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Treasures from Archives: Sister St. Francis Xavier’s slippers

One day while gathering some information for a blog on the death of Sister St. Francis Xavier Le Fer, I ran across some intriguing information about an artifact belonging to her. I found the information in the capacious first volume of the Congregation’s history written by Sister Mary Borromeo Brown. The information concerned a pair of slippers that belonged to Sister St. Francis Xavier. On page 766, one reads:

“Sister Saint Francis Xavier’s health, as we know, had been delicate for years. Though somewhat above medium height, she was very slight of build. A pair of bedroom slippers, probably sent from France and hardly worn, preserved in the museum, are almost incredibly small. This frail physical constitution all but prevented her ever seeing Indiana at the very outset of her religious life. We have noted that on the ocean during her voyage to America in the summer of 1841, she overheard the superior of the religious of the Sacred Heart who were traveling with her, Mother Sallion, speaking to the captain about the disposition to be made of her remains after she expired.”

When I read that these slippers were “preserved in the museum” I was pretty excited. I figured the museum that Sister Mary Borromeo referred to was in old Foley Hall. So I contacted Sister Mary Ryan, archivist, and she found the archival box containing these slippers in the inner sanctum of Archives!

Mother Sallion didn’t know the real constitution of Sister St. Francis Xavier for she made it across the ocean and served her Provident God in Indiana until her death on Jan. 31, 1856.

Sister St. Francis Xavier Le Fer

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Connie McCammon

Connie McCammon worked in the communications office for the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

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