In Memory

Sister M. Perpetua McCormick, IHM

January 1, 1838 – August 18, 1862

Sister M. Perpetua McCormick, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Monday, August 18, 1862 at St. John’s Convent in Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, of small-pox.

She was born on January 1, 1838 in Choconut Township, Pennsylvania, and given the name Ellen. She was the daughter of the late James and Mary Guyton McCormick. She entered the IHM Congregation in May of 1860 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. She received the religious habit on July 13, 1860, and made profession of her vows on August 15, 1861.

In 1860, she was one of the first IHM teachers at Saint John’s Parochial School in Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania.

She is survived by five brothers, Francis, James, John, Thomas, and Joseph, and two sisters, Ann Carroll and Mary Ward, nieces and nephews, including Sister M. Rita McCormac, IHM.

Sister M. Perpetua McCormick was one of two sisters from the Immaculata based IHM Congregation that are buried at Saint John’s Cemetery in Susquehanna Depot, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

“… an epidemic of small-pox broke out in Susquehanna. Sister M. Perpetua was seized with the disease in its most virulent form. Mother Teresa, who was superior at Susquehanna, at once sent the Sisters who had not been exposed to the disease to Saint Joseph’s for safety, and with the assistance of Sister M. De Chantal and Sister M. Anastasia, who remained with her, she tenderly nursed the sick Sister. From the beginning no hopes were entertained of Sister Perpetua’s recovery, and the last Sacraments were administered. Death came quickly. It was the first experience that the Sisters had had with a death of this kind and naturally they were very timid about preparing their Sister for burial. Overcoming her natural repugnance, Mother Teresa said: “Dear Sisters, this body of our beloved Sister was once the temple of the Holy Ghost” and with her own hands she prepared the Sister for burial, clothing her in the full religious habit according to custom. The interment took place in the dead of night as the quarantine regulations forbade bodies to be interred during the day. God mercifully spared the three devoted ones and when the epidemic was over the Sisters returned from Saint Joseph’s and the little community was again united.”

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. 102, 103

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