Entrance book digitally preserved
The staff members of the Sisters of Providence Archives are making sure that all people, wherever they are located in this world, can have access to many of the Congregation’s records by digitizing them. The staff members are also trying to protect the Congregation’s historical treasures from — heaven forbid — natural disasters or even a fire that could destroy or seriously damage journals, photographs, records, etc.
Thanks to the assistance of the Indiana Historical Society’s Historic Document Preservation Program and the Preservation Imaging Lab, the first of two entrance books that record the entry of all women into the Congregation has been digitized.
On page 1 of the first entrance book is a list that includes Saint Mother Theodore Guerin as well as the five sisters who came from France with her. They are Sister St. Vincent Ferrer Gagé, Sister Basilide Sénéschal, Sister Olympiade Boyer, Sister Mary Xavier Lerée and Sister Mary Liguori Tiercin. On page 2, the list of the women who came after this initial group begins. It starts with Sister Louis Gonzaga’s entrance on Nov. 9, 1840. Born in Baltimore, her birth name was Marie Doyle. She was sent home Feb. 4, 1842.
The first entrance book concludes with number 3,306 — Sister Evelyn Theresa — on page 300. Her birth name was Catherine Hickey and she was born Oct. 3, 1918, in Chicago.
The entries not only include the woman’s religious name, but, in most cases, birth name, date of birth, place of birth and parents’ names. Entries include the date of the sister’s death. Some indicate that the woman left voluntarily, while a few indicate that a woman was “sent” home.
Please note: When the entrance book was scanned by the Indiana Historical Society a few pages were covered with notes adding clarifying information. These notes prevent the reading of a few pages. The information that is covered appears below.
On page 2 a note covers the following information:
#1 Nov. 9, 1840: Sister Louis Gonzaga, Marie Doyle, 22 years old, born at Baltimore. Sent Feb. 4, 1842.
#2 Nov. 12, 1840: Sister Mary Joseph, Josephine Pardeillan, 44 years old, born at Saverne, Alsace. Died March 14, 1851.
#3 Nov. 12, 1840: Sister Agnes, Genevieve Dicant (or Ducant?), 36 years old, born at Vincennes, Ind. Died Oct. 30, 1894.
#193 July 6, 1860: Sister M. Baptista, Ann Ryan, born April 6, 1840, in Dublin, Ireland. Mary Pilkington and Edward Ryan. Left Dec. 27, 1867. NOTE: A note indicates that her religious name was Sister M. Baptiste.
#3,113 June 30, 1931: Sister M. Angelus, Bertha Seikel, born Oct. 4, 1890, in Dover, Ohio. Andrew Seikel. Left Nov. 5, 1931.
#3,114 July 12, 1931: Sister Paschal, Dionysis Bornman, born Sept. 10, 1908, in Indianapolis. Anna Beugle (?) and Henry Bornman. Died Feb. 20, 1960.
#3,185 Aug. 21, 1932: Sister M. Dolorosa, Geraldine Curran, born Jan. 9, 1913, in Fort Wayne, Ind. Rose Hughes and John Curran. Left Sept. 5, 1932. NOTE: This was Sister M. Dolorosa’s second entrance into the Congregation. On page 281 it is recorded that she entered on Aug. 23, 1930, as number 3,091. She left Dec. 7, 1930.
#3,186 Aug. 21, 1932: Sister Cecilia Marie, Marie Verdeyen, born Oct. 8, 1913, in Terre Haute, Ind. Joephine Kelly and F.J. Verdeyen. Died Feb. 16, 1985. NOTE: A note indicates the entrance date should have been Aug. 22, 1932.
#3,187 Aug. 22, 1932: Sister Therese Eileen, Verdena Fegan, born June 13, 1910, in Knox, Ind. Mary Sweeney and Herschel Fegan. Died June 16, 2001.
Page 292 additions:
Two small notes were not scanned that appear on page 292. The notes read:
1.) Virginia Louise Downey, Sister Marie Louis, born Nov. 24, 1914, Vincennes, Ind. Mary O’Donnell and Louis Downey. Entered Aug. 23, 1933, and left July 29, 1972.
2.) Sister Dorothy Eileen Howard: Baptismal certificate indicates she was born Jan. 8, 1911, in Indianapolis and baptized at Holy Cross Parish. She was not born in Vincennes and her birth date in the entrance book was in error.
Pages 279 and 287 have been scanned twice because a small note was removed from the original scan in both instances.