In Memory

Sister M. Genevieve Morrissey, IHM

August 15, 1841 – November 20, 1903

Sister M. Genevieve Morrissey, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, November 20, 1903 at St. Cecilia Academy in Scranton, Pennsylvana.

She was born on August 15, 1844 in Ireland, and given the name Bridget. She entered the IHM Congregation in 1856 (at the age of fifteen) at Saint Joseph’s Novitiate in Susquehanna, PA. She received the religious habit on March 21, 1860, and made profession of her vows on August 15,1861 at the age of seventeen.

Sister Genevieve enjoyed her years of teaching children in our IHM mission schools, including at St. Cecilia Academy in Scranton, PA, and Laurel Hill Academy in Susquehanna, PA. At St. Cecilia Academy, she served directress of the school and head of the music department.

Sister Genevieve is significant in the Scranton IHM history as being the sister with whom Mother Theresa Maxis corresponded with during the time of Mother Theresa’s exile beginning in 1881. She also served as the assistant general to Mother Mary Francis Henry.

Interment is at Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.

“On November 20, 1903, the eve of the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple, Sister M. Genevieve died. Like our Lady, dear Sister M. Genevieve had consecrated herself to the service of the Lord at a very early age. She was only fifteen when she entered the novitiate at Old Saint Joseph’s. It was there that she made her holy profession. The greater part of her life had been spent at Saint Cecilia’s, where for many years she held the important post of Sister-Assistant. She also filled the office of directress of the school and had charge of the music classes. The many pupils who have gone forth from Saint Cecilia’s still hold in loving remembrance the kind admonitions which fell from her lips and which were permeated with her own loving personality. She never seemed to lose the freshness of her girlhood and the bright saintly cheerfulness of her manner did not desert her even during the painful illness which terminated her useful and well spent life. “

Excerpted from The Sisters of the I.H.M.: The Story of The Founding of The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Their Work In The Scranton Diocese by Sister M. Immaculata Gillespie, IHM, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, NY, 1921, p. 347

November 20, 1903

Sister M. Genevieve Morrissey

Bridget Morrissey was ever noted for her deep devotion to Our Lady. Her life revered the dates of Mary’s for she was born in Ireland on the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple.

Like Our Lady she consecrated her earliest years to the service of God, having entered the postulate at St. Joseph’s, Susquehanna at the age of fifteen, November 1859. Sister received the habit March 21, 1860 and made her Holy Vows August 15, 1861, her seventeenth birthday. Having served as teacher in St. Alphonsus, Susquehanna, St. Paul, Philadelphia and Academy of the Immaculate Heart in Reading, Sister M. Genevieve returned to St. Alphonsus in 1870, and with the division of the dioceses remained in the north, where she held the important posts of directress of schools and music and finally for eighteen years Sister Assistant.

Sister Genevieve enjoyed the privilege of having Mother Theresa Maxis as superior for her first two years of profession, and though she was less than nineteen years of age when she left Susquehanna for Philadelphia, her memory of those two years remained. Some eighteen years later while Sister Genevieve was Directress of Schools in Scranton, she besought Mother Francis’ permission to write to Mother Theresa in Ottawa, and thus commenced a correspondence from which Mother Theresa derived such solace, and the Congregation was enriched by the insight into her life with the Grey Nuns in Ottawa and her sincere longing to return to her own Sisters in Blue.

Sister Genevieve did much to console Mother Theresa from her first letter dated October, 1881, until a few days before Mother’s return January, 1885. Mother Theresa’ replies have been carefully preserved in the archives of the Scranton Motherhouse, though there is no record of Sister Genevieve’s correspondence beyond that which may be gleaned from Mother Theresa’s replies.

Just once Mother Francis and Sister Genevieve visited Mother Theresa after the latter’s return to Villa Maria, and though Mother Theresa longed to return the visit, the infirmities of years prevented the journey. Her gratitude, however, was lifelong to the little Sister whom she had known only in her teens but whose letters of cheer and encouragement preserved her hope during the years when ecclesiastical authority forbade her correspondence from West Chester except at Christmas time.

Sister Genevieve’s magnetic personality left a marked impression upon the students whom she met as teacher and Directress of Schools. When Sister was assigned to St. Alphonsus immediately after he first vows, on her seventeenth birthday, Mother Theresa was her superior.

The many students whom she influenced revered her for her kindly admonitions and her loving personality. Sister never seemed to lose the freshness of her girlhood, for the bright saintly cheerfulness of her manner did not desert her even during the long, painful illness which terminated her useful and well spent life. Sister died at St. Cecilia’s, Scranton, November 20, 1903.

Interred: Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Photo of Sister Genevieve was provided by the Archivist of the Sisters of IHM in Malvern, PA, along with the above information.

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