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Sister Cornelia Connelly


In 1846, encouraged by Lord Shrewsbury and Bishop Wiseman, Sister Cornelia established the first house of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus. There she began to manifest her qualities as a leader in education and spirituality. Its beginning was small and there were many deprivations, but a spirit of joy and peace prevailed. Sr. Cornelia was able to inspire in her sisters something of her own serenity in adversity.

Through the years, she fought priests and bishops seeking control of the community, and she won. Soon they were running schools for the poor and needy, holding day and night schools, helping in the parishes, as well as Sunday classes to accommodate the young factory workers. One sister observed that Sr. Cornelia “looks as if she must be obeyed.” Another sister added her major trait was a “bright encouraging spirit.”

excerpt from

Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America—John J. Fialka.

St. Martin’s Press. New York, NY. 2003

Those who wish to read more about these incredible women and their gift of service to the church and the world can do so in John’s book, which you can order from Amazon.com or receive directly from SOAR! for a donation of $50. This donation will support retired religious sisters and brothers through the work of SOAR! To receive the book for your donation, please contact Danielle Bell directly by email or by phone at 202.529.7627.

March 2014

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