13:1-2, 5-8, 15-16
of a Saint (2)
PRAYER (traditional language)
Gracious God, who didst call Mother Harriet and her companions to revive
the religious life in the Episcopal Church by founding the religious community
of St. Mary, and to dedicate their lives to thee: Grant that, after their
example, we may ever surrender ourselves to the revelation of thy holy
will; through our Savior Jesus Christ, who livest and reignest with thee
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
Gracious God, you called Mother Harriet and her companions to revive the
religious life in the Episcopal Church by founding the religious community
of St. Mary, and to dedicate their lives to you: Grant that, after their
example, we may ever surrender ourselves to the revelation of your holy
will; through our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thei commemoration adopted provisionally at General Convention 2009
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Last updated: 21 March 2010
HARRIET STARR CANNON
Starr Cannon (May 7, 1823--Apr. 5, 1896) was the first superor of the
Sisters of St. Mary, one of the the first orders of Anglican nuns.
She was born in Charleston, SC, of parents who had moved there from Connecticut.
They died when she was just a year old, so she and her older sister grew
up in Bridgeport, Conn., where they lived with relatives. Her sister married
and moved to California, and Harriet made plans to move there also, but
on the eve of her planned departure, she received word that her sister
had died. This crisis was resolved the following year, in 1856, when she
joined the Sisters of the Holy Communion in New York, an Episcopal order
of deaconesses recently founded by William
Augustus Muhlenberg and Anne Ayres. After a few years there, she grew
to desire more spirituality in the order, in addition to the work among
the poor. So she and a few others left to form a new order, the Sisters
of St. Mary.
The order was formally founded in 1865 and was dedicated both to prayer
and service. Their initial primary areas of service were St. Mary's Free
Hospital for Poor Children and the House of Mercy, a home for "wayward"
girls and young women. This latter endeavour, after it moved to larger
quarters in what is now Inwood Park in Manhattan in 1891, primarily housed
girls sent there by the courts for indefinite sentences, and was no
stranger to controversy.
The Sisters also established a number of schools around the country,
and were the "Martyrs
of Memphis" during a yellow fever epidemic there. The order expanded
rapidly, numbering over 100 by the time of Sr. Harriet's death, in 1896.
In its early days, the order was strongly supported by Morgan Dix, rector
of Trinity Church, New York, who wrote a short
biography of Sr. Harriet at the time of her death.