Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dominican Sisters Reunite the Hawthornes

Some of you know that in another life I studied American literature. One of my favorite authors is Nathaniel Hawthorne, who has an interesting Catholic connection highlighted in today's New York Times. Many people aren't aware of the fact that while Hawthorne was the consummate puritan, his daughter Rose became a Catholic, and even founded an order of women, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne. These same sisters were responsible for reuniting in death this week Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia and other daughter Una, right nearby in Concord, MA (I think a pilgrimage will soon be in order). Here's the story:

Historic Literary Couple Are Reunited After 142-Year Separation

CONCORD, Mass., June 26 — "The life of a man happily married cannot fail to be influenced by the character and conduct of his wife," Julian Hawthorne wrote of his father, Nathaniel, in 1884. "Nathaniel Hawthorne was particularly susceptible to influences of this kind."

To describe Hawthorne or his career as an author without mentioning his wife, the former Sophia Peabody, would be like imagining, Julian wrote, "a sun without heat, or a day without a sun."

Although they were the closest of partners in life, for 142 years — until Monday — Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne were separated in death.

After burying her husband at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery here in 1864, Sophia moved to Germany and then London, where she died in 1871. She and the couple's daughter Una, who died in 1877, were buried in Kensal Green Cemetery in London.

On Monday, the remains of Sophia and Una Hawthorne were reinterred in a plot next to their husband and father.

"It's overwhelming," said Imogen Howe, 67, Nathaniel and Sophia's great-great granddaughter. "It's very emotional. They know now in spirit that everyone is reunited."

The reunion was made possible by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, a Roman Catholic order of nuns that Nathaniel and Sophia's younger daughter, Rose, founded.

The order, based in Hawthorne, N.Y., cares for terminally ill cancer patients. It was the steward of the London graves, hiring a service to tend to the plots. Last winter, a hawthorn tree fell and damaged the markers, which had already fallen into disrepair . . .

read the rest.


Post a Comment

<< Home

The content of this site is the responsibility of its author and administrator, Mark Mossa, SJ, and does not necessarily represent the Society of Jesus