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Health Care Hall of Fame

Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin
Inducted in 2008

Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin
1889-1966
Inducted in 2008


The “Angel of Alcoholics Anonymous,” as Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin is known, was a pioneer in treating alcoholism before it was even recognized as a legitimate medical diagnosis.

In a time when most hospitals turned away alcoholics, Sister Ignatia went out of her way to treat them and sober them up. When someone would come drunk to Akron, Ohio-based St. Thomas Hospital’s emergency room, Sister Ignatia would take that person to an anteroom near the hospital’s chapel to sober up. During delirium tremens, Sister Ignatia would administer morphine and give alcoholics black coffee and a juice-Karo concoction when they woke up.

According to one estimate, 15,000 alcoholics recovered under Sister Ignatia’s care.

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