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The Irish Connection

This undated photo depicts Sister Gemma Malone (second from left in back row) and her sister, Sister Francis Catherine (back row, far right) along with Sister Mercedes McAllister (back row, left), Reverend Michael Malone (front, center), Margaret Ann Doriot (front, left) and Jule Doriot. Margaret Ann Doriot later entered the Congregation and was given the religious name Sister Thomas Jeanne.

From time to time, people get on Facebook and send us requests for the weekly Throwback Thursday blog.

We love scouring through the Archives, with help from Sister Marie Grace Malloy, looking up the information on these sisters.

Judy Copeland recently inquired about a Sister Francis Catherine Malone, saying that “in the new year, I’d like to see the life and photos of Sister Francis Catherine Malone. She was my former teacher many years ago. She also had a sister, Sister Gemma …”

Well, here is a special Throwback Thursday for you, Judy.

Sister Francis Catherine was born Sarah Therese Malone, on Feb. 22, 1904, to Francis Malone and Sara Byrnes Malone. She was born in County Armagh, Ireland, one of the six counties that form Northern Ireland.

Her family left Ireland for Chicago and Sister Francis Catherine entered the Congregation on Feb. 11, 1922.

Mostly, she ministered as an elementary school teacher, including time in Illinois, Massachusetts and Indiana.

While ministering in Jasper, she became ill, but eventually started ministering again – this time at Sacred Heart in Terre Haute, in 1960.

However, only three months into the ministry, Sister Francis Catherine came back to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, as her illness worsened. She died on Jan. 13, 1961. She was 56 years old and had been a Sister of Providence for 39 years.

In the commentary for her obituary, it was noted that “Sister Francis Catherine was an interesting, energetic person, and a very good religious. Her influence was noticeable on her pupils, and she was untiring in her care of them and devotion to their welfare.”

Sister Francis Catherine was survived by four sisters, including Sister Gemma Malone. Their brother, Reverend Michael Malone, CSV, had died several years before.

Sister Gemma was born Mary Bridget Malone on May 19, 1902. She entered the Congregation on Oct. 5, 1917.

Sister Gemma ministered as a teacher in Fort Wayne, Terre Haute, Hammond, Indianapolis and Jasper (at St. Joseph for 11 years) – all in Indiana – as well as in Chicago.

Her final ministry was as a teacher for five years at St. Angela, located in Chicago, and as a Parish Visitor for the Sick – for two years.

She became ill during this ministry in 1980 and came back to the Woods in June.

Only one day before her death on Sept. 23, 1980, Sister Gemma told another sister, “I came home just in time. I like it here.”

In the commentary for her obituary, it was said that “Sister Gemma was always considered a pleasant person with whom to live and respected by fellow teachers, pupils and parents, as an excellent primary teacher. Sister Gemma’s absence was noted regretfully after she left a particular mission.”

Sister Gemma was 78 years old when she died. She had been a Sister of Providence for 62 years.

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Jason Moon

Jason Moon serves as media relations manager for the Sisters of Providence. Previously, he spent more than 16 years in the newspaper industry.

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3 Comments

  1. Donna Butler on January 12, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I don’t remember the specifics but I know my father was fond of Sister Gemma. Because the Doriots are in the photo, I’m assuming this was taken in Fort Wayne and that is where she would have taught my father. Thanks, Jason.

    • Sister Thomas Jeanne Doriot, S.P. on January 18, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Such a nice surprise to see this picture!

      This photo was most likely taken by my father, Jule Doriot. In it with the Malones are Sister Mercedes, my mother (Margaret Doriot) and me standing in front of the Woodland Inn.

      Sister Mercedes was my 5th grade teacher at Saint Patrick’s Grade School in Fort Wayne, from which my brother, Tom, also graduated. Sister Gemma had been at Saint Patrick’s before my time and knew my family. She had been Providentially reassigned to Saint Patrick’s and was there too for my brother’s First Mass celebration in 1949.
      Sister Gemma was instrumental in convincing Dad, a Saint Patrick’s choir member, to sing at my brother’s first Benediction the afternoon of the First Mass. Our family was always grateful for her having done this.
      Sister Mercedes was one of two Saint Patrick’s grade school teachers to nurture my vocation.Sister Irene Cecile, piano teacher, was the other.
      Thank you so much for the memories!
      Sister Thomas Jeanne Doriot, S.P.

  2. Judy Copeland on January 12, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you so very much for this information. Sister Francis Catherine was a dearly beloved teacher and friend. I remember Sister Gemma, but not as well. What a wonderful family with three religious!

    Thanks again, Jason

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