A number of years ago, the members of Sr. Harriet Agnew’s Congregation took a personality test. Sr. Harriet’s results were no surprise to her sisters and friends; she was described as a helper — caring, demonstrative, and generous. These attributes are the core values of her 50 years as a Dominican Sister of Peace.
Sr. Harriet began religious life in a most Dominican fashion – studying for her Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies and Elementary Education at Siena College in Memphis, TN. Her early ministry was teaching at schools in Kentucky and Tennessee, and during that time, she found that her own love of religious life increasing. “I found joy in community life, in the relationships that I built, and in my ministry – and religious life just grew on me,” she says.
In the 1980’s Sr. Harriet’s ministry took a different turn as she began teaching religion and formation in Kentucky while studying for her Masters in Religious Education at Seattle University in Washington. She earned her MRE in 1981, and put it to good use as a Religious Coordinator at St. Augustine Parish in Kentucky, then as Formation Coordinator and Associate Pastor in Chicago.
In 1990, she was called home to Kentucky to serve the congregation as a Coordinator at Sansbury Care Center, then began a ministry as a nursing assistant in St. Louis, MO – which may have been what led her to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Maryville, University in St. Louis.
Sr. Harriet’s skills as a nurse and her generous, giving spirit led her to serve patients of all ages – as a nurse at Shurer Long Term Care in Michigan, the Home for the Innocents in Kentucky, at a mission in Zambia, at the Marian Home in Kentucky, at the Congregation’s Sansbury Care Center and now, at the Motherhouse in Akron, OH.
This quote from the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, is the advice that Sr. Harriet gives to women considering religious life. “Fall in love with Christ, and with our Dominican way of life, and you will find joy in your calling,” Sr. Harriet says. Her hope is that the Dominican Sisters of Peace will continue to respond to the needs of the times – an appropriate sentiment from a woman who has responded to the needs of God’s people and her Congregation with love and care for 50 years.