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Recognizing the Sisters who served our Country

Observing Memorial Day means a lot more than firing up the grill and serving hamburgers and hot dogs.

As a country, we recognize those who lost their lives during war time.

Seventeen Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, answered the call of duty to serve our country during times of war.

On Monday, May 27, many Sisters of Providence will take flags to the Congregation cemetery and place them next to the grave of those sisters who served.

Sister Josephine Bryan

Of the 17 Sisters of Providence who answered the call, 11 served during the Civil War (1861-1865), 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.

They served in military hospitals in Indianapolis and Vincennes during the war.

Sister Patricia “Pat” Linehan

Six of those Sisters of Providence are buried in the convent cemetery with tombstones recognizing their service as “U.S. Army Nurse Civil War.”

Other Sisters of Providence have served during times of war, including:

  • Sister Josephine Bryan, who served as a registered nurse in the Vietnam War as a volunteer with Catholic Relief Services,
  • The late Sister Catherine Hartman, who served as a lieutenant in the Women’s Reserve in the U.S. Marine Corps before entering the Congregation,
  • Sister Patricia “Pat” Linehan, who served in the Navy Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War on the U.S. Naval hospital ship, Repose before entering the Congregation,
  • The late Sister Merry Marcotte, who served as a volunteer Red Cross medical social worker during the Vietnam War,
  • The late Sister Francis de Lourdes Reilly, who served as a nurse during World War I before entering the Congregation, and
  • The late Sister Ruth Sondhaus, who served in World War II in Naval Intelligence before entering the Congregation.

Of the Sisters of Providence who served the country, only Sister Josephine and Sister Pat are still living.

Sister Merry Marcotte

Before we fire up those grills today, take the time to remember all of those who lost their lives during times of war to serve and protect our country, as well as those, like our sisters, who have and continue to help people during wartime.

And maybe the grill can wait as Tuesday, May 28, is International Hamburger Day. Bon Appetit!

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Jason Moon

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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