Tuesday, August 31, 2021

"SAINT THERESA MUSEUM BRIEF" #1 - "Our Dominican Sisters"

Our little parish of Saint Theresa of Avila in Rhodelia, Kentucky, has produced 37 Sisters, 8 Priests, 1 Brother and hundreds of lay heroes in its 203 year history. In these periodic little "history briefs,"  I will spotlight the various religious communities from which they belonged and their contributions to Saint Theresa Church.  Among the Sisters coming from Saint Theresa, the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth had twenty-three, the Sisters of Loretto and the Mount Saint Joseph Ursulines both had five, the Sisters of Mercy had one and the Dominican Sisters had three. I am still researching the many Sisters of Charity and the one Sister of Mercy. 

Today, I spotlight the Dominican Sisters from Saint Theresa. Next I will spotlight the Sisters of Loretto and the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. I will then spotlight the eight priests and the one religious Brother. In between all of them, I will recognize many of the lay heroes and ordinary folks who made up the parish of Saint Theresa. As many as possible will be recognized in the historic photo museum in the hallway of our new Saint Theresa Family Life Center. All these lay and religious heroes helped build the Saint Theresa family that we have known over the last 203 years!   


Sister Mary Catherine Buren O.P. 
Dominican Sisters of Fall River, Massachusettes 

Ora Mary Buren, daughter of Paul Emil Buren and Susan Eleanor (Cody) Buren, was from the small river town of Concordia, Kentucky, not far from Saint Theresa Church. Her parents owned a general store and hotel. She wanted to be a missionary and work with the lepers of Molokai, Hawaii. When she asked the help of a Dominican priest to help her discern this call, he steered her instead to a convent in Carrolton, Missouri. She became a Sister there, taking her younger sister's name and making final vows at 21 years of age. Her sibling sister, Catherine, joined her as a boarder at the convent school where she was living. 
Sister Mary Catherine contracted tuberculosis very soon after she made her vows. In spite of her illness, she insisted on accompanying the Mother Superior to help start a new community of Sisters in Fall River, Massachusetts where she died at age 25.  She is considered to be one of the 5 foundresses of the Fall River Dominican Sisters.  

Sister Mary Cecilia Buren O.P. 
Dominican Sisters of Fall River, Massachusettes 

Sister Mary Catherine's sibling sister, Catherine, followed her to Fall River and became a Sister herself in 1895 becoming Sister Mary Cecilia Buren O.P. three years after her sibling sister's death. She died in 1956 at 77 years of age. She lived much longer than her older sister. Both Buren Sisters are actually great aunts of our own Father Thomas E. Buren (1914-1985) who was a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville also from Saint Theresa originally. The parents of both Buren Sisters are buried in the old Saint Theresa Cemetery: Paul Emil and Susan Eleanor (Cody) Buren. 

Sister Mary Thomas Wight 
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois

Sister Mary Thomas Wight was the daughter of Thomas Noble Wight (1790-1855) and Harriet E. (Lilly) Wight (1800-1863) of Saint Theresa Church. She joined the Dominican Sister of Springfield, Kentucky. taking her father's name of "Thomas." In 1873, she was selected to be part of a group of 6 Sisters to establish a new community of Dominicans in Springfield, Illinois, to teach the children of Irish immigrants whose fathers were building the railroads. Her parents are buried in the old Saint Theresa Cemetery. She is considered to be one of the 7 foundresses of that Illinois Dominican community.    

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