Health care advocate Sister Maura passes

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Sister Maura Brannick has passed away, but her dream of providing health care to the poor lives on.

In 1986, at the age of 62, Sister Maura founded a health clinic in South Bend that was largely staffed by volunteers. What funding that was needed came from board members for St. Joseph Health System.

“One of the questions was, 'Well, where [are] you going to get the money, sister?' And she said, ‘Well, from you guys,’ and I don't know that anyone has ever had the guts to tell Sister Maura no, but I wasn’t going to be the first,” former Indiana Gov. Joseph Kernan said in a 2011 video about the clinic entitled “”Irresistible Force.”

Thirty-three years later, the clinic still stands, only now it bears Sister Maura’s name.

It’s a clinic that does not accept patients who have Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance. It’s a clinic that is run largely by volunteer physicians and staff.

The clinic has a $5 copay, but it also has a policy that no one will be refused treatment if they can’t pay.

“I think we could learn that in a simple way you can solve some very complex problems, and you can reach out to the poor, you can find ways to bring more justice to our community and to our lives, and you can find a way to do good,” Sister Maura said.

She died last Friday at Rosary Convent at Saint Mary’s College. She was 96 years old.

A wake will be held Tuesday night, followed by visitation from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Church of our Lady of Loreto at Saint Mary’s College.