Posted by: newenglandarchivist | September 9, 2013

Sisters of Notre Dame during WWII

Namur Church after bombing 1944 edited
Namur Church after 1944 bombing

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur kept up a steady correspondence from the beginning of their founding in 1806. Exchanges between Sisters and Superiors are interspersed with more formal letters directed to the Order’s government and various rules.

Included in these thousands of letters are many personal ones sent by the Sisters to family members. Among those are the letters of Sister Julie de la Sainte Famille (1874-1958). Sr. Julie was born Julia Chisholm on Nov. 4, 1874 in Cambridge, MA, the daughter of Colin and Katherine T. (Carroll) Chisholm. She took her first vows in 1900 as a Sister of Notre Dame. Through her warmth, evident in letters to her family, and her abilities, she served as president and Superior at Emmanuel College in Boston between 1931 and 1933. She also taught at Trinity College and later served as the General Councillor for the Sisters of Notre Dame’s mother house in Namur, Belgium. Her letters home describe in vivid detail what life was like during the war and of the bombing of the Order’s mother house in 1944, during which 6 Sisters of Notre Dame were killed. Below is one of her letters home. Sister Julie de la Sainte Famille died March 12, 1958 in Worcester, MA. [Click on image to expand]
Sr. Julie de la Ste. Famille letter 1944 edited
December 1, 1944 letter from Sister Julie de la Sainte Famille to family living in Melrose, MA


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