AlumniHall of HonorInductees Q - Z /  The Sisters of Charity

The Sisters of Charity

School Nurses and Housekeeping Staff (1841-1846)

The first women inducted to the Fordham Prep Hall of Honor were literally the first women at the school. In 1840, Bishop John Joseph Hughes acquired Rose Hill Manor in Fordham, New York for just under $30,000 as a site for St. Joseph’s Seminary. A year later, in 1841, the seminary was joined by Hughes’ second Rose Hill endeavor, St. John’s College, later known as Fordham Prep and University. During the development of these institutions, Hughes tapped the Sisters of Charity to staff the school’s Domestic Department.

It was no surprise that Fordham’s founder would turn to the Sisters of Charity for assistance — his connections to the order ran long and deep. His own sister, Mary Angelica Hughes, was a member of the Sisters of Charity at the time. She would eventually be elected mother general of the Sisters in New York and open St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan. There was also the matter of the order’s foundress, Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, the one person who years before had had enough faith in a young John Hughes to use her considerable influence to insure he be given a chance to become a priest.

And so, at Hughes’ request, the Sisters of Charity were sent to Rose Hill where the care of the boys of St. John’s College was entrusted to Sr. Mary Basilia McCann, SC, and the community of women who joined her: Sr. Mary Clement Cahill, Sr. Constantine Hull, Sr. Anaclete Kane, Sr. Susan Knott, Sr. Hieronymo O’Brien, Sr. Mary Theophilia Posey, and Sr. Redempta Zeigler.

They lived in and ran the Infirmary, which was located in the Old Manor House where Collins Auditorium now stands. In addition to their nursing duties, the sisters also took charge of the cooking, cleaning and laundering for the students, among whom would have been a young Paddy Dealy — fellow Hall of Honor inductee Rev. Patrick Dealy, SJ, Class of 1846 — Fordham’s first Jesuit alum and future president of the Prep and university.

As described in the writings of former students from the school’s earliest days, the sisters were regarded with great respect and affection during their years at Fordham, perhaps most of all by the Prep boys and the youngest of the lot, members of Fordham’s now-defunct Third Division, or middle school. As was the protocol of the day, the sisters were addressed by the title “Mother.” Given the warmth and concern with which the boys were treated, this was probably not only a formality, but for some of the boarding students, who were hundreds if not thousands of miles from home, a genuine term of endearment.

McCann and the other members of her community were an integral part of the school’s daily life until the 1846, when the Jesuits began to arrive from Kentucky to take charge of the school.

It is difficult to piece together full biographies for each of the women who served the Prep in its early years, caring for the boys, sometimes around the clock in their fevers and injuries. Records tend to be scarce, and even when available, are incomplete. Moreover, many of the extraordinary contributions of religious, particularly women religious, have long been forgotten by history, or are remembered as accomplishments of the order with little or no acknowledgement of the individuals involved.

In choosing lives of service to God’s people, these remarkable “women for others” likely cared little about making names for themselves or who would recall them in generations to come. Nonetheless, what follows are the known details of the lives of these selfless, resourceful, and heroic women who left their marks on Fordham Prep and University as well as far beyond the gates of Rose Hill.


 
Sr. Mary Basilia McCann, SC

Sister-Servant of the Community of the Sisters of Charity at Rose Hill, Fordham, NY (1841-1846)
Foundress and Mother General, Sisters of Charity of Halifax, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Foundress, St Mary’s School & St. Mary's Orphanage, Halifax, Nova Scotia


Rose (or Rosanna) McCann was born in 1811 — perhaps in Ireland — settling with her family in Maryland at a very young age. Records of her early life are scarce, but it is known that she attended St. Joseph’s Free School, one of the Emmitsburg institutions which had been recently opened by Mother Elizabeth Seton. A well-established tradition among the Sisters of Charity says that McCann and her classmates were prepared for first Communion by Mother Seton herself. Historians of the order doubt the likeliness of the legend, but do point out that it is certain that McCann’s and Seton’s times at Emmitsburg would have overlapped.

By 1829, an 18-year-old McCann had joined the Sisters of Charity as a postulant and on Candlemas 1830 received her habit and became Sr. Mary Basilia. After working in orphanages in Maryland and West Virginia, McCann was the first of the Sisters of Charity to arrive at Rose Hill on September 7, 1841 where she would remain until the end of the sisters’ tenure at St. John’s College in 1846. 

As recorded in her biography, during her first year at Fordham, she “received the grace of friendship with McCloskey.” Rev. John McCloskey, fellow member of the Prep Hall of Honor and Fordham’s first president, would later become the first bishop of Albany, the second archbishop of New York, and the first American-born cardinal. Sister was of great help to McCloskey when it came to one of the fledgling school’s most pressing administrative concerns: finances. Much planning and economizing were needed to keep Hughes’ school open, and heading up the Domestic Department, McCann was in a position to help curb the institution’s expenditures, which she did carefully, "without compromise to the health or well-being of the Faculty or Student Body."

Down through the decades, there have always been guests of considerable note to the Rose Hill Campus. In McCann’s day, however, there was one guest in particular who must have been of great interest to her: an Episcopalian priest named James Roosevelt Bayley, whom McCann and the sisters would receive hospitably whenever he came to visit with his friend, McCloskey. Bayley happened to be the nephew of a certain Elizabeth Bayley, better known by her married name, Seton. It was a great joy to McCann and the others when after his conversion to Catholicism, James Bayley would return to Rose Hill to continue his studies, ultimately to be ordained as a Catholic priest who would serve as Fordham’s third president and final diocesan president before the arrival of the Jesuits.

After her time at Fordham, Mary Basilia was temporarily transferred to a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, but was called back to New York the following year. In the interim, the Sisters of Charity of New York had been established as a new order, separate from the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg. McCann had an option to stay with either order, but she joined the New York Sisters, serving for a time at St. Paul’s School, one of the Sisters’ Brooklyn missions, under local superior, friend and fellow former Fordham infirmarian, Sr. Constantia Hull. In fact, Hull was present the day that the mother general of the New York Sisters came in person to deliver the details of McCann’s next assignment: Halifax.

In 1849, Bishop William Walsh of Halifax, Nova Scotia, asked the Sisters of Charity of New York to send a contingent to help teach the growing population of children of Irish immigrants there. McCann, renowned for her vibrant spirituality, leadership and love for children, led a small group of sisters north to establish a Canadian community, arriving aboard the Cambria on May 11th of that year. In Halifax, McCann founded St. Mary’s School, as well as St. Mary’s Orphanage for Girls. She also established night schools, offering literacy classes for adults, particularly adults of the poor and marginalized of her day — the Catholic Irish immigrants and the rural black community.

Many girls in Halifax were drawn to the sisters and their work, just as McCann herself had been attracted by the community in Emmitsburg. As more and more young women sought entrance into the Nova Scotia community, Bishop Walsh helped McCann and the others to become an independent congregation unto themselves. The novitiate was opened to postulants in 1855, and Mother Basilia McCann took charge of the newly established motherhouse. During her time as superior, she was beloved of her sisters and of the community they served. The Sisters of Charity of Halifax is still a thriving congregation with missions worldwide, and Mother Mary Basilia is regarded as one of the great figures in Nova Scotian history.

As noted by a biographer, McCann was “tall with a dark complexion and very penetrating black eyes, which would kindle with disapproval, or beam with sympathy and kindness, as the occasion called.” She is further described as “a person of vast experience, a clever businesswoman, and a genuine Sister of Charity”— certainly an accurate description given Basilia’s many accomplishments.

In 1858, leaving behind a well-established community in Canada, McCann returned to the Bronx to serve at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent, which in 1911 would become the College of Mount Saint Vincent, the first degree-granting women’s college in New York City.

Mother Mary Basilia McCann, first among the first women of Fordham, spent the last decade of her life serving at St. Mary’s Orphanage in Jersey City, where she died on October 27, 1870.

 



Sr. Mary Clement Cahill, SC



Sr. Mary Clement was born Ellen Cahill in Ballynakill, Queens County, Ireland on February 22, 1814. She came from a farming family, the daughter of Michael Cahill and Sarah Moore Cahill. She likely immigrated to America with her family, arriving in this country sometime before 1834, when she would join the Sisters of Charity in April of that year at Emmitsburg, Maryland. She took her vows two years later in 1836.

Cahill was involved in hospital work from the very start of her religious life. Before her time at Fordham, Sr. Mary Clement was stationed at Charity Hospital in New Orleans as well as at other facilities in Missouri. Her nursing experience certainly served her well during her stint as an infirmarian at Rose Hill, where she arrived in 1844 to care for the boys of St. John’s College. By the 1850s, she was again serving in the South at ministries including Mobile City Hospital in Alabama and Charity Hospital in Louisiana for a second stint.

Recorded in the Sisters’ Province Annals of 1882, the remembrances of a former colleague, Sr. Adele, describe Sr. Mary Clement as having “nothing foolish about her” and being “exact to the time and place…always there, and never tried.” Sr. Adele goes on to recall how Cahill demanded as much of the sisters serving under her as she did of herself: “And she made you do your duty, too!”

Sister was, however, not without concern or a sense of humor. Sr. Adele recalled that once during an illness, Mary Clement brought her a bowl of beer to her bedside — a remedy in those days for a number of minor ailments. When the infirm sister groused at the bitter drink, Cahill, with her no-nonsense brand of care exclaimed "Drink it this minute, or I'll pour it all over your head!” Even the discipline of abstaining from meat on Fridays was not beyond Sr. Clemet’s brusk wit: “On Friday mornings she'd come to the refectory, ‘What! no beefsteak! I don't want any breakfast then. Here! give me a cup of coffee!’”

On June 19, 1854, at age 40, Sr. Mary Clement Cahill, SC, died of cholera in St. Louis. Her body was laid out in a storeroom, as opposed to the chapel, for fear of contagion.

Years after Mary Clement was laid to rest, her body was exhumed for transfer to another location. As is noted in the records of the Sisters of Charity, though the bodies near which she had been buried were decomposed, Fr. Higginbotham, who was overseeing the exhumation, found Cahill’s body uncorrupted, with a copy of the Sisters’ formula of vows still held in her hands.
 


 

Sr. Mary Constantia (or Constantine) Hull, SC

Foundress, St. Joseph's Orphanage and St. Paul's Industrial School, Brooklyn, New York


Jane Hull was born in Frederick, Maryland in 1811. Of her family all that is known is that they were Catholic, likely farmers, and may have originally spelled their name as Holl. It is also known that there was a Jesuit connection to the Hull family: Rev. John McElroy, SJ, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Frederick during Jane’s girlhood, and later founder of Boston College and Boston College High School. Under McElroy’s guidance, Jane and other local girls came to discern a calling to join the Sisters of Charity, in those days, a fledgling order under Mother Seton.  

Hull entered the Sisters at Emmitsburg on September 27, 1827, but was soon sent north. By 1830, Sr. Constantia was living and working in New York at various sites staffed by the Sisters of Charity. Records indicate that she was scheduled to profess her vows on Christmas of 1831, but for some reason, may not have done so until July of the following year. Before arriving at Rose Hill, she had served at the New York Catholic Orphan Asylum and taught at both St. James’ Free School in Brooklyn and the St. Peter’s Free School in Manhattan. Working with children and young adults — her time at Fordham being no exception — would be her life’s calling.

After her time at Rose Hill, and after having deciding to remain with the Sisters of Charity of New York when they split from the Emmitsburg Sisters in 1846, records show that Hull was sent to St. Paul’s in Brooklyn, where she would remain for the rest of her life. At the time of her arrival there, she is described by a biographer as “in her late 30s, with 20 years of religious life behind her and with verve and enthusiasm that matched the pulse of the active city across the bay.”

As sister-servant, or local superior, Sr. Constantia and the other women of her community — which for a time would include friend and former Fordham infirmarian, Sr. Basilia McCann — staffed the parish’s orphanage and two church-basement schools. Over the next decades, Hull worked tirelessly to raise funds for St. Paul’s and for the children who would otherwise have been lost to the streets. By organizing local street fairs and selling the sisters’ handicrafts — needlepoint, embroidery and even burial shrouds — Hull was able to expand the orphanage’s facilities, purchase land on Willoughby Avenue, and build St. Joseph’s Orphan Asylum as a home for the younger girls. She then used the St. Paul’s facility to found St. Paul’s Industrial School, where she would spend her last years teaching marketable skills to poor and orphaned young women.

In Sister’s own words to the State Board of Welfare making their annual report in 1876:

We consider this the orphans' home. If their health becomes impaired, instead of going into a hospital, they can come here and feel that they have a home. If, after being placed out, they wish to return, we allow them to come back to us. To those that have no home when sick, we offer shelter. The age for admission is about thirteen years. The girls remain till they are eighteen, and if they are homeless, we keep them as long as they wish to stay. They are taught to do plain sewing, vest-making, dress-making, and all kinds of fancy needlework. We do private family sewing that requires some amount of taste and skill. We teach the girls how to cut out dresses. We have also a washing and ironing department. If the girls are inclined to be very industrious, after they have performed their allotted tasks, they can work for themselves. When they leave the house we give them a trunk of clothing. It forms a pretty reasonable wardrobe. They can earn, on leaving, from $7 to $14 a week.

In return, the State Board noted that

The atmosphere of the house was cheerful; and many of the girls were singing at their tasks.

A true “woman for others,” it appears that Sr. Mary Constantia Hull worked among her beloved girls until the very end of her life. She passed away on August 21, 1885, there at St. Paul’s where she had labored to save so many souls. Her Industrial School would last into the 20th century, and as St. Joseph’s Services for Children and Families, the orphanage she built would persist into the new millennium.



Sister Anaclete (or Anacleta) Kane, SC

Margaret Kane was born on December 22, 1811 to farmer John Kane and his wife, Sarah Cannon Kane. She was baptized the next day. Beyond this, very few records remain of the life of Sr. Anaclete.

She entered the order in 1842 at 31 years of age and remained at Emmitsburg until she took her vows in July of 1844. She was then sent north for her first mission, to the small farming village of Fordham, New York, where she would join Sr. Basilia McCann and the others in staffing the infirmary and overseeing the Domestic Department of Bishop Hughes’ fairly new school. She began her time here at Rose Hill during the 1844-5 school year, and remained until the arrival of the Jesuits in 1846.

When the Sisters of Charity of New York split off to form an order unto themselves, Anacleta chose to remain with the Emmitsburg sisters, and returned to Maryland where she would work at several of the Sisters’ sites until her death in Baltimore on October 14, 1854 at age 43.
 



Sr. Susan Knott, SC

Assistant Mother General, Sisters of Charity of New York


Little is known of Eliza Knott’s early life except that she was born in 1804, most likely in Maryland. She entered the Sisters in 1823 at Emmitsburg, taking the habit in December of that year and the name Susan shortly thereafter. Her religious name was unusual among the Sisters, as she was not named for Our Lady or some other canonized saint — though a St. Susanna had been on the Martyrology for centuries — but rather, for Suzanne or Susan Clossy, a young woman from New York City who was among Elizabeth Ann Seton’s first companions and had passed away shortly before Knott joined the order.

It was fitting that Sr. Susan should take the name of a Manhattanite, for in 1824, as a novice, she was transferred north to New York, where she would serve for rest of her life. She took her vows on March 25, 1828, working at various New York schools and orphanages under the Sisters’ purview before coming to Fordham in 1841.

Arriving shortly after Sr. Basilia McCann, Knott was among the original contingent of women to live and work at Rose Hill. She served under McCann from 1841 to 1842 at “The Hughes Establishment” (as the Sisters’ early records sometimes refer to Fordham), helping to form the Domestic Department that all-important first year.  

After her time in the Bronx, she returned to Manhattan to serve at St. Patrick’s Free School on Prince Street, between Mulberry and Mott, the oldest operational parochial school in the Archdiocese of New York in continuous until its closing in 2010. In 1849, Sister Knott left St. Patrick’s to work at St. Joseph’s Half-Orphan Asylum, an institution which cared for Catholic children who had either been abandoned or cast into destitution after the loss of one parent. She was also sister-servant, or local superior, of the women who staffed the asylum under her direction.

It was during this year that the Sisters of Charity of New York separated from the Sisters at Emmitsburg, and Knott is listed as a trustee of the newly formed order. Four years later, Sr. Susan Knott was elected assistant mother general, taking residence in 1854 at Mount Saint Vincent College at its original location in what is today Central Park. There she would continue as assistant mother general and also serve as mistress of novices until her death in 1856. She is described by a biographer as “a good organizer and a good judge of character” and “faithful to the end.”



Sr Hieronymo O’Brien, SC/SSJ

Foundress, St. Mary's Hospital and the House of Industry, Rochester, New York
Civil War Nurse

The most renowned of the Sisters of Charity who served at Rose Hill was Sr. Hieronymo O’Brien, who would become a key figure in Rochester history and a nationally recognized heroic Civil War nurse. If the Catholics of lower New York had their “Dagger John,” to look after them, then the people of Monroe County had their Mother Hieronymo. She was healer, advocate and protectress, her steely resolution and indomitable spirit matched only by her Christ-like compassion.

The daughter of Irish immigrants, Veronica O’Brien was born in Georgetown, Maryland (now a neighborhood in Washington, DC) on April 13, 1819. Her mother was Catherine Mackin O’Brien, a homemaker and possibly a grocer, and her father was Michael O’Brien, a machinist. In 1825, the O’Briens moved to Baltimore, where young Veronica grew up and came to discern her vocation to the religious life. She entered the Sisters of Charity at Emmitsburg in mid-February in the historic year of 1841.

Taking her vows two years later, O’Brien’s first mission was St. Paul’s Orphan Asylum & School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, arriving there on December 3, 1843. The following summer, she was sent to St. John’s College in Fordham, New York, where she faithfully cared for the students in the school’s Infirmary until 1846. After her time at Rose Hill, Sr. Hieronymo served at several of the Sisters’ sites, including hospitals in Norfolk, Virginia, where she courageously nursed patients who were sick with yellow fever during a three-month epidemic that killed thousands, and Buffalo, New York, where she was sent in 1856 during an outbreak of “ship fever,” or typhus.

In September of 1857, O’Brien was assigned to her next Western New York mission: Rochester. The rest, as they say, is history.

With only fifty cents, two companions and her own strength of will, Sr. Hieronymo immediately took charge of local efforts to establish a hospital in Rochester, and within days, O’Brien had established St. Mary’s Hospital in a small stone building on the corner of Genesee and Brown Streets — a facility still thriving as part of the Unity Health System. The first patient was admitted on September 15, 1857.

Hieronymo and the two sisters who had joined her — Sr. Martha Bridgmen, SC and Sr. Felicia Fenwick, SC — were intrepid during those first difficult few months, sleeping on piles of straw, fending off rats, and subsisting on a diet of flour-thickened water and an occasional potato prepared in an old pail, the only vessel they had. Despite their many hardships and a nationwide economic recession, O’Brien refused to give up hope of seeing her fledgling institution grow into a first-rate hospital for its day.

With O'Brien's guidance and encouragement, the sisters persevered; St. Mary’s was the only hospital in Rochester, and grew quickly. Caring for the poor, the sisters often received little or no revenue from their patients. Soon enough, however, the admiration and gratitude of the community made it possible for St. Mary's to expand its facilities. Floors were added to the original structure in December of 1857, and a new, larger building was put up the next year with Hieronymo and the other sisters starting the work themselves, digging the new foundations with their own hands.

After the start of the Civil War, St. Mary's was federally designated an Army General Hospital.  As many as 5,000 soldiers may have been treated at St. Mary’s during the conflict. More than 1,200 soldiers were admitted during a single twelve-month span, with only thirteen fatalities recorded. At one point, smallpox broke out among the troops, but Mother Hieronymo, as O'Brien was called by all of Rochester, promptly and effectively sequestered the infected men, often transporting them to a quarantine building herself. Believing that “mental tranquility” would reduce the risk of infection, O’Brien, who herself had made it through yellow fever and typhus epidemics uninfected, urged the other sisters to remain calm, to continue serving, and not to worry. Remarkably, according to biographical sources, none of them contracted the disease.

O’Brien’s leadership during the Civil War was also notable for her insistence on humane treatment for all soldiers. She was insistent that anyone who needed treatment received it, regardless of race, creed (or lack thereof), denomination or condition. She consistently refused to allow guards to be posted over soldiers in the hospital. And on one occasion, when a commandant hanged a soldier by the thumbs who had been caught drunk, she had the young man cut down and insisted that the commandant be dismissed for what she characterized as torture. Mother Hieronymo got her way, as she usually did. In the words of a county official of the day: “A pity she was not a man and could have generalled our armies during the Rebellion.”

For these actions, as well as their tireless, proficient and courageous care of the troops during the war, O’Brien and the women who worked under her gained the deep respect of even hardened anti-Catholics in Western New York and beyond.

In 1870, despite the pleas and protests of the city that had come to call her Mother, O’Brien was recalled south by the order to enter into what her superiors had deemed a well-deserved semi-retirement. In the end, however, Hieronymo would follow her conscience and leave the Emmitsburg Sisters, joining the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester at the invitation of Bernard McQuaid, the first bishop of that city. She was assigned to St. Patrick’s Girls’ Asylum in 1871, using that position as a springboard to found the House of Industry in 1872, a boarding home and technical training facility for young women who were too old for the orphanage but not yet ready to enter the world on their own. Within several years, older laywomen were also permitted to live at the House of Industry, eventually leading to the formation of St. Ann’s Community, a senior living facility still in existence at the time of Sister’s induction into the Prep Hall of Honor in 2011.

In 1891, Mother Hieronymo marked the fiftieth anniversary of her entrance into religious life. As recounted in the press, Bishop McQuaid (who attended the diocesan seminary that had shared Rose Hill with St. John’s College in Fordham’s earliest days and for whom McQuaid Jesuit High School is named) was principal speaker at the public celebration of her milestone. Sister Hieronymo’s life came full circle when he told the gathering:

What tales could be told of her bringing relief and consolation all over the city of Rochester… Her gentle accents have calmed the fevered passions, corrected the forgetful, toned down the rebellious, and cheered the despondent.

Then he added,

There is none whose acquaintance with Mother Hieronymo dates back further than my own. Forty years ago, when I was a mere stripling attending the college at Fordham, she nursed me when I was sick; and from that day to this I have watched her career with interest.

Fordham Prep remains grateful to Sister for the care she gave to McQuaid and the other “striplings” in her charge during her Rose Hill years, among whom were numbered the very first Prep students. And Fordham Prep and Univeristy alike will always be proud to have their name associated with such a remarkable woman.

Mother Hieronymo O’Brien, SSJ passed away on January 30, 1898 in Rochester, New York.
 



Sister Mary Theophilia (or Theophila) Posey, SC

 

Of Sr. Theophilia, a native of Baltimore, all that is known is that her birth name was Margaret E. Posey, and that she was a woman of meager means, having only $3.93 to her name when she entered the Sisters on April 17, 1838 at Emmitsburg.

She would take her vows on March 25, 1841 and was sent to serve under Sr. McCann at the Infirmary of St. John's College in Fordham, New York.  
 



Sr. Redempta Ziegler, SC/Frances Ziegler Leddy



Frances "Fanny" Ziegler was born on January 29, 1814 in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of George Ziegler, a cooper, or barrelwright, who had come from Baltimore to settle along the Susquehanna River. Her mother, Margaret Sloat Ziegler, was the daughter of German immigrants and had been raised her family's farm. Margaret would convert to Catholicism after her marriage to Fanny's father in 1811.

The Zieglers, whose Alsatian surname is spelled as Zeigler in some records (including the records of the Sisters of Charity) were a well-respected and devout family. Their children included Catharine, Frances, John, Mary, Frank, Margaret, George and Michael, as well as Rosanna, Samuel-Ferdinand and Joseph, who died in early childhood. Fanny also had three half-siblings from her widowed father's second marriage: Christina, Barbara and Charles.
 
On March 28, 1840, Frances entered the Sisters of Charity at Emmitsberg, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Catharine, who had joined the Sisters and taken the name Mary Delphine (or Delphina) some years earlier. As Sr. Redempta, Frances Ziegler took her first vows in July of 1842 and was sent to serve at St. John’s College in Fordham, New York. 

During her time at Rose Hill, Sr. Redempta must have discerned that her life's calling lay elsewhere — Fordham would be her first and only assignment as a member of the Sisters of Charity.  She withdrew from the order in 1846 when the Jesuits arrived to take over the infirmary and Domestic Department of the school, and returned to her family's home in Pennsylvania. Only a year later, the Sisters would lose another Ziegler from their ranks: Catharine, Sr. Mary Delphine, would succomb to yellow fever while on mission in New Orleans.  

Back in Pennsylvania, Fanny Ziegler continued a life of piety and devotion. She would remain very much involved in the parish life of St. Peter's Church in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  Throughout the 1840s, the name "Miss F. Ziegler" appears on several of the purchases made for the church building and rectory.  She would eventually marry Andrew Leddy, a quarryman who had born in Ireland, and together they would have five children: Mary, James, Michael, Eugenia and John. Later in life, it seems that the Leddys, together with their adult sons, became involved in the shipping business on the Susquehanna.

Living out a holy life through the sacred vocation of marriage, Frances Ziegler Leddy, who had at one time been known by the boys at Rose Hill as Sr. Redempta, passed away in 1884. 

As one of the first women to leave her mark on Fordham, and as an individual who answered God’s call in different ways at different times in her life, Fanny Leddy's story serves as a reminder that in responding to God's plans for us, we may sometimes find ourselves travelling along paths we might never have otherwise imagined.

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