Sister Maria Veronica Keane, IHM
Medal of Honor Grove archivist for 17 years
“I hate the idea of war, but I love the men who have given me the privilege of worshipping my God as I please,” Sister Maria Veronica Keane, IHM, said in a 1979 interview.
Sister Veronica, as she was known, served as archivist for the Medal of Honor Grove, maintaining the archives of the U. S. Congressional Medal of Honor Society for 17 years. She compiled the only complete record of recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor since its inception during the Civil War. Her efforts resulted in a hand-written portfolio for each of what was then 3,387 recipients, one that detailed their acts of valor in service of their country. She also obtained photographs of more than 40 percent of the men and one woman who earned the country’s highest military award for valor against an enemy force. Because she came to know many of the living Medal recipients, she had strong opinions about how their stories should be told.
“Please,” Sister Veronica said bluntly in one interview, “when you refer to Congressional Medal of Honor holders, don’t call them ‘Medal winners.’ There was no lottery; no games; it was nothing but pure grit and bravery that got them those medals.”
Among the many honors and citations Sister Veronica received was the 12th annual “Dickey Chapelle” Award, an elite group of recipients that includes Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson, actress Martha Raye, and legendary singer Kate Smith. The award is named for the woman news correspondent who covered the Marines during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. (The Evening Bulletin, Aug. 22, 1978)
Sister Veronica passed away on Nov. 4, 2002. She is buried at Immaculata-Camilla Cemetery.