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As a nurse, occupational and massage therapist and gerontologist, Sister Edna Lonergan is a leading advocate promoting the benefits of intergenerational programs.
Through her vision and guidance, St. Ann Center became the first dementia-specific day care in Milwaukee and one of the first fully integrated intergenerational day cares in the United States—serving children, the frail elderly and adults with disabilities and their caregivers in one homelike setting. Since opening St. Ann Center’s Stein Campus on Milwaukee’s south side in 1999, she replicated the center at the Bucyrus Campus, opened in 2015, on the city’s near north side—one of the poorest and most underserved areas of Milwaukee.
St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care is a ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic order of sisters who came from Bavaria, Germany, to Milwaukee to carry out charitable and educational works in the community. Their efforts have grown to include nine collaborative ministries that serve children as well as adults challenged by age and disabilities by providing social, educational, vocational, senior housing and wellness services.
In the tradition of St. Francis, the Sisters put compassion into action. In living this powerful mission, they embrace the uniqueness of all people and work to create a caring community, extend hospitality, embrace the poor and those in need, and model justice and mutual respect in our neighborhoods and our world.