Sister Mary Stephen
1859 - 1928
The subject of this sketch was born in Ireland in the County of Kerry, April 17, 1859.
On reaching the age of maturity, she, like many others left her parents and family, in order to seek in this free land of America the betterment of her condition. Encouraged by friends she came to Holyoke, Mass. where she spent some years.
Always feeling an attraction to the religious life, and having made known her desires to the Superior of our mission there, she was advised to address a letter to the Superior General in Kingston. Receiving a favourable reply she arrived in Kingston the last day of April 1888.
Her appearance was anything but encouraging, as she looked very, very delicate, in fact, it was thought she had not long to live. However, the opportunity was given her, she with five other young girls, was received in the Novitiate the following morning, May 1st, 1888.
From the beginning she manifested the one most essential quality - a pliant will, her chief endeavour being to do, precisely as she was told. Though apparently very frail, she was able to be present at all the exercises and to take her part in the works of the House.
She was advanced to the Reception of the Holy Habit at the end of nine months, and to Religious Profession October ninth, 1890. For many years she was engaged in the more laborious works of the House, in the dispensary, in the kitchens, in the wards, discharging her duties in each, with the same fidelity and earnestness of purpose as characterized her from the beginning.
She was very conscientious when in charge of others, she was careful to see that all who were able, assisted at Mass especially on Sundays and holydays.
She spent some years in St. Vincent de Paul Hospital, being charged with the laundry, also as housekeeper in St. Michael's Convent, Belleville.
Though not named for office for the last two years of her life, owing to ill-health, she never ceased working, occupying herself with sewing and embroidery, in this latter she became quite an adept. It was her delight to make and embroider linen for the altar.
It was while resting a few moments in the Community Room before going upstairs that she was discovered falling on the floor. She was carried to the Infirmary, but seemed helpless as if paralyzed. On Thursday, Corpus Christi, she was asked if she would like to be prepared - she answered in the affirmative - but would like Rev. Father A.J. Hanley of Gananoque to perform this office. After receiving the last Sacraments she became unconscious and remained in that state. At. 2 p.m. Sunday, June 10, 1928, a change was noticed. The Sisters were called, and in half an hour all was over, the spirit of Sister Mary Stephen had taken its flight to God. The Sisters who were in Retreat (it was Retreat Sunday) were permitted to return to the community room and make the last Meditation - on death.
The funeral Mass was offered on Tuesday by Rev. Msgr. J.F. Nicholson assisted by Rev. Father Hyland land Father Coyle. In the Sanctuary were Rev. Fathers Meehan, Leacy, and Fowler. R.I.P.