Called to Serve
A History of Nuns in America
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Sister Mary Scullion, RSM, a member of the Sisters of Mercy, began working with Philadelphia’s homeless and mentally ill men and women in 1978 at the age of twenty-five, leading her, she once reflected, to “the most profound experience [she] ever had of God.”1 As her ministry to this population grew into a lifetime commitment, Sister Mary was arrested at least twice for distributing food to those homeless seeking shelter in Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station, and although never convicted, she spent several nights in jail. On another occasion, Sister Mary, along with some men and women who had been denied admittance to the city’s overcrowded...
1. Organizing to Serve
The lives of Jerusha Booth Barber and her husband, Episcopal priest Virgil Barber, changed dramatically when they decided that the Catholic Church was indeed the true path to salvation. In February 1817, Jerusha and Virgil, parents of five children, received their First Communion from Father Benedict Fenwick, who would be named Bishop of Boston in 1825.1...
2. Service to a Growing Catholic Community
When Anne-Thérèse Guerin's parents celebrated her birth in the French village of Etables-sur-Mer in 1798, they never expected that their beloved daughter would find fulfillment as a woman religious in rural Indiana. Anne-Thérèse was convinced that she was called to religious life from an early age, but family responsibilities, including caring for her mother ...
3. Serving through Education
On Monday, December 1, 1958, most of the 1,668 students attending Chicago’s Our Lady of the Angels School were readjusting to classroom activities after the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. Their teachers, knowing how difficult it could be to return their students’ attention to school after a long weekend, had prepared a day centered on academic pursuits. Eighth-...
4. Serving the Sick
The very mention of cholera was guaranteed to strike fear in the hearts of nineteenth-century Americans. The disease’s symptoms are unmistakable: severe vomiting and diarrhea along with intense abdominal pain, dehydration, and shock, leading eventually to death. Many Ameri-cans believed that cholera was transmitted primarily by “bad air,” a theory ...
5. Serving Those in Need
Msrion Gurney, a recent convert to Catholicism, was convinced there was only one way to bring salvation to New York City residents in the early twentieth century. “[T]he city of New York will be saved if it is,” Gurney claimed, “not by the distribution of clothing and groceries, nor yet by the study of Browning and the cultivation of fine arts, but by regeneration of individual human lives as one by one they are brought back to the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.”1 Gurney, a graduate of Wellesley College, was an enthusiastic advocate of social settlements, which gave middle- and upper-class Americans the opportunity to live...
6. Praying for the World
"Most people are thrilled to have someone write about them,” claims freelance journalist and writer Kristen Ohlson in her 2003 book Stalking the Divine. “A few refuse,” she acknowledges, “knowing how often jour-nalists botch their characterizations of people either through spite or just because it’s so hard to get the details right. In either case, people tend to ...
7. Redefining Sisterhood
Ethel Marian Danforth earned a graduate degree in journalism and worked as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Press before entering the Maryknoll Sisters in 1933, receiving the name Sister Maria del Rey. Mother Mary Columba Tarpey, Maryknoll’s Mother General from 1947 until 1958, appreciated Sister Maria del Rey’s talents, and assigned her to tasks that resulted in the engineering of “a series of stunning publicity coups, including a flattering story [about Maryknoll] in Time magazine.”1 Thanks to Sister Maria del Rey’s efforts, Mother Columba was chosen to represent women...
8. Serving Today
Sister Helen Prejean did not hesitate when asked if she would write to an inmate housed on Louisiana State Penitentiary’s death row. She later explained that agreeing to the request seemed to fit with her ministry in St. Thomas, a New Orleans housing project of mostly poor African American residents. Sister Helen remembered that she came “to St. Thomas to serve ...
About the Author
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 844729540
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Called to Serve