Rosalie (Sister Mary Euphrosine) Pepin, school and religious foundress, the daughter of Alexander and Rosalie (Chapelet) Pepin, was born in Laval, France, on December 6, 1830. In 1852 she immigrated to the United States and entered the Holy Cross Sisters of Saint Mary's, Notre Dame, Indiana, where she made her perpetual vows on November 26, 1854. For fourteen years she was superior and head of various academies operated by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Illinois, Indiana, and the city of Philadelphia. In 1870, at the personal request of Bishop Claude Marie Dubuis, whom she met on a ship returning from France, she went with him to Texas. At his suggestion she took over the school in Corpus Christi that Sister St. Claude of the Sisters of Divine Providence had begun for young girls in 1867. Because the bishop had forgotten an earlier promise to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, he suggested that Sister Euphrosine and her companion Catherine Dunne, who subsequently became the first Holy Cross sister from Texas, go to Nacogdoches, where in 1871 they founded a school in the old Nacogdoches College building. Conditions in Nacogdoches were not favorable to Catholics, who were not numerous. Often the sisters were weeks without Mass and the sacraments.
Consequently, when Father Theodore Buffard, newly appointed to Clarksville in northeastern Texas, asked Sister Euphrosine to open a school there, she and her sisters went willingly (in 1874). There she severed her connections with the Sisters of the Holy Cross and founded a new community, Sisters of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, which attracted only a few members. After the promised support and assistance did not come from the bishop, Sister Euphrosine sent her companions to other religious communities in Texas and returned to the Holy Cross Sisters in 1879. Thereafter, she served again as superior and head of a variety of schools in Utah, Indiana, and Michigan. She died at Saint Mary's Convent, Notre Dame, Indiana, on March 16, 1906.
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The Handbook of Texas Women project has its own dedicated website and resources.
Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–1958; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Sister M. Campion Kuhn, C.S.C.,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 13, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
May 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: