Sister Anne Joachim Moore turned St. Mary's School of Nursing in Minneapolis into St. Mary's Junior College and led the school until it merged in 1986 with what now is St. Catherine University.
She died Monday at Bethany Convent in St. Paul.
Moore, 94, was "a woman of intense energy, fierce determination and good humor," said Toné Blechert, associate dean of health professionals at the university. "I admired her passion for the poor and others on the fringes of our society." Moore was a champion of education and had six degrees herself, including a law degree in 1949, a nursing degree, doctorate in education in 1977 and a master's of theology earned in 2001 at age 84.
She was born Catherine Moore in Loretto on Nov. 19, 1916, and graduated from St. Mary's School of Nursing in 1937.
In 1941 she joined the Army Nurse Corps and went to southern England, where she helped set up a Quonset hut hospital that treated war casualties including injured servicemen, victims of German bomb attacks on England and survivors of the Normandy invasion.
"That experience had a major impact on her," said Mary Broderick, former dean and vice president at St. Mary's. "She always had a military bearing, a very erect posture and a commanding presence, even though she was less than 5 feet tall."
Moore often took long walks, even in recent years, "and she was fascinated by everything, whether it was advances in education, baking bread or the acorn she picked up on a walk," Broderick said.
Moore graduated in 1947 from the then-College of St. Catherine nursing program. In 1950 she joined the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, receiving a master's in education degree from the University of Minnesota in 1958.
She worked to convert St. Mary's School of Nursing, founded in 1887, into a junior college, becoming its first and only president in 1964 and serving until it merged with St. Catherine in 1986 to form its Minneapolis campus.
Under Moore, the junior college had "a wide-open door," Blechert says. "She rejected standardized thinking about who had access to education" and insisted that teachers work hard to help students succeed.
Among her numerous awards were recognition from the American Medical Association in 1980, an addition to the University of Minnesota's Alumni Wall of Honor in 2005 and creation of the Anne Joachim Moore Nursing Fellowship at St. Catherine.
Funeral services will be Monday at 10 a.m. at Bethany Convent, 1870 Randolph Av., St. Paul, with Archbishop-emeritus Harry Flynn presiding.
Warren Wolfe • 612-673-7253