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Sister Anne Brooks Marks 20 Years As A Doctor; Catholic Extension Helped Brooks Open Doors To New He

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June 03, 2003 - 12:00 PDT



TUTWILER, Miss. - In June, Sister Anne Brooks, an osteopathic physician in Tutwiler, Miss., will celebrate her 65th birthday - the age that many Americans retire. But Sister Anne has no plans to stop working. Instead, she will mark another milestone - the 20th anniversary of the Tutwiler Clinic, a medical clinic she opened with help from Catholic Extension, to provide healthcare to this poor, medically underserved community that had been lacking a doctor for many years.

"I'm not thinking of retiring," says the Sister of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. "I'm having too much fun. This is my home."

Catholic Extension is working to raise awareness about the clinic and has featured Sister Anne as the cover story in the June issue of EXTENSION Magazine. The Tutwiler Clinic is one of many projects across rural America, funded in part by Catholic Extension, the leading supporter of Catholic missionary work in the United States. In 1983 Catholic Extension provided Sister Anne with $30,000 to reopen a shuttered 20-year-old medical clinic so outdated that it had segregated waiting rooms. Sister Anne's first order of business was making one waiting room for all patients.

"[Catholic Extension] helped us get started," Sister Anne says. "The first grant enabled us to pay rent and things like that until we were able to get reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare. It was very essential to our getting going."

Two decades later Sister Anne and her dedicated staff, which opened the practice to 14 patients in the summer of 1983, now treat 9,000 patients a year. The clinic also prompted the opening of a satellite clinic in neighboring Glendora and a retail bargain shop that makes clothes and housewares affordable for Tutwiler residents. Five other sisters of five different orders help Sister Anne provide healing and outreach in this predominately Baptist town. Among them is Sister Maureen Delaney, S.N.J.M., who in 1987 started an outreach program in the clinic. The program now is a freestanding community center with a computer room, classrooms and full-court gym.

The clinic serves a vital need in Tallahatchie County where the median household income is $18,000 - less than half of the $42,000 national average - and the unemployment rate is more than twice the national average. More than half the people treated at the clinic do not have insurance, yet they are never turned away. The work of Sister Anne and her helpers has drawn national attention. In 1990 and again in May of this year, Sister Anne and the Tutwiler Clinic were featured by the CBS news program "60 Minutes."

"We congratulate Sister Anne on this remarkable milestone," says Bishop William Houck, President of Catholic Extension. "I don't think anyone imagined the kind of change that Sister Anne and the clinic would bring about. She is an example of how missionaries fill crucial voids across our country, and we are grateful that we have been able to help her and her staff help the people of the Mississippi Delta."

To date, Catholic Extension has distributed nearly $150,000 to help the Tutwiler Clinic with operating costs and improvements. Catholic Extension continues to support the Tutwiler Clinic through an ongoing tithing program with a parish in Minnesota. With Medicaid and Medicare payments accounting for only 25 percent of its $1.6 million budget, the clinic relies on such donations to make up the difference. Currently the clinic is in need of $70,000 to pay for eyeglasses, dental services and medication for its patients and upgrade its computer technology. In addition, they need $10,000 to replace a blood analysis machine that recently stopped functioning.

"We feel like there's this enormous family out there that supports and prays for us," Sister Anne says. "This country cares."

You can read more about Sister Anne in the June issue of EXTENSION Magazine. To receive a complimentary June issue, write to "Free June Issue" at EXTENSION Magazine, 150 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606 or sign up at Or call us at 1-888-473-2484.


Catholic Extension
Terri Hickey - Communications Director, 312 795-6042


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