Sister Agatha Lucey came to the United States at the age of 17 from Kilarney, Ireland, shortly after World War II. She met her co-travelers to the U.S. for the first time at the train station when they were leaving. Upon arrival, she finished high school at the Sacred Heart Convent. After her initial vows as a Presentation Sister, she began nurses training at St. Luke’s School of Nursing in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She graduated in 1953 as a registered nurse and then trained in anesthesia. She has been working as nurse ever since!
Initially she worked in many small hospitals in North Dakota. She worked in the emergency room, anesthesia, obstetrics and any department that needed assistance. In the 1980s she returned to school and received her bachelor of science in nursing from the Catholic University of America.
She came to Riverview Place, a senior housing community with 150 apartments, in 1987. She first served as assistant administrator, then director of nursing and finally assistant director of nursing. In each of her roles, she remained a strong leader shaping the values and reputation of Riverview Place.
She initiated health services and assisted living for the residents of Riverview Place that continues today. In addition to her day duties she was on call for emergencies every night, all night, for all of these years only taking a break to occasionally go on retreat and an infrequent visit back home to Ireland.
Sister is summed up in the words by Mother Teresa, “Prayer in action is love, Love in action is service.” She is a great example of the healing ministry of Jesus. Sister deserves enormous admiration because everything she does is out of consideration for others.
She is planted firmly in her belief of Nano Nagle, the foundress of the Presentation Sisters, of “doing what needs to be done.” She lives this – whether it is flowers for the chapel, sweeping up the leaves, checking the boiler, attended the sick or injured, washing the dishes, and yes even plunging toilets!! As for the residents and staff of Riverview, Sister Agatha has been our rock and inspiration.
Today, Sister Agatha, now in nursing for 64 years, still sees residents here at Riverview Place, now called CHI Riverview, at the age of 86. She is in the process of retiring so now only works 2 nights per week instead of 7. She just renewed her nursing license in December of 2015 for another 2 years.
She continues to have a strong reputation in the medical community of spot on accurate assessments. Soft spoken, calm and with a charming Irish brogue she remains steadfast and humble.” All of this fuss for me, can you believe it?”
A lot has changed since 1953 but the one thing that hasn’t changed is a lifetime of caring for the physical and spiritual needs of those who look to this nurse for comfort. Thank you Sister Agatha for your dedicated years of service and caring, and for your wonderful spirit. It has been a profound blessing to know you!