"Such Love Is Seldom Seen": Mother Mary Walsh, O.P. (1850-1922)

In later years, she suffered from angina pectoris. On her deathbed her last word was "Thanks." The New York American stated that Mary Walsh's death would "bring heartfelt sorrow and mourning to thousands of the poor of the tenements of New York."

The testimonials poured forth. One woman said of Mary: "I was beaten by life until she helped me get on my feet." Another said: "I never met any other person who really loved his neighbor." At her funeral Mass, the priest observed: "Such love is seldom seen in this or any other era." A bishop commented: "I felt that I sat in the presence of one of God's saints."

She came to New York with nothing, died with little more, but she made a difference in the lives of thousands; Mary Walsh's story is almost a retelling of the Beatitudes in a New York setting. And it's eminently worth retelling.

12/6/2011 5:00:00 AM
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  • Pat McNamara
    About Pat McNamara
    Dr. Pat McNamara is a published historian. He blogs about American Catholic History at McNamara's Blog.
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