Sunday, 14 March 2010

Will the real Sister Marie Nativa McKiernan please stand up?

This post continued from previous one above.

Emails between Jamie Evans and Sister Joanne of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary in Cleveland, Ohio
March 2010

From: Jamie Evans

Dear Sister Joanne,

Could you help me with a search for the Nun in the picture attached. I am from Birmingham, England, the picture was given to a member of my family by an American Nun in the 1920s, she was believed to have been a relative. Yesterday found an entry on the Ancestry Web site, under the heading McKeirnan, Finn, Cregan+ which gives a name of a Nun as Sister Marie Nativa H.H.M. in Cleveland, Ohio.

Could the Nun in the picture be the same person?

Would anyone know who the Nun is or recoginse the Order of the habit she is wearing?

The photo and atached information is taken from a Birmingham, UK site called A Brummie Family Tree : The Finns, more information is on there.

The family were Irish Catholics who left for England during the Famine, most are still here.

I know it is a longshot but any help with this mystery would be much appreciated.

Jamie Evans

From: Sister Joanne of Sisters of the Humility of Mary
March, 2010
Subject: RE: Photo of a Nun?

Jamie -- Yes, the photo very much resembles Sr. Marie Nativa McKiernan whom I recall in her elder years. Since the habit is definitely that of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary, I would be 99.9% certain that this is Sr. Marie Nativa.

Some information which I do have for Sr. Marie Nativa: she was born November 4, 1906 in Birmingham, England to Thomas McKiernan [born in Ireland ] and Anna Finn McKiernan [born in England ]. Her baptism was at St. Chad Cathedral in Birmingham on November 18, 1906. She entered this religious congregation January 23, 1925 from St. Edward Church in Cleveland , Ohio .

I do not have any of the details as to when the family left England nor when they came to Cleveland, Ohio .

There were Sisters of the Humility of Mary teaching grades 1 – 8 at St. Edward at that time.

Sr. Joanne

History of the Sisters of Humility
from website

In the village of Dommartin-sous-Amance, France, Marie-Antoinette Potier wanted to give her life to God, and saw in service to the poor children of her village an opportunity to share her love of God with them.

In 1854, she opened her home as a school, a workroom and an orphanage, and with Father John Joseph Begel, pastor of Dommartin and Laitre, she set about revitalizing Christian life in his two parishes through the care and education of girls. Marie-Antoinette and Father Begel believed that "to educate a woman is to educate a family." So in addition to religious instruction, the women of the area were trained in lace-making, which enabled them to gain economic independence.

As more women joined Marie-Antoinette in service, they sought to share a communal way of life and, with the guidance of Father Begel, petitioned the bishop of the diocese of Nancy for approval for their foundation as a religious community. In 1858, they received the name Sisters of the Humility of Mary, and Marie-Antoinette became Mother Madelaine.

In 1864, Bishop Amadeus Rappe of Cleveland invited the Community to the United States to serve French immigrants in his diocese. He provided a place in Pennsylvania for the Motherhouse, now called Villa Maria Community Center.

The entire community of eleven sisters, along with four orphans, emigrated to America, leaving behind their homeland, their families and their foundress, Mother Madelaine, who died in France three months before their voyage.

Through many hardships, the Community grew – building schools and hospitals, serving parishes and reaching out to meet the needs of people who were poor and neglected.

In the spirit of our founders, we respond to the changing needs of our day through a diversity of ministries. What does not change is our dedication to the Humility of Mary, in whose spirit we pray and work for the transformation of the world through justice and peace.

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