Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Future superior of Refugio Sisters of Mercy takes religious vows

August 15th, 1872

On this day in 1872, Mary Ann Lucas took her final vows as a member of the Sisters of Mercy, under the name Sister Mary de' Pazzi. She had been born in Ireland in 1853, and had followed her sister Margaret, whose religious name was Sister Mary Camillus, to New Orleans in 1870. The two sisters were leaders in the historic task of forming schools in the state of Texas; like many other nuns, they responded to a broad and urgent invitation to serve both the Catholic Church and the citizens of the frontier state. Bishop Anthony Pellicer invited the Mercy sisters to Indianola, where the group joined Mother Camillus in 1875. While Camillus was in New York seeking other volunteers, the Indianola hurricane of 1875 devastated the community. Mother Mary dePazzi went to Refugio, while her sister returned to San Patricio. Afterward, the two groups expanded separately. After years of devoted service, in a conflict with the local clergy Mary de' Pazzi sought a decision from a higher church authority. This move led to such acrimony that she withdrew from her religious profession for nine years. She was subsequently accepted into the Mercy community in Baltimore, where she died in 1907.

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