Des Plaines nun who once was a socialite dies at 91

All members of the Discalced Carmelite order of nuns leave worldly things behind for a life of quiet contemplation. But Sister Mary Joseph of the Trinity might have left behind more than most.

Before she became a nun, she was San Francisco socialite Ann Russell Miller. She was in her 60s and had wealth, connections and 10 children when she decided to enter the cloistered Carmelite monastery in Des Plaines.

She traded a comfortable home for a monastic cell. She was enveloped in silence — her order focuses on prayer and silent attentiveness to God. Discalced means unshod, so she traded fashionable shoes for plain sandals.

When friends and relatives visit, there’s no touching. Her son Mark Miller said her family could see her only through a metal grille.

He tweeted that when she died Saturday at 91, she had 28 grandchildren, “some of whom she has never seen. She has more than a dozen great-grandchildren as well; none of whom she has held.”

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