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Sister Ann Keefe

Using her charisma, smarts and talent for arm-twisting, Ann Keefe is fighting to take back Providence’s toughest neighborhoods, one mean street at a time.



Photography by Corey Hendrickson

It is easy to imagine the many titles that Ann Keefe might have accumulated by now.
 
She turned sixty this past July Fourth and one can see her, for example, as chief executive officer, charged with bringing order to an Internet company with a zillion friends and lots of disgruntled stockholders. Maybe she could be president of a bank, preferably one of the kinder ones. Or Secretary of Health and Human Services. Perhaps executive director of a nonprofit agency — turning around an image-tarnished scouting organization.
 
But she chose Sister. Sister Ann Keefe, SSJ, the Sisters of Saint Joseph. 
 
...The towering Roman Catholic church has played a healing role, not just in its South Side neighborhood, but in Providence and the state.
 
Sister Ann cofounded the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, which now has its own renovated headquarters next to St. Michael’s and is credited with helping to sharply cut the city’s murder rate. She started Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth, which has its own building and enrolls 1,200 children yearly in after-school and summer programs.
 
Sister Ann also helped establish, run, guide and champion a host of other organizations. Here’s a sampling: the Community Boating Center, the Sophia Academy, the Family Life Advocacy Center, Witness for Peace, the Southside Community Land Trust and the Providence Community Library. 
 
Then add these to the list: AIDS Care Ocean State, the Annual Good Friday Walk for Hunger and Homelessness, the Providence Human Relations Commission, the Economic Progress Institute and Taming Asthma.

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