Sr. Alice Montgomery, RSM
Born: April 15, 1918
Professed Vows: August 17, 1943
Service in the Diocese of Phoenix
• 1948-1952, Local superior of the sisters’ community at St. Joseph’s Hospital
• 1965-1983, Ministry in obstetrics and neonatal care at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, initiating a Division of Reproductive Medicine and developing a state-wide seminar on the care of the premature infant
Died: Jan. 21, 2019
Memorial gifts may be made to:
The Sisters of Mercy
2300 Adeline Dr.,
Burlingame, CA 94010
Sister of Mercy Alice Montgomery died Jan. 21 at the age of 100 at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland.
Born in Ferndale, California, the youngest of the 11 children of Felix Montgomery and Margaret Friel Montgomery, Alice grew up in Ferndale and Eureka attending Nazareth Academy and Eureka High School.
She attended St. Mary’s School of Nursing in San Francisco where she met the Sisters of Mercy, and a few years after graduation entered the convent in Burlingame. Taking the religious name Sr. Mary Pius, she professed her vows in 1943 and began a 60-year ministry in obstetrical nursing, hospital planning and patient outreach.
Sr. Alice was also hospital administrator from 1948-1951 at St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix. In 1965 Sr. Alice began an 18-year ministry in obstetrics and neonatal care at St. Joseph, initiating a Division of Reproductive Medicine and developing a state-wide seminar on the care of the premature infant.
“It’s because of her that we have the perinatal center,” said Sr. Madonna Marie Bolton. “She forced the issue, and it affected the entire state. There had been no premature care.”
She pioneered bringing family and baby together during the birthing process at St. Joseph. The New Beginnings Birthing Center was dedicated to her and to Mary Manning in July 1999.
“She guided her nursing staff into the modern age of obstetrics,” said Dr. Robert Krauss. “Despite the resistance of the nursing staff who were in high risk management, Sister insisted her nurses cover the birthing rooms and the high-risk labor rooms. She ultimately made believers of the rest of the staff.”
She was one of the architects of the Arizona State Premature Transfer project. Preeclampsia and low birth weight were a problem, especially for the Native American mothers, and transportation to St. Joseph, among other hospitals, greatly decreased the neonatal mortality rate. Infants were flown in by helicopter to St. Joseph’s Hospital Nursery for specialized care from all the outlying areas of the state. She received several awards for her pioneering work.
In 2003 Sr. Alice retired to Marian Oaks Life Center in Burlingame, then spent her final years at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. She is survived by a large and loving family and her community of Mercy sisters. A vigil service was held Jan. 31 in the Mercy Convent Chapel, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame; the Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Feb. 1. She was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, that afternoon.