Sister Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ, 71, died Sept. 25 at St. Peter’s Hospital, Albany. She had been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past 53 years.
Sister Anne was born Julia Ann (Judy) Smollin in Troy, N.Y., on January 18, 1943, daughter of Irma Dolezel Smollin and the late Bryan J. Smollin. Raised in Watervliet, she graduated from Vincentian Institute, Albany. Sister Anne entered the novitiate of the Sisters of St. Joseph on March 20, 1961 and professed final vows on August 6, 1968. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The College of Saint Rose, a master’s degree in counseling from the University at Albany (SUNY) and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Walden University.
In the first 12 years of her life as a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Anne taught elementary grades and served as a counselor in schools in Cohoes, Hoosick Falls and Albany. For five years, she served as a counseling psychologist at the Counseling Center in Albany. At the time of her death, Sister Anne was executive director for Counseling for Laity in Albany, a position she had held for the past 33 years.
Sister Anne was a gifted counselor, facilitator, lecturer, consultant and author who inspired thousands through her keen and witty insights. Known for her seemingly endless energy and dynamic style, Sister Anne spoke and presented workshops locally, nationally and internationally on the role of humor and laughter. Her speeches served as a means to reduce stress and improve interpersonal relationships, communication and motivation. Through story, Sister Anne encouraged us to seize the present moment fully and deeply, to embrace our humanity without compromise, and to celebrate communion with others in the unfolding of daily events transformed into the extraordinary.
Sister Anne was the author of several books and articles, including Live, Laugh and Be Blessed; God Knows You’re Stressed; Making Each Moment Count; Wings for the Soul; and Jiggle Your Heart and Tickle Your Soul. In addition, she hosted her own radio show for 18 years.
Sister Anne served on numerous boards and committees in the Capital District, including The AIDS Council of Northeastern New York; the Albany Diocesan School Board; The College of Saint Rose Board of Trustees; the Board of Albany Clowns on the Rounds; the Chairman’s Circle of Northeast Health; and the Marjorie Doyle Rockwell Center’s Board of Trustees. In 1994, Sister Anne became the first woman president of the Albany Rotary, representing the group in China. In addition, she served as a consultant to several hospitals and schools and to the U. S. Air Force.
Sister Anne was a faith-filled Sister of St. Joseph, a dedicated and compassionate counselor and a devoted daughter, sister and friend. She took seriously the call of the Sisters of St. Joseph to bring God’s unifying love to a world in need, and she did so with enthusiasm, warmth, vitality and generosity. Sister Anne leaves to us a legacy of joyfulness, passion for ministry and gratitude for life, and she will be greatly missed.
Sister Anne is survived by her beloved mother and sister, Irma and Kay Smollin; by her dear friend and housemate, Sister Patricia St. John, CSJ; by many cherished friends and colleagues; and by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. In addition to her father, Sister Anne was predeceased by her treasured friend, Sister Janet Cavanaugh, CSJ.
Sister Anne Bryan’s Funeral Liturgy was held on Sept. 30 at the chapel of St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Latham, with interment in Our Lady Queen of Virgins Cemetery on the Provincial House grounds. Contributions in Sister Anne’s memory may be made to the Development Office of the Sisters of Joseph, 385 Watervliet-Shaker Road, Latham, N.Y. 12110.