In Memory

Sister M. Stephanie Bedlow, IHM

May 9, 1855 – March 2, 1905

Sister M. Stephanie Bedlow, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on March 2, 1905 at St. Patrick’s Orphan Asylum in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Born on May 9, 1855 in County Carlow, Ireland, and given the name Margaret, she was the daughter of the late John and Elizabeth Murphy Bedlow. She entered the IHM Congregation on February 13, 1882, received the religious habit on August 15, 1882, and made profession of her vows on July 31, 1884.

Sister Stephanie served in child care for resident children at St. Patrick’s Orphanage and St. Joseph’s Foundling Home, both located in Scranton, PA.

The funeral was held on Saturday, March 4 at a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, Jackson Street, Scranton, followed by interment in Cathedral Cemetery.

“Sister M. Stephanie Bedloe (sic) was called home March 12, 1905 (sic). Most of her religious life had been spent in the services of the orphans to whom she was a real mother. One who knew her well, paid her this beautiful tribute at the time of her death:

“Sister Stephanie was no ordinary woman. She ever saw blue skies and pleasant sunshine, she never missed the song of birds or the fragrance of the flowers. She was a naturalist and she lived with nature. To her, childhood was a garden of roses and the little men and women who filled it were to her, precious plants which she carefully nurtured. Their bloom gave her inspiration. Her work will go on in this world so long as life is left to the hundreds of children whom she raised from infancy into strong and vigorous youth. The helpless babe that death robbed of a mother found comfort in the arms of Sister Stephanie. For twenty-three years she cared for the orphans at Saint Patrick’s and the foundlings at Saint Joseph’s. She died amid those for
whom she had labored and none will miss her more than they. We who love flowers will also miss this woman of piety, this true type of womanhood. I cannot think of a pretty bed of roses or scent a beautiful rose without a thought of Sister Stephanie. I had seen her so often among the flowers that I felt she was related to them. It was she who laid out and transformed into a beautiful garden the lawn in front of Saint Joseph’s Home. In the garden, hard at work in the dawn of a summer’s morning, you would find Sister Stephanie. She trained the flowers as she did the children. She inspired character in her rose beds. With a motherless babe by the hand Sister Stephanie could be seen in the flower garden early and late. Methinks that wherever the little orphans are, the soul of Sister Stephanie will be close at hand, a Guardian Angel over them. It will not be my pleasure to see her again on earth, but her memory will be ever with us. Those of us who knew her will see her face in our sorrows and it will smile upon us and bid us banish our grief. We will see that sweet wholesome face among the flowers and it will sweeten life’s work, we will see it in the darkness and its brightness will light our way.”

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, pgs. 348, 349

“The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary benefited from the efforts to bring young women from Ireland to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Over the years a total of sixty-five young women became professed IHM religious. Their services were received as far west at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at the IHM Academy and at St. Edward School, Twin Falls, Idaho. The southern missions witnessed their dedication in Washington, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, North Carolina. It was remarked that black children in some southern schools were speaking with an Irish brogue! The Sisters from Ireland also served in many locations in Pennsylvania, such as Dushore, Lock Haven, Exeter, Altoona, Pittsburgh, St. Michael’s School in Hoban Heights, Cresson, Pittston, Scranton, and Williamsport. New York and Rhode Island missions also received their services.”

Excerpted from The Story of the Native Irish Sisters Who Entered the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Scranton Pennsylvania by Sister M. Michel Keenan, IHM, 2006, p.18

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