Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity, 92, a Carmelite nun who was known by the world as Ann Russell Miller, died on June 6, at the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Des Planes, Illinois, where she had lived the past three decades in silence, solitude and poverty.
Before that, she was a wealthy San Francisco socialite who hosted lavish parties, had season tickets to the opera, and was the mother of ten children raising them in a nine-bedroom mansion overlooking San Francisco Bay.
The 9th child Mark posted her incredible story on Twitter.com. His mother was born in 1928 and got married at 20 although she had been thinking of becoming a nun. By the age of 27 she had already five children, a fact she used to call “Planned Parenthood."
According to her son, she had a million and one friends, smoked, drank, played cards, was an open water diver, a fast and reckless driver, and a member of 22 different boards. "She gave up smoking, alcohol and caffeine on the same day and somehow managed to not commit homicide as a result," her son recalls.
In 1984, her husband Richard died of cancer. He had been the vice president of Pacific Gas and Electric (2020: ~24,000 employees). Five years later, on her 61st birthday, she threw a farewell party with 800 guests at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco with expensive seafood and a live orchestra.
She told her guests she had devoted her first 30 years of life to herself, the second 30 to her children and that the last third of her life would be dedicated to God. The next day she flew to Chicago to enter the Carmel.
After that, Mark saw her only twice in 33 years - behind the cloister metal grills. They had a “complicated“ relationship, he admits, and he is not in mourning. However, he added, "I hope she says hi to Dad for me." Sister M. Joseph had 28 grandchildren, some of whom she never met. She never held one of her twelve great-grandchildren in her hands.