Sunday, June 13

Ann Russell Miller, the San Francisco millionaire who left everything and became a cloistered nun

  • Harriet Orrell
  • BBC World Service

Sister Mary Joseph in her nun habit with a flower crown.

Image source, Courtesy Mark Miller


Sister Mary Joseph lived the first 60 years of her life as one of the most prominent members of San Francisco’s high society.

A 92-year-old American nun, who took vows of silence, loneliness and poverty, died on June 5 in the monastery where she resided for the last three decades of her life.

However, the complete life story of the hermana Mary Joseph it is far from ordinary.

Until she gave up everything to dedicate her life to prayer, she was known as Ann Russell Miller, a wealthy San Francisco celebrity who threw lavish parties, attended opera performances frequently, and was the mother of ten children.

Born in 1928, Ann dreamed of becoming a nun, but fell in love instead.

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