Anderson, Aganetha "Agnes" Fast (1883-1977)

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Agnes Fast Anderson: Mennonite nurse known as "Florence Nightingale of Steinbach," was born on 27 June 1883 on the West Reserve, Manitoba, Canada. She was the sixth of 11 children born to Cornelius W. Fast (1840-1927) and Helena Fehr (1850-1893). It is not known if Agnes was ever baptized but she did attend the United Church in Steinbach. In 1924 she married an ex-soldier, James D. Anderson (died 1987). Agnes lived to the old age of 94 and died on 10 December 1977 in Steinbach, Manitoba.

As a young girl, Agnes attended village school where her father was the teacher. She then went to the United States to attend Nurses' College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There she attended the college with a friend and was close to some of her aunts who lived in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. Agnes became a local hero in 1918 when she returned home to help fight the Spanish Flu epidemic in Steinbach. A local school was converted into a makeshift hospital where Agnes worked tirelessly from September to December in 1918. Her service and dedication saved many lives. Only one young woman was known to have died under her care. As the epidemic subsided in Steinbach, Agnes herself became ill. Reflecting on this time in her life, Agnes was reported to have said, "I believe that I was chosen by God to look after these people ... it was my holy duty. I prayed that He would protect me." And He did. Agnes recovered and went on to finish her education, marry and eventually return to Steinbach where she spent her retirement years. The memory of this dynamic woman would be remembered.


Neufeld, Nettie. “Aganetha "Agnes” Fast." Preservings No. 10 Part II (June1997): 38-40.

Author(s) Sharon H. H Brown
Date Published June 2006

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MLA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. "Anderson, Aganetha "Agnes" Fast (1883-1977)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. June 2006. Web. 29 Nov 2023.,_Aganetha_%22Agnes%22_Fast_(1883-1977)&oldid=135311.

APA style

Brown, Sharon H. H. (June 2006). Anderson, Aganetha "Agnes" Fast (1883-1977). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 29 November 2023, from,_Aganetha_%22Agnes%22_Fast_(1883-1977)&oldid=135311.

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