Peter Pan and the Nuns

One of the most interesting websites I’ve seen in a long time is Find a Grave, which lists the famous (and some not so famous) people buried near you. There I discovered a fascinating (and touching) entry on actress Maude Adams (1872-1953), who’s buried at the Cenacle Convent in Ronkonkoma. But she wasn’t a nun, or even a Catholic. Born a Mormon in Utah, she started on the stage at an early age. By the time of World War I, she was one of Broadway’s leading stars; at her peak she was earning $20,000 a month. Her most famous role was Peter Pan. In 1922, she donated her Ronkonkoma home to the Sisters of the Cenacle, which became their novitiate and retreat house. I never knew about this connection, and I’m not clear on how she first met the Sisters. But apparently they helped her through a breakdown, and she stayed with them whenever she needed a getaway. (Imagine a major star doing that today!) After leaving the stage, Adams taught theater and lived in upstate New York, but she came back to Ronkonkoma to be buried with the Sisters who had given her refuge and peace. (Movie trivia: Adams was the basis for Jane Seymour’s character in the 1980 film Somewhere in Time.)
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