Reporter Lisa Kaylor blogs about faith and values

Remembering Sister Cornelia, "the flying nun"

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Sister Cornelia teaching Sunday School to children in Chintatown in New York City.
Sister Cornelia teaching Sunday School to children in Chintatown in New York City.

The life of the Episcopal Order of Saint Helena’s own “flying nun” was celebrated in Augusta on Saturday.

 

Sister Cornelia Ransom, whose frequent travels to minister in Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States earned her the nickname “the flying nun,” died Tuesday, Nov. 27 from the cumulative effects of Parkinson’s Disease. She was buried at the convent on Saturday.

 

Sister Cornelia was a “world-traveler pioneer for women,” said Sister Linda of the Order of Saint Helena, a religious order for lay and ordained women with a convent near Green Meadow Golf Course in Augusta.

 

She entered the Episcopal Order of St. Helena in 1962, and made her life vow in 1967.

 

Sister Cornelia lived in Bolahun, Liberia, from 1968 to 1972, teaching in local schools. In 1973 she became the sister-in-charge of the Convent of St. Helena in Vails Gate, New York, and taught at a drug rehabilitation center. In 1975 she became sister-in-charge of the Convent of St. Helena in Nassau, Bahamas.

 

For 10 years, she taught math and ministered to religious communities in Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Bahamas. She learned Cantonese and worked at the Church of Our Savior in Chinatown. She also taught English to Cambodian immigrant women.

 

After Sept. 11, 2001, Sister Cornelia spent Sundays ministering to rescue workers at Ground Zero in St. Paul’s Chapel, according to sisters at St. Helena.

 

In 2008, she moved to Augusta. Sister Cornelia led her last retreat a year later, during Lent 2009.

 

Learn more about her life and the order at osh.org.

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