By Neto Baptiste
Somewhere between winning the Miss Teenage 1979 title to representing the USA in women’s football, enrolling in the US Army and finally realising her childhood dream of becoming a Catholic nun, youth athlete Lorraine Anthony has managed to do one thing, remain 100 percent Antiguan.
Appearing on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Anthony, who is also a preventative medicine specialist, migrated to the US shortly after her 1979 triumph to be with her parents. She also won the Presidential Award for Athletics in 1983, was a member of the 1983 US women’s football team to the Olympics and spent 12 years in the US military.
However, Anthony said that her greatest achievement has been, and remains being an ambassador for her country of birth.
“Representing, being an Antiguan everywhere I went, brought so much joy because you wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve met [who said] ‘I went to you island’ or ‘I had my honeymoon there’ or ‘I took a cruise there’, and having that kind of interaction with them about their experience in my country. To feel that pride that people love our island and they just want to be there forever, and that island is always in my heart even though I can’t swim everywhere; that’s in my heart and when I go home that’s all I want to do, just go in the water and stay there,” she said.
A Catholic nun, or more specifically, a Benedictine Oblate [individuals, either laypersons or clergy, normally living in general society], Anthony who hails from Drake Street in Ovals, said serving in the church had always been one of her major goals since age nine.
“When I joined the Catholic Church, I was committed to become a nun then. At nine years old, I had the call and there were a lot of things on my list and I was jumping through all these different hoops and it had no satisfaction, and the church was the only thing that gave me the peace that I needed and the direction that I needed,” she said.
“Helping others has always been a thing that I did and even at Sunnyside I would buy lunches for everybody and my aunt would say, ‘why are you spending your money like that’ and I said, well they need it so why not share, if I can eat it then they can eat it too and that has been my charism [a spiritual gift or talent granted by God to the recipient not primarily for his own sake but for the benefit of others] from the beginning and I am just proud to say that I am continuing to do that now and I hope to do it until I can’t do it anymore,” Anthony added.
The all-round athlete who competed in the high and long jump, 100 meters hurdles and sprints, shot put, cross country, wrestling and powerlifting, amongst many others, explained how her life in the military and two key moments have left her bound to a wheelchair but has not deterred her spirits and ability to continue giving back to those in need.
“I am disabled now but I keep going because I feel like I could do the disabled Olympics, so hopefully one day I will be in a wheelchair doing wheelchair basketball because if you don’t have something to drive you and motivate you every day, then you’re absolutely dead; so why not go out and experience the world? We have a beautiful ocean there [in the Caribbean] and I bet you that half the people on the island have not gone down to see what it looks like,” Anthony said.
“During training in the military, which I didn’t realise how extensive the injury was, but I had gotten blown up twice and I just kept going. I didn’t think I needed to do anything and yeah, I had a little bit of pain but I kept going and years of keeping going, finally the body just said, ‘I am done’,” the Antiguan said.
Anthony attended Sunnyside Tutorial School here before moving to the Martin Luther King High School in the US in the early 1980s. She also attended the University of Maryland where she studied environmental science.
She later attended the Arizona Western College where she studied environmental technology, and then the Arizona State University and the DeVry Keller University where she focused on microbiology and project management, respectively.