Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

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Sduddy
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Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by Sduddy » Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:04 am

In 1858, a group of nuns, Sisters of Charity, moved from Nashville, Tennessee, where they had an orphanage, to Leavenworth, Kansas, and established a Mother House there, with Mother Xavier Ross in charge. In 1898, one of the nuns, Sister Mary Buckner, wrote a history of the order, starting with that move in 1858, and describing how they began with St. Mary’s Academy in Leavenworth and branched out from there to various other States over the following 40 years: “History of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Kansas”: https://www.scls.org/wp-content/uploads ... imized.pdf
As I was reading it, I saw that many of the nuns had Irish surnames, and sure enough familysearch.org shows them in 1860, 18 nuns, headed by Ann Ross, living at St Mary’s Academy, Leavenworth, 16 of them born in Ireland: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M66Q-7SR It would be wrong to extrapolate from this one instance that the majority of nuns in the U.S. at that time were Irish born, but I think it’s safe to say that a large number were Irish, and that of that large number, some were from Co. Clare. The last chapter in the book deals with those deaths between 1858 and 1898, which had not already been mentioned. Some of these nuns must have joined the order after the census of 1860, and the surnames suggest that most were Irish: Sister Cornelia Curran (d. 1870); Sister Gonzaga Devine (d. 1872); Sister Basil Williams (1873); Sister Olive Smith (1874); Sister Serena Barrington, Sister Regina Dempsey, Sister Cecelia McMahon, Sister Jerome Nagle (d. 1875); Sister Loyola Hogan, Sister Emilda Traynor (d. 1876); Sister Pius Black (d. 1877); Sister Ignatia McCormack (d. 1878); Sister Ursula Sebus, Sister Agnes McGrath, Sister Alacoque Malone (d. 1879); Sister Basil Lynch, Sister leocitia Carroll, Sister Rosalia Casey (d. 1881); Sister Cleophas Guilfoyle, Sister Blandina McCarthy, Sister Bridget Byrne (d. 1883); Sister Xavier McLaughlin (d. 1884); Sister Zita Sullivan (d. 1885); Sister Joseph Taylor, Sister Paul Fay, Sister Margaret Quinlan (d.1886); Sister Lucilla Ryan, Sister Francis de Sales Cannon (d. 1887); Sister Bernard Mary Prendergast (d. 1888); Sister Berchmans Walsh, Sister Modesta O’Hara (d. 1889); Sister Helen Mackin (1890); Sister Antonia, Sister Basilissa Fitzgerald (d. 1891); Sister Helena Donnelly, Sister Kostka O’Connor, Sister Philomena Quinlan (d. 1892); Sister Joseph Marie O’Connor, Sister Pancratia Cannon, Sister Justina Mackin (d. 1893); Sister Frances McMahon, Sister Gregory Shanahan (d. 1894); Mother Xavier [Ross], Sister Perpetua Cummings, Sister Benedict Michle, Sister Gabriel Hess (d. 1895); Sister Gertrude Ryan, Sister Anastasia Vasey, Sister Jovita Jennings, Sister Veronica O’Connor, Sister Finbar Corkery (d. 1896); Sister Seraphine Hammond, Sister Loretto Curry, Sister Mary Ann Moran, Sister Annunciata Counihan, Sister Barbara Vohs, Sister Ann Joseph Dwyer (d. 1897); Sister Adelaide Callahan, Sister de Chantal Hall, Sister Bridget O’Rourke, Sister Luke Burke, Sister Assissi Meagher, Sister Ann Davis (d. 1898).

These Leavenworth Sisters of Charity depended quite a bit, it seems, on begging for alms. One of the nuns who was dispatched on a begging mission was Sister Mary Pius Black. She is Mary Black aged 13 in the 1860 census, but she was aged 20, and had entered the order, when she set out in October 1867, along with Sister Francis Xavier Davy, to beg in the Eastern States. Sister Pius kept a diary between Oct 1867 and June 1868, describing her progress. The Sisters did not set out to beg in the streets, which I’m sure they would have been free to do; they expected to get the permission and support of bishops and parish priests to collect within parishes (i.e. a priest would mention them to his congregation at Mass and urge them to be generous when the Sisters called). The diary shows that they did not always get this support and a few bishops forbad them from begging and one told them not to show their faces again. The diary is reproduced in Chapter XX (pages 178 – 204) and breaks off when they are at Charlestown and still a long way from Leavenworth (‘June 28th , Sunday – Charlestown. We went this afternoon with Mrs. Donovan to St. Francis’ Church, built on Bunker Hill battle-ground. The church is beautiful’).
The entry that interested me most was the made on May 12th, 1868: ‘Boston, Mass. I must not forget my 6 cents’ worth of a birthday present. This day, twenty-one years ago, I first breathed the air of my dear island home, Ireland.’ I wondered when and how Mary Black had come to be in the care of the Srs of Charity, Leavenworth, at age 13. I thought she must have come with her parents around the time of the Great Famine and that she had been orphaned in the U.S., but later in the book we meet her again, and this time she indicates that her parents are alive. It seems that the begging mission had been a success and so she was dispatched to Ireland in September 1871, along with Sister Mary Baptist. They spent five months in Ireland, but all that survives is one letter from Sister Pius to Mother Xavier, written from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, in June, 1872: “Convent of Mercy, Enniscorthy, Ireland, June 30th, 1872. Dear Mother: …. We have been going through the county outside Enniscorthy for the last three weeks and got back on Thursday, June 27th. We found three letters from you, one from Sister Ignatia, and one from my poor dear mother and father and my mother’s picture. …Tis pouring rain at present; it rains all the time, I might say. We have learned not to mind the weather; if we are walking, we take our umbrellas – a lady in Gorey made us a present of one each; if we are riding, we throw our shawls on our heads and go on, unless we are in a covered car, but the most we have been in were uncovered.’
Sister Mary Pius comes across as quite a lighthearted person; when confronted by a Vicar General, she confides to her diary, ‘I am afraid of Vicars General on general principles’; on another occasion she says, ‘ indulged in that time-honored feminine remedy – a good cry.’ I was sorry to see that she died in 1877, aged only 30.

Here is something that intrigues me: on page 425 we are told, ‘So numerous were the demands for the services of the Sisters, that it was decided in the fall of 1895 to send Sister Anacleta and Sister Mary Bridget to Ireland with a view to secure recruits for the missionary work … in the Western States. The two Sisters went to the Convents in different places and made known to the Superiors the purpose of their coming. Generous souls were found ready to bid farewell to home and those whom the heart holds dearest on earth, to give their youth, their health, their lives, and labor in a distant land for the sole love of God and he salvation of souls. ….On the 10th of December, 1895, the voyagers with the young recruits arrived, and need it be written that they were received a warm welcome to the land of their choice?’ This recruiting was done so quickly that I wonder if the recruits were girls who had already entered some Sisters of Charity order in Ireland and then volunteered to go to the Western States. Was this how recruitment was done and, if so, did the recruiting nuns just visit convents (and not parishes)? – maybe a bit of both.

Sheila

Sduddy
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by Sduddy » Tue Jun 16, 2020 10:08 am

I’ve been reading (online) the preview of a book entitled Unlikely Entrepreneurs: Catholic Sisters and the Hospital Marketplace, 1865-1925, by Barbara Mann Wall (Ohio State University Press, 2005): https://books.google.ie/books?id=CzT8om ... &q&f=false, and I’ve found it helpful in providing context for the recruiting of Irish women to religious orders, both at home and abroad.

On page 19, Barbara Mann Wall lists religious orders of nuns who came to America from Europe in the middle of the 19th century, and goes on to say that the Irish women were particulary active, especially the Sisters of Mercy (founded in Dublin in 1831 by Catherine McAuley). Already, by 1840, they had established a hospital in Pittsburgh, and they spread from there to other cities. She says, “Wars provided proving grounds for sisters because their nursing during these conflicts helped improve negative perceptions of Catholics. Nuns’ nursing service during the Civil War brought just such an opportunity. As a result, the public’s perceptions of sisters and the Catholic Church itself improved dramatically.”

On page 29, Barbara Mann Wall deals with issues regarding work, the first being market needs and the second being staffing. Regarding the latter, she says,
Ireland particularly was a fertile field for gleaning recruits. Irish girls found communities in the United States expecially attractive because many did not demand large dowries. Instead, they required education, which the Irish had. The Irish church also was the only European one offering English-speaking women. As early as 1845, the imbalance in favor of the Irish began for the Sisters of the Holy Cross. That year, eight women, all but one of Irish birth, received the habit. During the Civil War, three-fourths of the nearly eighty Holy Cross sisters who nursed in the conflict were born in Ireland. An intense spirit of competition occurred among women’s communities in obtaining Irish recruits…. In 1873, of the ninety-three women who entered the Holy Cross congregation, sixty-one were Irish-born. In 1898, fifty seven aspirants left Ireland to join the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Louis…. In 1900, Mother Mary John O’Shaughnessy [Incarnate Word Sisters] brought back forty women to San Antonio. Four years later, another Incarnate Word sister left Dublin with thirty-eight more.
On page 37, Barbara Mann Wall gives some reasons for why so many Irish women opted for entering a religious order. She explains that in postfamine rural Ireland,
changes in inheritance patterns produced a surplus of sons and daughters, and women had few social or economic benefits. Demographic trends revealed infrequent marriages, high celebacy rates, gender segregation, and a massive female exodus as the country held fewer and fewer opportunities for women. Many women preferred to enter a convent rather than experience the perils of childbearing or tedious and backbreaking work on the family farm. As increasing numbers of young Irish women joined religious congregations and took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, they voluntarily experienced conditions that, in all likelihood, they would have faced as nonreligious women. With few marriage prospects and a future of dependence on family and relatives, hundreds of thousands of women fled their homes and joined convents in Ireland and elsewhere. By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Irish women dominated migration. This pattern was unique among European migrants
.

Sheila

matthewmacnamara
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by matthewmacnamara » Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:21 pm

There was also a steady stream of Irish women into French and Belgian [French speaking] convents.
Theirs is an unwritten history, difficult to write as the women were do dispersed. In effect they were absorbed into and across the vast French Catholic world in many different religious orders.
There is a memoir published by a Clare Bon Secours nun [a Guinane from a river Fergus island] who spent a lot of
time in France, including the world war 2 years.
Reading it I was struck by how much she had become a French Catholic in outlook.
An Irish nun, perhaps a Mac Carthy, was a Resistance heroine whose name is recorded at the Resistance room at
the Invalides in Paris.

moranding
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by moranding » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:19 am

In 1838 , 5 Sisters of Charity at the responnse of their foundress Mary Aikenhead,arrived in Sydney.
A local bishop had requested the support

moranding
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by moranding » Sat Jun 20, 2020 1:32 am

In 1838 , 5 Sisters of Charity, at the response of their foundress Mary Aikenhead,arrived in Sydney, Australia
Bishop Polding had visited Ireland in 1836 and discussed the plight of many convict women and children in the colony .
Much has been written about these early sisters, volunteers, and their legacy
This group of courageous women formed the basis for a teaching and nursing ministry which continues today
I have contacted the Dublin website of the order to ascertain the counties of origin of the 5 sisters
Moranding

smcarberry
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Location: USA

Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by smcarberry » Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:45 pm

Late to this thread, as I have been rummaging about for an old posting of mine on Clare women brought to a convent at (as I remember ir) Middletown, Connecticut. That one must be on the old Rootsweb board for Clare. Instead, today I saw newspaper items on a convent in Hartford CT for which a Clare woman was a Mother Superior. That type of article and several others on Irish brought to convents in the U.S. and South Africa can be brought up with the search term "Irish postulants" at this site: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

From my saved items, see the two attachments, one of which relates to Sheila's original post about the Leavenworth convent and its practices.

Of interest may be my old Forum post about The Irish Canadian, in which I describe a newpaper article giving a good amount of biographical info on postulants from Ireland arriving for their lives in a Canadian convent. Just input the newspaper name in the search box of the Forum (upper right corner of the screen) to reach that.

Sharon Carberry
KS convent's recruiting Clare women 1895.jpg
KS convent's recruiting Clare women 1895.jpg (15.38 KiB) Viewed 1586 times
Fitzgerald, Ella, Sr Mary de Sales, CT convent dth.GIF
Fitzgerald, Ella, Sr Mary de Sales, CT convent dth.GIF (93.24 KiB) Viewed 1586 times

Sduddy
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by Sduddy » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:05 am

Thank you Matthew, moranding, and Sharon for your replies.

Matthew, the Resistance nun was Sr Kate McCarthy from Co. Cork, but I haven’t found anything for the Guinane nun you mention.

Moranding, I was surprised to see Irish nuns going to Australia as early as 1838.

Sharon, thank you for those newpaper cuttings, especially the one that tallies with the mention in Sr Buckner’s history of Leavenworth Sisters of Charity of the recruitment of girls in Ireland in 1895. Sr Buckner did not list the counties of course, so it was interesting to see that Co. Clare was included in that recruiting drive. Thanks also for that link, which I’ve started to explore (and trying not get distracted by other newsitems!). For instance I see that in Feb 1898, 60 Irish girls, postulants for the order of St. Joseph at St. Louis, Mo., embarked aboard the Red Star line steamer Pennland for Philadelphia, escorted by Sister Mary Paul (Omaha Sunday Bee, 27 Feb 1898). I suppose that girls recruited in Ireland appear in emigration records as just girls – not as postulants.
A grandaunt of mine entered the Holy Cross sisters in Clayton Township, Indiana. The 1900 census shows her there, in St. Mary’s Academy, working as a Launderess. I don’t know whether she was recruited in Ireland, or in America. Looking at that 1900 census, I was struck by the number of nuns who were Irish born. There were 200 nuns altogether (they occupy four pages of the census) and of those 200, about 100 were Irish born, and about 45 more were born of Irish parents in the U.S. The remaining 55 were from U.S. Germany, France and a few other countries. Familysearch transcribes all the names, dates of birth, immigration dates, and nationalities, but I did a spreadsheet myself (attached) which adds the occupations of the nuns. Not many of the Irish born nuns got to be teachers – they are mostly doing housework, but a good many of the Irish nuns in the older age-group are described as retired, so maybe they had been nurses or teachers at a earlier time in their lives. I gather (from googling) that the Holy Cross nuns take great pride in their place in the history of the Civil War, when they worked as nurses.
I was interested, also, to see how many of the nuns had emigrated between 1848 and 1852, during the Great Famine and the aftermath.

The census data in this spreadsheet is presented in a way that might seem odd, but it’s to show firstly the large number of nuns born in Ireland (so that they can be looked at as a group in themselves), then the nuns born in the U.S. of Irish parents and then the remaining nuns.

Sheila
StMarysAcademy1900.xlsx
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Sduddy
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by Sduddy » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:44 am

I looked at the 1880 census for St. Mary’s Academy and found, again, that half the nuns were Irish born. Of the 240 nuns listed, 119 were born in Ireland. The names were written more neatly and more legibly than in 1900, but the information is not so complete. Immigration dates and occupations are not recorded, and I think the column for birthplace of parents was not completed very carefully. For this census I made another spreadsheet (attached), and this time it looks more like a normal spreadsheet.

Sheila
StMarysAcademy1880.xlsx
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StMarysAcademy1880 IrishBorn.xlsx
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matthewmacnamara
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by matthewmacnamara » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:12 pm

Sheila,
The nun was Sister Rose Anne Ginnane
who wrote a book about her experiences

From Coney Island to Paris,
Litho Press, Midleton, 1989

Some decades ago I visited Coney Island in the Fergus estuary
and met a Mr Tom Ginnane still in residence there.
She lived through world war 2 in France

Sduddy
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by Sduddy » Wed Jun 24, 2020 12:44 pm

Hi Matthew
Thanks for taking the trouble to look that up. I did a search for Sr. Rose Anne Ginnane and see that she was born in 1913: https://www.genealogy.com/forum/surname ... innane/23/. I wonder if she describes life in Coney Island before she left. I will have to read the book. I was reading about Coney Island in Clare Places: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclar ... island.htm - the article, “Fergus Islanders Reaped Rich Harvest”, which appeared in the Clare Champion of May 05, 1956, is very interesting.

Sheila

matthewmacnamara
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Re: Recruitment to religious orders abroad, or from abroad

Post by matthewmacnamara » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:23 pm

Most of the book deals with her life as a nun in France.
There are about fourteen pages at the outset about island life.
The island farmers were relatively prosperous.

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