Browse Items (5 total)
The original key to the front door of the Stokes Mansion which served as the first motherhouse and Academy of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in Greensburg. Mother Aloysia Lowe, foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, used the key up until her death in 1889. The Sisters preserved the key as a treasured memento of the community’s early years in Greensburg.
In 1932, in honor of the 50th Jubilee of the congregation, Father Daniel Sullivan, the first priest-president of Seton Hill College, commissioned a special engraved metal accompaniment for the key. It reads “With this key Mother Aloysia Lowe unlocked and entered this the first mother house of the Sisters of Charity Aug. 7 1882. Seton Hill.” On the reverse appears a quote attributed to Mother Aloysia which reads “I opened not merely the door of this house, I swung the gates of an era.” This attributed quote reflects the roles of Mother Aloysia as leader, foundress, and visionary. It serves as a reflection of the sisters’ astounding work over more than 150 years.
A baby left on a convent doorstep on March 17, 1884 initiated the journey for the Sisters of Charity in Pittsburgh to establish their first healthcare institution, a medical facility and boarding home for foundlings and unwed pregnant women. With the help of Roselia and Charles Donnelly and other benefactors, the sisters opened a small house in July 1891. By the end of the first month, the admission of nineteen infants stressed the limits of the building. The need for additional space prompted Mr. Donnelly to purchase the old Ursuline Academy in the Hill District. It became known as Roselia Foundling and Maternity Hospital. From 1891 until its closure in 1971, over 27,000 orphaned and temporarily boarded children came through Roselia.
Nearly 50 years later, John Smith* contacted the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill to learn more about Roselia and for clues into his beginnings. John’s connection to the Sisters of Charity, though brief, hints at the influence the Sisters of Charity can and have had on children.
After his mother abandoned him at birth, infant John was sent to Roselia as a boarding baby in 1938. The Sisters of Charity in charge there lovingly cared for him for nine months. He was later formally adopted by his paternal grandparents. For 80 years, the outfit the Sisters delivered John home in was preserved in the family. The snowsuit includes the note: “Johnnie, You were so small your little feet were inside this little suit.”
Thankful for the love and care of the sisters and for the opportunity to live a full and rich life, John donated this snowsuit to the archives of the Sisters of Charity, along with the story of his upbringing and family. It serves as a symbol of the warmth and love the Sisters have had for children, particularly foundlings, adopted children, and infants. The Sisters of Charity hold the records of Roselia and continue to field research requests related to birth parents and children.
*Name anonymized to protect identity.
An oral history of Sister Mary Schmidt, a Sister of Charity of Seton Hill from 1934 until 1993. The interview was conducted by Sister Miriam Jane Hollowood on July 10 and 18, 1984.
Sister Mary Schmidt was born on June 26th, 1911 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Daughter of Henry K. Schmidt and Mabel Green, Mary Jeannette Schmidt entered the community on March 25th, 1934 at the age of 22 as Sister Mary Schmidt.
Sister Mary Schmidt was a professor of English at Seton Hill College from 1936 to 1957. She served as the Executive Vice President of Seton Hill College from 1957 to 1970. Then, the following year Sister Mary Schmidt served as President of SHC from 1971 to 1977.
Sister Mary Schmidt received her B.S. in English, Psychology, and Philosophy from Seton Hill College in 1932. Then, she received her M.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 1934. Sister Mary Schmidt went to Yale University for her Ph.D. in English Language and Literature in 1943, where she would pursue her postdoctoral research at both Yale and Columbia Universities.
Sister Mary Schmidt passed on April 26th, 1993 at the age of 81.
An oral history of Sister M. Alexine Beam, a Sister of Charity of Seton Hill from 1923 until 1999. The interview was conducted by Sister Marie Corona Miller on January 29, 1987.
Sister M. Alexine Beam - born Margaret Beam on February 20, 1907 - entered the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill in November of 1923. She received a bachelor's degree in science from Seton Hill College in 1940, a master's degree in science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1943, and a master's degree in theology from Saint Mary's College in 1955. She taught science in Pittsburgh and Greensburg, serving at - among other locations - Saint James High School, Sacred Heart High School, and Greensburg Central Catholic. Some of her educational transparencies were bought and published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. She died on November 6, 1999.