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Angela, Mother (21 February 1824–04 March 1887), educator and religious sister, was born Eliza Marie Gillespie in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Purcell Gillespie, an attorney, and Mary Madeleine Miers. After the death of her father the family moved to Lancaster, Ohio, in 1838. Eliza was educated by Dominican nuns in Somerset and later attended the Ladies’ Academy of the Visitation in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C....

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Bowman, Thea (29 December 1937–30 March 1990), Roman Catholic nun, educator, and advocate for Catholicism within African American communities, was born Bertha Elizabeth Bowman in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the daughter of Theon Edward Bowman and Mary Esther Coleman Bowman. According to Bowman, her childhood was relatively happy and free from financial worries; her father was a doctor and her mother had been a teacher prior to the birth of their only child. As a young girl Bowman attended a number of African American churches, including Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Adventist, A.M.E., and A.M.E. Zion. Relationships she developed with members of the Catholic Order of the Missionary Servants of the Moly Holy Trinity, which included priests, sisters, and brothers, led her to convert to Catholicism when she was nine years old. In June 1947 Bowman was baptized at Holy Child Jesus Mission in Canton, Mississippi. She made her First Communion the following day....

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Gill, Mother Irene (25 March 1856–22 December 1935), educator and Roman Catholic religious, was born in Galway, Ireland, and baptized Lucy, the daughter of Joshua Gill, a small-businessman, and Catherine Fox. Forced to migrate by economic conditions, in 1868 Lucy with her mother, sister Elizabeth, and a brother joined three sisters already living in New York City. Her father emigrated with another son to join children living in Australia. It is uncertain whether the elder Gills were ever reunited. Catherine Gill and her children lived on the Lower East Side, where Lucy attended St. Catherine’s Academy, run by the Sisters of Mercy, the religious community that two of her elder sisters had joined....

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Guérin, Anne-Thérèse (02 October 1798–14 May 1856), educator and religious leader, was born in Étables (Côtes-du-Nord), Brittany, France, the daughter of Laurent Guérin, a naval officer during the Napoleonic wars, and Isabelle Lefèvre. Anne-Thérèse received her basic education in reading, writing, and religion from her mother. At age nine she attended a small village school, which closed after one year. At about that time a young cousin of the Guérins, a seminarian studying for the priesthood, came to live with the family. He tutored Anne-Thérèse, and after his departure she continued her education by reading widely, in particular in literature and history....

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Hayden, Mother Bridget (26 August 1814–23 January 1890), Roman Catholic missionary nun and educator, was born Margaret Hayden in Kilkenny, Ireland, the daughter of Thomas Hayden and Bridget Hart. She and her family emigrated to the United States around 1820, settling in Perryville, Missouri, where her Father worked as a wheelwright. She attended schools at the Barrens near Perryville and at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Both schools were run by the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross, a congregation of Catholic women religious of chiefly American origin. After two of her sisters joined the congregation, Hayden followed their example in 1841, taking the religious name of Sister Mary Bridget. She received her early training at Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and at the congregation’s mother house in Loretto, Kentucky....

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McGroarty, Sister Julia (13 February 1827–12 November 1901), Roman Catholic educator and provincial, was born in Inver near Donegal, Ireland, and baptized Susan, the daughter of Neil McGroarty and Catherine Bonner, farmers. She was the second daughter and third of ten children. In the spring of 1831 the family followed several of Catherine Bonner McGroarty’s relatives to Ohio via Quebec. Neil McGroarty farmed briefly in Fayetteville, then turned to railroad and turnpike building, moving the family to Cincinnati. He died there of pneumonia in 1838. Catherine McGroarty raised her children with the assistance of her relatives, particularly physician brother Stephen Bonner; she did not remarry....

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Pommerel, Celestine (07 April 1813–07 June 1857), superior general of the Sisters of St. Joseph in the United States, was born Marie Pommerel in Feillans, Ain, France, the daughter of André Pommerel and Louise Pommiers. A wealthy, cultured, and deeply religious couple, Marie’s parents gave her an excellent education by the Sisters of St. Charles, Macon, France. She then entered the Sisters of St. Joseph in Lyons, France, where she received the habit in 1831. Two years later she made her vows and began teaching in the diocese of Chamberry....