What a Woman Can Do: Mother Xavier Ross

Mother Ross traveled widely, but she especially loved the Kansas plains. In later years she gave retreats that mixed traditional Catholic wisdom with American practicality. She told retreatants, for example, "Always remember that every day is a new year. We needn't wait for the first of January." On April 2, 1895, after sixty-three years a nun, Mother Ross died at the motherhouse she had built. By then, her community had over three hundred Sisters.

Women religious are Catholic America's unsung heroes and Mother Ross is but one example. Many of them became the first female college presidents, hospital administrators, and social workers in North America (and elsewhere). Catholics and non-Catholics alike admired their determination, ability, and compassion. One western newspaper said of a group of nuns who nursed the sick during a local epidemic: "The idea of danger never seems to have occurred to these noble women; self was lost sight of."

"What can a woman do?"

Mother Xavier Ross' whole life and legacy is a fine response to her father's question.

2/8/2011 5:00:00 AM