CORNELIA CONNELLY (1809 – 1879) Mother & Nun Who Founded a Religious Order


When someone tried to tell Cornelia Connelly what to do, she responded with stubborn determination, choosing what she knew was right for her.  The primary guiding force of her life was her faith, and she was willing to obey God and sacrifice whatever He asked of her.  When she made that promise, however, she had no idea how heartbreaking that sacrifice would turn out to be.

Connelly was born into a prominent Philadelphia Episcopalian family.  Her father died when she was nine years old and her mother died five years later. The fourteen year old girl and her five siblings were not orphaned, however, as several relatives incorporated them into their families.  Connelly was adopted by a half sister, Mrs. Montgomery, and was given classes in music, painting, modern languages and the social graces.

Mrs. Montgomery took seriously her responsibility to prepare her charge for a proper suitor, but she…

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