Sr. M. Antona Ebo, whose courageous words March 10, 1965, in Selma became a rallying cry for the Civil Rights movement, died Saturday, November 11, 2017, at her home at The Sarah Community in Bridgeton. She was 93 and had been a Franciscan Sister of Mary for 71 years.
A Mass of Farewell celebrating her life will be held on Monday, November 20, 2017, at 11 a.m. at St. Alphonsus Liguori (Rock) Church, 1118 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., with visitation at the church at 9 a.m.
Besides her heartfelt commitment to the struggle for equal rights, Sr. Antona was a pioneer throughout her life. She was one of the first three African American women to enter the Sisters of St. Mary in 1946 (in 1987 the Sisters of St. Mary reunited with the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville, Mo., as the Franciscan Sisters of Mary). She was the first African American woman to administer a Catholic hospital in the United States, and she served in congregational leadership at the time of the reunification of the congregation.
She was a founding member of the National Black Sisters’ Conference in 1968 and served as its president. She was awarded six honorary doctorates and has received countless awards and distinctions. She continued to speak on her experiences into her 90s, challenging listeners to live out the truth that all God’s creatures are equal in the eyes of God.