Long-time Saint Mary’s College Administrator 'Sister B.A.' Passes Away

Sister Basil Anthony O'Flynn 1917-2011
Sister Basil Anthony O'Flynn 1917-2011

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, Ind.
(574) 284-4579

December 18, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College mourns the loss of Sister Basil Anthony O’Flynn, CSC, 94, a long-time administrator at the College. Sister passed away on Friday, December 16 at Saint Mary’s Convent. Her 37-year career at Saint Mary’s College spanned five decades, from 1956-1998.

Sister Basil Anthony began her tenure at the College as a part-time faculty member teaching theology (1956-1961). She went on to serve the College in an administrative capacity. She was dean of students (1961–1968), vice president for fiscal affairs (1968-1972), vice president for public relations and development (1972-1973), and vice president for campus affairs (1973-1974). She served as chair of the Board of Regents from 1975-1979. From 1979-1998 she served as assistant to the vice president for college relations, until retiring at the age of 80.

“Sister B.A., as she was known by most, is one of the last living links we have to significant times in the College’s past, like the merger/non-merger with the University of Notre Dame. Sister sat at the table during those discussions and held every administrative post at the College except president,” said Saint Mary’s College President Carol Ann Mooney ’72. “During my years as a student she was the vice president for fiscal affairs. An imposing figure at nearly six feet tall with her habit, she was initially intimidating, but ultimately gentle and caring with students. Generations of Saint Mary’s women have lost a dear friend and confidant. She will be greatly missed by all of us who loved her.”

Sister was born Brigid Anne O’Flynn on September 2, 1917. The Washington, D.C., native entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1941. She was given the religious name Basil Anthony, in honor of the Congregation’s founder, Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, when she received the habit in 1942. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Saint Mary's College in 1946; a master’s degree in theology from Saint Mary’s College’s Sacred School of Theology in 1949; a master’s degree in education (counseling and guidance) from the University of Notre Dame in 1967; and a master’s degree in pastoral care from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1975.

In 1975 Sister Basil Anthony was named the Alumnae Association’s Distinguished Alumna. In 1994 the College recognized Sister with the President’s Medal in recognition of her outstanding service to the community and her contributions to the life of Saint Mary's College. In1998 a scholarship fund was established at Saint Mary’s in her name by Bob and Mary Kelly McLaughlin ’42. In 2002 Sister Basil Anthony was awarded an honorary doctor of humanities degree from the College.

In the fall of 2007 the College held a reception to mark Sister’s 90th birthday. Alumnae, faculty, and staff gathered in the Student Center to celebrate with her. At the event President Mooney remarked, “When you talk about the heart of Saint Mary’s, talk always turns to the woman we honor today, Sister Basil Anthony O’Flynn. For generations of Saint Mary’s alumnae, she is Saint Mary’s.”

As a birthday gift, Saint Mary’s College compiled a two-volume memory book for Sister Basil Anthony. Alumnae, faculty, and staff paid tribute to Sister’s life, work, and faith by sending a special memory about her for the book. Over 100 alumnae and friends responded. To see some of the entries, go here. To read a summer 1989 Courier article about here, click here.

Those wishing to make a gift to the College in her honor may designate gifts to the Sister Basil Anthony O'Flynn Scholarship, Saint Mary's College, 110 Le Mans Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

Arrangements for Sister Basil Anthony O’Flynn are as follows: Reception of the body, wake, and memento will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 21 at Church of Loretto on the Saint Mary’s campus. A Mass of Resurrection will be held at the church at 1:30 p.m. that day.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary’s College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2012 published by U.S.News and World Report. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.