, Tennessee, Gallipolis, Ohio, Culpeper Court House, Virginia, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, and Lynchburg, Virginia.

In recognition of her service during the Civil War, in 1873, two citizens of Cincinnati, neither of them Catholics, purchased the United States Marine Hospital for her under the direction of her order, with the intention that the property be used as a maternity hospital. She also received recognition for her work in the yellow fever epidemic of 1877.

She retired from active live in 1880, and died in 1897.


  • Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1967.