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The Woman of Compassion - Mother Mary Alphonsa, OP

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Ave Maria Hour Radio Show

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

Rose Hawthorne was born on May 20, 1851, in Lenox, Massachusetts, to American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia. Rose married author George Parsons Lathrop in 1871. In 1876, they had a son, Francis, who lived only until the age of 5. The couple eventually separated. George Lathrop died in 1898.

Rose’s search for meaning in life inspired her extensive charity work. The death of a dear friend from cancer moved Rose to work with people with incurable illnesses. In the summer of 1896, she trained as a nurse at the New York Cancer Hospital, the first institution in the United States to provide training in treating cancer while general hospitals in the city did not admit patients with cancer. Later that year, she founded a charitable organization named after Saint Rose of Lima, Sister Rose's Free Home, to care for impoverished cancer patients. In 1900, she founded a new religious order, the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer. Rose became its first Mother Superior, taking the name Mother Mary Alphonsa. The order, now known as the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, opened a facility called St. Rose's Home on Water Street in Manhattan. The facility was later moved north of New York City to what is now Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne.

Mother Mary Alphonsa died in her sleep on July 9, 1926. She was buried on the grounds of the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters in Hawthorne, N.Y. In 2003, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, approved the movement for her canonization. Mother Mary Alphonsa now has the title "Servant of God" in the Catholic Church.

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