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Teresa Lalor

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Co-foundress, with Bishop Neale of Baltimore, of the Visitation Order in the United States b. in Ireland ; d. 9 Sept., 1846. Her childhood, spent in Co. Kilkenny, gave such evident manifestations of a vocation to the religious life that Bishop Lanigan of Ossory had made arrangements for her entrance into a convent of his diocese, when she was obliged to accompany her family to America. Arriving at Philadelphia in 1797, she became acquainted with Rev. Leonard Neale, pastor of St. Joseph's church in that city, and under his direction she devoted herself to works of piety and charity. He recognized in her an instrument for the formation of a religious community, and with this object in view an academy was opened for the instruction of girls. But an epidemic of yellow fever carried off Miss Lalor's companions, and as Father Neale was transferred in 1799 from Philadelphia, to become president of Georgetown College , she also went to Georgetown, D. C., and was for a time domiciled with a small community of Poor Clares, exiled from France. On the departure of the Poor Clares from America, Miss Lalor and two companions opened a school of their own in a house which stood within the present grounds of the Visitation convent, the oldest house of the order in the United States . The "pious ladies", as they were called, aspired to become religious, and, as Bishop Neale was greatly in favor of the rule of St. Francis de Sales , he wished to affiliate them with the order founded by the saintly Bishop of Geneva; but the disturbed condition of ecclesiastical affairs in Europe prevented this until 1816, when he obtained a grant from Pius VII for the community to be considered as belonging to the Order of the Visitation, sharing in all the spiritual advantages thereto annexed. Mother Teresa with two other sisters was professed on the feast of the Holy Innocents of that same year, and became the first superioress of the Georgetown Convent. She lived to see three other houses of the institute founded, offshoots of the mother-house: Mobile, in 1832; Kaskaskia (afterwards transferred to St. Louis), in 1833; and Baltimore, in 1837. She was assisted in her last moments by Archbishop Eccleston of Baltimore. She was about seventy-seven years of age, forty-six of which had been spent in the enclosure where her remains repose, with those of Archbishop Neale, in the crypt beneath the chapel of the convent which they founded.


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