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Friday, May 17, 2013

Angela Gillespie, Mother Superior, Sisters of the Holy Cross

From: Department of the Navy--Naval Historical Center


Eliza Maria Gillespie was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, on 21 February 1824. After graduation from Visitation Academy in Georgetown, District of Columbia, in 1842, she performed charitable and other work in her parish and taught school in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In 1853, she joined the Sisters of the Holy Cross, a French order of Roman Catholic Nuns, taking the name Sister Mary of Saint Angela. During the next several years she directed the U.S. branch of the order and its school, Saint Mary's College, in South Bend, Indiana. Under her leadership, the Sisters of the Holy Cross became one of the Nation's leading teaching orders.

During the American Civil War, Mother Angela and the Sisters of the Holy Cross undertook nursing service in the Mississippi River area. Among other endeavors, they established and ran a large general hospital at Mound City, Illinois, and provided nursing staff for the U.S. Navy's hospital ship Red Rover.  Mother Angela continued in the leadership of her order after the conflict. She died at Notre Dame, Indiana, on 4 March 1887.

IMAGE: U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph

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