In Memory

Sister Mary Borgia Matthews, IHM

January 1, 1839 – October 20, 1876

Sister Mary Borgia Matthews, IHM, of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Friday, October 20, 1876 at St. Patrick’s Convent in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

She was born in 1839 in Silver Lake, Pennsylvania, and given the name Annie. She entered the IHM Congregation in Reading, Pennsylvania, on October 27, 1862, received the religious habit on August 15, 1863, and made profession of her vows on August 25, 1865 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sister Mary Borgia served as a superior at St. Alphonsus Academy in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, from 1870 to 1876.

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.

The below was transcribed from a letter provided by the Sisters of IHM in Malvern, Pennsylvania:

“October 11, 1876

Sister Mary Borgia Matthews

Motherhouse Records, Vol. I, p. 99

Annie Matthews, born in Silver Lake, Susquehanna County in 1839, was accepted as a postulant in Reading at the age of twenty-three. She received the habit as Sister Mary Borgia on the Feast of the Assumption, 1863 and made her holy vows August 25, 1865 at St. Paul’s Convent, Philadelphia, where the annual retreats of that year were conducted.

Sister remained at St. Paul’s until her appointment as superior of St. Alphonsus Academy, Susquehanna Depot in 1870. When the separation of the Scranton motherhouse from Reading was arranged, Mother Borgia remained in the North. Her health was never robust and in 1876 she was onliged to ask for release from her office of superior. Returning to the motherhouse, then at St. Patrick’s, Hyde Park, she died peacefully there October 11, 1876, aged thirty-seven years, leaving to her Sisters the undying example of earnestness and kindliness.

Interred: Cathedral Cemetery
Scranton, Pennsylvania”

“On the sixth of August, 1871, Bishop O’Hara assembled those fifteen Sisters at Laurel Hill Academy and conducted for them there the exercises of the annual retreat. At the close of the retreat, he unfolded to them his plan concerning a new foundation. He exhorted them to take up the cross of separation from their mother house, assuring them that God, Who is ever watchful for His own would repay their sacrifice and take care of them. At the same time, he left the choice of remaining in the new foundation or returning to Reading, to the individual Sisters. Three of the Sisters elected to return. The other twelve signified to the Bishop their willingness to remain in the diocese and placed themselves under his jurisdiction. They were Sister M. Joseph, Sister M. Agatha, Sister M. Henrietta, Sister M. Benedict, Sister M. Genevieve, Sister M. Xavier, Sister M. Rose, Sister M. Francis, Sister M. Anastasia, Sister M. Borgia, Sister M. Hyacinth, and Sister M. Casimir. Laurel Hill Academy was made a temporary mother house and novitiate. Sister M. Joseph, at that time superior at Pittston, was appointed by Bishop O’Hara as Mother Superior of the new foundation.”

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.139

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