SR. ANNE FLANAGAN
Sr. Anne Flanagan is the firstborn of seven children in a family whose New Orleans roots go back 300 years. Her parents were devoted Catholics and the faith was part of the air she breathed.
She entered the Daughters of Saint Paul when she was 18, after her freshman year at Loyola University (New Orleans) where she studied communications and music. But in her early life, God was already preparing her to be a Daughter of Saint Paul. Watching the after-school shows on TV, her mother (an English major) would go out of her way to train her children in what is now called “media literacy.” After a commercial, her mother would ask, “Why did they put it that way? Why did they use that choice of words or image?” This gave Sr. Anne an early awareness of the power of communications. Christmas stockings and Easter baskets often contained books from the Daughters of St. Paul, fostering both a love for reading and writing. This love of books and interest in communications prepared her to recognize her vocation.
Sr. Anne tells the story of how she discovered her vocation to the Daughters of Saint Paul in her own words:
"Though the family bookcase held many volumes published by the Daughters of St. Paul, I didn't actually meet the sisters until my senior year of high school. I was applying for college (and planning to major in communications) when Mom invited me to accompany her to the local Pauline bookstore so she could pick up a rosary bracelet for a birthday girl in the neighborhood. Mom went to the religious article display, and I headed to the books. When one of the sisters saw the 17-year-old with the stack of books, she headed straight over. “We sisters printed some of those books ourselves,” she said. I was noncommittal, but polite: “Oh, that's nice.” Then the Holy Spirit swooped in. “It's our mission to put the media at the service of the Church,” Sister added. What?! That's just what I wanted to do! That was why I was going to major in communications: to do something with the media on behalf of the Church! And there were already people who wanted to do the same thing? So that I could have a life, a whole life that was completely devoted to God in the world of media?! This was the life for me!!! That summer I spent two weeks visiting the Boston convent, living with the postulants and experiencing the family spirit and life of prayer. The next summer I was a postulant myself."
Besides music, Sr. Anne is interested in technology (she’s an avid reader of Wired magazine); she has almost 20,000 followers on Twitter @nunblogger. She is also interested in liturgy, especially liturgical history. Amazed and inspired by Pope John Paul's “Theology of the Body,” Sr. Anne tries to support all endeavors she comes across that spread this sacramental vision of reality. She also loves to cook.
Sr. Anne has lived the “musical history” of the Daughters of Saint Paul Choir, because as a novice she was a member of the very first choir:
“I am always happy to sing with my sisters, whether for an album or for our community liturgies. (I consider myself first of all a liturgical singer, and then a choral singer.) It is wonderful to join my voice with my sisters, because it is not simply a communion of music, but a real communion of spirit in prayer. When we sing in concerts, there is an added level of joy because the communion we experience among ourselves gets amplified among all the members of the audience. That is a powerful experience, and we have heard from many people that it has transformed lives.”
When she's not singing, Sister Anne works in the Digital Department of Pauline Books & Media, Boston.
She is the author of:
5 Keys to Understanding Pope Francis (e-book) and
Come to Jesus! Eucharistic Adoration for Kids: