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Sisters serving their country

(Note: This document was provided by the Liturgy Department and revised in 2009 with some additions made this year)

Memorial Day

Each year on this day, we honor our Sisters and Chaplains who have served our country in the military. The following information has been obtained from “Lest We Forget,” a book written by Sister Mary Theodosia Mug, and from Chapter XX of “Nuns of the Battlefield,” by Ellen Ryan Jolly.

Two of our Chaplains at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods were servicemen. The first of these was Monsignor Augustine J. Rawlinson, a veteran of World War I. Born in 1877 in Ithaca, New York, Monsignor Rawlinson served with the American Army for both the United States and in France. Monsignor died in December 1939 at the age of 62.

A veteran of World War II, Monsignor James P. Galvin was born in Indianapolis in 1914. A captain in the United States Army, Monsignor served as chaplain in England, Belgium, Germany and France. Monsignor Galvin died at the age of 81 in April 1995.

The following Sisters of Providence served our country in a time of need.

Eleven Sisters of Providence served in military hospitals during the Civil War. Some of these Sisters were nurses while others served in various capacities to bring relief to the wounded soldiers in the armies of both the North and the South.

Sister St. Felix Buchanan served in a temporary hospital in Vincennes, Indiana. Sister was born in Somerset, Ohio, in 1830, and died in November 1879 at the age of 49.

Sister Josephine Bryan

Sister Helena Burns was one of several Civil War veterans born in Ireland. Sister was born in 1831 and died in December 1913. Sister was 82 at the time of her death.

Sister Frances Ann Carney was born in Ireland in 1836. Sister died in May 1904 at the age of 68.

Serving as an army nurse and as Director of the Military Hospital in Indianapolis, Sister Athanasius Fogarty was born in Ireland in 1834. Sister was 66 years old when she died in April 1900.

Born in Bellefontain, Pennsylvania in 1837, Sister Sophie Glenn served in a temporary hospital in Vincennes. Sister Sophie was 36 years old when she died in April 1873.

Sister Eugenia Gorman was born in Indiana County, Pennsylvania in 1829. She died in May 1908 at the age of 79.

Born in Strasbourg, Germany, in 1827, Sister Mary Francis Guthneck served in the Military Hospital in Indianapolis and died in April 1901. Sister was 64 years of age.

Sister Louise Maloney was born in Ireland in 1830. Sister was 42 years of age when she died in April 1872.

Born in Ireland in 1837, Sister Henriette MacKenzie died at the age of 80 in January 1917.

Sister Mary Rose O’Donoghue was born in Loogootee, Indiana, in 1841. Sister died in June 1868 at the age of 27.

Sister Patricia “Pat” Linehan

Born in Wertenberg, Germany in 1831, Sister Matilda Swimley served in the Military Hospital in Indianapolis and died in February 1881 at the age of 50.

One Sister of Providence was a nurse veteran of World War I. Sister Frances de Lourdes Reilly was born in Chicago in 1888, and died at the age of 80 in April 1968.

Two of our Sisters were veterans of World War II. Sister Ruth Sondhaus was born in St. Louis in 1916. Sister served in Naval Intelligence. Sister was 74 years old when she died in March 1990.

Sister Catherine Hartman was born in 1920 in Evansville, Indiana. Sister was a lieutenant in the Women’s Reserve in the United States Marines and died in February 1994 at the age of 74.

Sister Merry Marcotte was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1942. Sister served with the American National Red Cross for six years, including two years in Vietnam as a caseworker in military hospitals. Merry died on Feb. 17, 2008.

In addition, Sister Josephine Bryan served as a registered nurse in the Vietnam War as a volunteer with Catholic Relief Services. Sister Josephine currently ministers in health care in California.

Sister Patricia “Pat” Linehan also served in the Navy Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War on the U.S. Naval hospital ship, Repose. Sister Pat currently ministers as a freelance artist in the Terre Haute area.

On Monday, May 29, 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 at Mass.

In addition, volunteers will be asked to pray and place an American Flag at the gravesites of those who served.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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  1. Avatar Theresa Tighe on May 26, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    A lovely and inspiring entry and a wonderful reminder of the myriad ways the sisters have brought God’s comfort and grace all and their country.

  2. Avatar Alice Farinas de Leon on October 13, 2017 at 3:52 am

    I have tried to keep up with the nuns I had at St. Columbkille grade school and high school. The one nun I forgot to check on was the principal, Sister Louise. She was definitely the principal in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

    My aunt was Sister Bernice O’Neil. I must make a trip to St. Mary of the Woods some time soon. God bless all of you!

    Thanks for your help.

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