National Women's History Month Honoree: Sister Mary Madonna Ashton, CSJ

Sister Mary Madonna Ashton, CSJ, has been named a 2016 National Women’s History Month Honoree. At 92, she is the oldest living recipient to be honored and only the second woman religious since the project began in 1980, according to Molly Murphy MacGregor, co-founder of the Women’s History Project.

Sister Mary Madonna is being recognized for her formidable career in public and private service, including a 20-year tenure has CEO of St. Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolis. “I wasn’t quiet,” she told me during a recent conversation in her St. Paul apartment. “I was a forceful leader.”

She went on to become the first woman to serve as commissioner of health in Minnesota, an election that was met with great opposition. “I had no idea what I was getting into,” she said. “It was a fast learning curve.”

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