Mary Ignatia Gavin (1889–1966) of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine was known as The Drunk’s “Angel of Hope”
Sister Ignatia epitomized the spirit of love, service, and honesty that today are the hallmarks of Alcoholics Anonymous.
As a hospital admissions officer in the 1930s in Akron, Ohio, Sr. Ignatia befriended Dr. Bob Smith, co-founder of AA, and courageously arranged for the hospitalization of alcoholics at a time when alcoholism was viewed as a character weakness rather than a disease.
Between 1935 and 1965 she successfully treated thousands of alcoholics. Sister Ignatia pioneered the recognition of alcoholism among priests and nuns. She was remembered for her kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental love.
“The alcoholic is deserving of sympathy. Christ-like charity and intelligent care are needed so that with God’s grace he or she may be given the opportunity to accept a new philosophy of life.” -Sister Ignatia