General Ethan Allen’s Daughter Enters Convent, 1814

Fanny Allen, daughter of Ethan and Frances Allen, was born in Sunderland, Vermont, November 13, 1784. She went to Burlington with her parents in 1787 when General Allen established his family on a farm, which is now Ethan Allen Park. Ethan Allen was one of the members of the Onion River Land Company, and was consequently one of the proprietors of the Winooski Valley. The land on which stand the Fanny Allen Hospital and Fort Ethan Allen, was included in the original grant. In 1805 Fanny asked and obtained permission from her parents to go to a Montreal convent to complete her education. There she sought instruction in Catholic doctrine, and was received into the Church. On September 29, 1808, she entered the novitiate of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, at the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal. Her example, her piety, and her prayers contributed to the conversion of many to the Catholic faith. Sister Allen died September 10, 1819, and her remains lie under the chapel of the Hôtel-Dieu in Montreal.

Elinor Tong Dehey, Religious Orders of Women in the United States (Revised Edition) (Hammond, IN: W.B. Conkey, 1930), 723-724.

NOTE: Although she wasn’t the first American woman to enter Catholic religious life, she was the first convert in New England to do so.



About Pat McNamara
  • Edward Stewart

    Just as a point of reference, I believe that it’s possible that among the children captured during the famous 1704 French and Indian raid on Deerfield, MA, in the group (at least 30) who chose to remain among the French or the Mohawks in Canada and all of whom became Catholic, one or more may have entered either religious life or the priesthood. If not them certainly several of their children did.