Sisters serving their country
Since the Civil War, a handful of Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., have answered the call of duty many times in many different ways.
On Monday, May 26, our country will celebrate Memorial Day.
Eleven sisters served during the Civil War (1861-65), including Sisters St. Felix Buchanan, Helena Burns, Frances Ann Carney, Athanasius Fogarty, Eugenia Gorman, Sophie Glenn, Mary Francis Guthneck, Henrietta MacKenzie, Mary Louise Malone, Mary Rose O’Donaghue and Matilda Swinley.
The sisters were called to serve in military hospitals in Indianapolis and Vincennes during the five-year feud.
Sisters Mary Rose, St. Felix, Sophie, Athanasius, Eugenia, Mary Frances and Matilda are all buried in the convent cemetery with tombstones reading, “U.S. Army Nurse Civil War.”
Other Sisters of Providence have served their country during time of war, including:
* Sister Francis de Lourdes Reilly – nurse during World War I (before entering the Congregation),
* Sister Ruth Sondhaus – served in World War II in Naval Intelligence (before entering the Congregation),
* Sister Catherine Hartman – served as a lieutenant in the Women’s Reserve in the U.S. Marine Corps (before entering the Congregation),
* Sister Josephine Bryan – served as a registered nurse in the Vietnam War as a volunteer with Catholic Relief Services,
* Sister Patricia “Pat” Linehan – served in the Navy Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War on the U.S. Naval hospital ship, Repose (before entering the Congregation), and
* Sister Merry Marcotte – served as a volunteer Red Cross medical social worker during the Vietnam War.
Of all the sisters who have served during times of war, only Sister Pat Linehan and Josephine Bryan are still living.
On Monday, May 26, during Mass, the Sisters of Providence will honor the sisters who have served their country during times of war. The names of the sisters and chaplains who served our country during military times will be recognized.
In addition, volunteers will be asked to pray and place an American Flag at the gravesite of those who served.