Every year, St. Joseph Sr. Catherine Pinkerton made sure the entire student body at St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland learned how to sing "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
"She taught each grade a different part so we could sing it in four-part harmony. We thought we were the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," said Mary Ann Fisher, who was a student, then a neophyte teacher, during Catherine's 1967-73 tenure as principal of the only Catholic girls' school within the city limits of Cleveland.
Pinkerton's hymn would prove prophetic. Just as Jesus was "trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored," so would she spend 26 years trampling up and down the halls of Congress lobbying for health care for people who could not afford it.
She died peacefully the afternoon of Dec. 28, 2017, with her lifelong friend, Sr. Felicia Petruziello, and several other St. Joseph sisters at her side. She was 96.
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