March 4, 1928 - August 20, 2018
Irreverently funny and supportive ... delightful and witty
—Sister Barbara Moore
For years whenever we would see each other I would genuflect in front of her as a sign of my admiration and respect for her. She would jokingly respond, 'It's only fitting.' If I were able to be at her funeral, I would definitely genuflect in front of her—a sign of my lasting admiration and respect ...
—Sister Judy Miller
Greeted by parents, Henry and Della Marie (Mansfield) Brockman, as well as brothers, Bill and John, Mary Catherine was born in Joplin, Missouri, March 4, 1928. She attended St. Peter’s grade and high school, staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. Then she entered nursing school at St. Joseph Hospital in Kansas City. “I was very impressed with the Sisters of St. Joseph particularly for their professionalism, their intelligence," S. Mary Christopher said. "They were always on the spot and knew exactly what to do in health care when these decisions needed to be made correctly and timely ...”
After several years of nursing, she entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (1954), was received into the novitiate (1955), and given the name, S. Mary Christopher. Following a brief time at St. Joseph Hospital, Kirkwood, Missouri (1957), she was assigned to St. Joseph Hospital, Kansas City (1958) as nursing supervisor. Subsequently, she received a bachelor’s degree in nursing, specializing in OB/GYN, at Marymount College, Salina, Kansas (1964). Afterwards, S. Mary Christopher was assigned as nursing service director at Nazareth in St. Louis (1965). Nursing supervisor was her next position at St. Joseph Hospital, Kirkwood (1967), then the University of Utah, Salt Lake (1970) where she received a master’s degree in nursing and certification in nurse midwifery (1972).
Sister Mary Christopher served in St. Louis as a nurse midwife at City Hospital (1972); Yeatman Union-Sarah Health Center (1979) and taught nurse-midwifery classes at St. Louis University. In 1983, she was diagnosed with a circulatory disease and unable to continue in midwifery. She put her medical training to use as a paramedical examiner for insurance companies with Meditest and Examination Management Service. “It was probably the best apostolate of my whole life because I met so many people who had never met a nun and so many people who didn’t know anything about Catholicism. [Often] I thought: I don’t know what I’m doing today, if I’m evangelizing or … doing medical work.” Sister Mary Christopher retired in 1993, continuing ministry as a driver and volunteer until 2013, when she moved to Nazareth Living Center.
We lived together for 40 years ... We certainly laughed a lot and had many good times. She had a wonderful sense of humor. Chris loved being an OB-GYN nurse and then a certified nurse midwife. Chris had many interests. She liked to work with wood, both carving ... and building [with it]. She also enjoyed photography ... We both enjoyed traveling in the summer and made it to almost every state. One of our favorite trips was to Alaska for her 50th anniversary. She drove all the way and I navigated. She never seemed to get tired of driving ... She was forever grateful for her brothers and their families. —S. Laura Gruber
She was such a special friend ... She saw that I got a great start and kept me laughing and smiling through it all! God blessed us with a community woman extraordinaire in Chris and I will forever be grateful for the gift her life was to me and the hospital community! —S. Suzanne Wesley
She lightened many of our days with her sincerity and humor. I remember her as a compassionate nurse who never hesitated to advocate for her patients. She was someone you could trust to be straightforward—always with a twinkle in her eye. —S. Marilyn Peot
Her ability to see the funny side of all the regulations. Her outstanding wit and her ability to have a pun ready for any occasion ... —S. Ruth Stuckel
Sister Helen Oates