(Courtesy of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary)
Sr. Agnes Reinkemeyer was born Dec. 29, 1923, in Rich Fountain, Missouri. She joined religious life in 1942 through the Sisters of St. Mary (who in 1987 reunited with the Sisters of St. Francis of Maryville, Missouri, to become the Franciscan Sisters of Mary).
She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1952 and a masters degree in nursing education and administration both from St. Louis University, where she lectured and served as a curriculum coordinator. Reinkemeyer graduated with a Ph.D. in nursing education in 1966 from the University of California at Berkeley.
She was appointed dean of the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University, South Orange- New Jersey from 1968 to 1977. She is credited with developing innovative graduate programs, increasing grant support at the university, constructing a modern teaching facility, and doubling undergraduate enrollments. In 1997 she was elected vicar general for the Sisters of St. Mary, a position she held until 1981. In 1997 she was elected Vicar general for the first FSM leadership team.
Reinkemeyer left on a temporary sabbatical to Kenya in 1982 and volunteered at the Institute for Cultural Affairs in Kenya she put her experience in medical care and education to train health workers in villages. Her passion to elevate health standards and provide pastoral services in indigenous communities inspired her to start the Wema Ministry in a coastal town near Malindi, Kenya by 1983. The mission was closed shortly after Reinkemeyer's death.
She was killed on July 12, 1989, while praying at the convent’s chapel after bandits broke into the mission in search of money and valuables. She was shot and died of a gunshot wound to the head. She was 65.
Reinkemeyer is remembered for her brilliant career as an innovative leader in nursing education, her numerous published works on the profession (The American Journal of Nursing, 72(10), p. 1802), and her contribution to charitable organizations. She served as an honored member of the American Nurses Association. The Annual Reinkemeyer Research Day continues her dedication to the development of nursing science, practice, and education.