Memphis Woman is First Nun to Run for Congress


Memphis Woman is First Nun to Run for Congress


Religion, Memphis, Congress, Nun, Guthrie, Mary Anne


In this newspaper article created by Anita Marie Lapham, Sister Mary Anne Guthrie talks about her decision to run or Congress and her past experiences as an activist and a nurse. The 8th district seat is being fought for by two women and four men. Sister Mary Anne starts off talking about how she has worked with poor, uneducated people for a long time, as well as the economically secure educated. With such experience, she feels as though the dignity of all human beings should be reserved at all times. Just as socioeconomic status should not define or deter people, Sister Mary Anne feels the same goes for sex. She has pushed for the equality and integration of women in many aspects of society. She goes on to say another deciding factor in her running for Congress was when her bishop said Guthrie could not become a bishop herself, and she may as well go to Washington.

Sister Mary Anne first decided to enter the politics realm in the 1960s when she successfully set up a hospital in Spalding, Nebraska for the elderly. She wanted to run For Mayor because the current politicians were no good for the community. Once the Vatican II documents were released. Guthrie chose to go to Appalachia to serve the poor. Once Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Guthrie returned to Memphis to work as a supervisor for Memphis’ John Gaston Hospital. She also worked as an integral part of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s nutrition program for the poor known as Memphis Area Project South. She found herself going to Memphis Light, Gas and Water to tell them not to turn off utilities for poorer people.


Anita Lapham, the Herald-Tribune


MSS 475, Box 370B, Folder 3


The University of Memphis Libraries


July 21, 1974


Lapham, Anita


Digital Image © 2016, University of Memphis Libraries Preservation and Special Collections Department. All rights reserved.

Local URL,2330312&hl=en



Anita Lapham, the Herald-Tribune, “Memphis Woman is First Nun to Run for Congress,” Making an Impact: The Lives of Tennessee Women, accessed October 21, 2020,

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