Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sister Rose Augustine

Sister Rose is my grand-aunt Genevieve Muessig. I never met her, but I wish I had. My grandmother’s family was devoutly Catholic. So I supposed it was not a surprise that one daughter would enter the convent. My grandmother Katharyn and her sister Genevieve were only 2 years apart in age. I imagine they were close since they were the only girls in the family until Josephine was born in 1897. Katharyn and Genevieve made their First Communion together around 1902. I think their Communion dresses look a lot like bridal gowns.

I look at pictures of Genevieve with her round eyeglasses and she appears to be very introspective and a little sad. I wonder what she was thinking. I wanted to uncover the story behind the pictures I had seen of her. I managed to find the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Dominic where Sister Rose had spent her last years. I was fortunate that the nun I corresponded with knew my grand-aunt. Sister Margaret Clines sent me a bio with the bonus of her own memories of “Rosie”.

I had imagined that being a nun was a lot of praying and scrubbing floors. I don’t know where that comes from since I was educated by the Sisters of Saint Ursula in grades 1 through 7. I discovered that Sister Rose had a career as an art teacher. In her bio she is remembered as “a very talented artist and used her skill as an expression of her great love of nature and the outdoors”. I wish I had known her during this time.

1926 Sister Rose and
Katharyn (my grandmother)

According to the documentation I received, Genevieve Elisabeth Muessig entered the convent in 1914 at the age of 22. She received her Holy Habit later that same year. After 2 years of training, Sister Rose Augustine was assigned to a parish in Brooklyn. She worked as an educator in several New York parishes over the next 55 years. She retired to the Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse in Amityville, NY and was living there when she suffered a stroke. She was a resident of their infirmary until her passing in 1979. “Rosie” is buried on the grounds of the Motherhouse which is very fitting for a woman that dedicated her life to God and the Sisters of St. Dominic.

1948 My sister Barb with 
Sister Rose Augustine

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