By Kathleen Rice Adams
|An early re-enactment of the 1869 journey
Galveston to San Antonio undertaken by three Sisters of
Charity of the Incarnate Word. The journey resulted
in the formation of what is today the largest congregation
of women religious in Texas.
Perhaps they should be. Nuns played a surprisingly large role in civilizing the frontier. In fact, one congregation of women religious built orphanages, hospitals, and schools from Texas to California. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founded in 1866 in Galveston, Texas, by three French nuns invited to America by the Catholic bishop of Texas's only diocese, suffered hardship, disease, and a devastating hurricane. They persevered, though, taming the West with faith instead of guns. Today, the San Antonio congregation is the largest in the state. In addition to Texas, the sisters operate benevolent missions across the U.S. and in Ireland, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Kenya.
|Two postulants from the Congregation of the Incarnate Word |
in San Antonio, Texas, ca. 1890. (courtesy University of
Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures)
|Available in print
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