Written by SCN Novice Marie Flowers
During the All Soul’s prayer service in our Nazareth, Ky., cemetery, I discovered that four SCN’s had died and were buried in St. Louis, Missouri in the late 1800s. Being a St. Louisian and curious by nature, I had to know more about these sisters. A little research in the archives revealed that each of the Sisters (Etienne Fagan, Mary Adrian Knott, Serena Carney and Bibian Sullivan) had been sent to St. Vincent’s Hospital in St. Louis for mental health care. The hospital was founded in 1858, run by the Daughters of Charity and was recognized as “one of the most renowned in the west.”
During a recent trip to St. Louis for inter-community novitiate class, Liz Wendeln, SCN, and I had the opportunity to visit the grave of our Sisters. Although the cemetery office was closed when we arrived, we walked through the section dedicated to various orders of women religious. We discovered our Sisters’ tombstone in the shadow of St. Vincent’s statue and directly under a shade tree.
It’s hard to imagine what their experiences might have been like, but knowing that they were receiving the best care available in the country and in a hospital run by Sisters in the Vincentian tradition, our Sisters must have felt the bonds of charity supporting them even in their illnesses and distance from Nazareth.