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Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy takes step closer to canonization

Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy

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Philip Kosloski - published on 11/19/22

The cause of the founder of the first order of women religious in Texas received support from the U.S. Bishops at their fall meeting.

The cause for the canonization of Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy received support from the U.S. Bishops at their fall meeting in Baltimore. This marks an important step in her cause, and allows the local bishop to continue his investigation into her life.

Who was Mother Margaret Mary Healy-Murphy?

Margaret Mary was born in Ireland in 1833 and emigrated to the United States in 1845. She married her husband John Bernard Murphy in 1849 and moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.

The couple was unable to have children and eventually adopted three girls who were in need of a home. John died in 1884 and God led Margaret into a new chapter of her life.

According to the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate’s website, Margaret heard a letter read from the pulpit that changed her life.

The letter, read by an Oblate priest, Fr. John Maloney, OMI was a call from the American Bishops to Catholics in the South to respond to the pastoral and educational needs of the post-civil war African American population.  They had been utterly abandoned since their emancipation, no longer having even the minimal sustenance once provided to them under slavery.

This letter gave a new fire to Margaret’s life and she set out to help the local African American population in any way she could.

She went on to establish the first Catholic free school and church for African Americans in 1887.

Through a series of events and inspirations, she founded the congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate on June 9, 1893.

She continued to minister to African American and Mexican American communities in Texas until her death in 1907.

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