Sr. Ann Francis McArdle, First Sister of Loretto and Nun to Graduate from Webster

Sr. Ann Francis McArdleSister Ann Francis McArdle (1880-1942) was born in Armagh, Ireland, and came to America as a toddler, settling in Omaha Nebraska. After high school, she graduated from Nebraska State Normal School and did some additional coursework at Columbia University in New York. She would later earn a master's degree from St. Louis University.


Sr. Ann Francis entered the Loretto order in 1915 and took her final vows in 1920. She came to Loretto College (now Webster University) in 1917, just two years after the opening of the institution. She received her diploma at Webster's first commencement ceremony on June 4, 1919, along with the college's very first graduate, Florence Waddock


Sr. Ann Francis taught education and history and also served as Librarian. Her contributions to the library were acknowledged in the school's magazine, the Lorettine:


“Improvements are still going forward in the main Library, thanks to the earnest work of our Librarian, Sister Ann Frances. The card system of cataloguing now supplants the book lists completed last summer, and helps to make our library up-to-date and its use more convenient.” ("Just among ourselves", 1920, p. 39).


Later she would serve as the interim Dean of Women, stepping in to replace an ailing Sr. Louise Wise. ("Just among ourselves", 1925, p. 34).


Sr. Ann Francis transferred to Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado and held a number of positions there and at St. Mary's Academy including superior and president. She returned to Webster in 1940 to serve as superior until her death in 1942.



Photo/biography credit

 Photo and biographical information courtesy of the Sisters of Loretto Heritage Center Archives, Nerinx, Kentucky.




 “Just among ourselves.” (1920, December). The Lorettine, vol. 15, no. 4, p. 39.


“Just among ourselves.” (1925, November). The Lorettine, vol. 20, no. 1, p. 34.


"Sister Ann Francis dies at Webster College." St. Louis Star-Times, April 6, 1942, p. 20


"Sister Superior dies at Webster in Easter week"The Web, vol. 18, no. 10, April 17, 1942, p. 1.