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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Friday's Photo: Sister Bethlehem - Mary Murray

This photo is said to be Sister Bethlehem - Mary Murray - Original Source Unknown

Sister Bethlehem, born Mary Murray, was the daughter of Patrick Murray and Mary O'Rourke. For family reading this post, Sister Bethlehem was the sister of James Murray (father of Susan Murray Quinn, Patrick Murray, and many other children). 

Sister Bethlehem's Record of Apostolic Service gives a year of birth as being 1850, but a Mary, daughter of Patrick and Mary Murray was born in 1838 according to a transcription of the church records in the Parish of Abbey, County Clare. That is a significant difference in dates and I wonder which one or if either are correct. 

As found on her Record of Apostolic Service, Sister Bethlehem entered Notre Dame du lac in Notre Dame, Indiana as a Novitiate (trainee) in 1877.  She served as pharmacist for the student infirmary from 1894 to 1905 and a charge of St. Vincent's infirmary and pharmacy from 1910 to 1920.  During the last few years of her life, her service was recorded as "hose mending."  She was listed as a patient during the years 1923 to 1925.

A Google search found Sister Bethlehem on a calendar in the University of Notre Dame archives. 
1880 May 14
Bethlehem, C.S.C. S(iste)r M(ary): Notre Dame, Ind(iana) 
 to Father (Daniel E.) Hudson, (C.S.C.): (Notre Dame, Indiana)
At the request of Mother Annunciata, C.S.C., who is ill, Sister Bethlehem asks for 100 of the little souvenirs Hudson mentioned. Sister asks Hudson to pray that the Mother may be well in a few days.

And, also in the archives,  a June 1939 article about the demolition of the "Old Infirmary" in The Notre Dame Alumnus.
"Two outstanding Sister s who served there were Sister Bethlehem and Sister Cecilia. Sister Bethlehem had a keen eye for those students who were faking, and her way of testing everything was castor oil. If the student could survive that test he was sick." 

Mary Murray or Sister Bethlehem could only be found in the 1920 census. Mary Murray was listed with others from her convent.  One, Ellen Agnes Murray (aka Helen Murray and Sister Mary Columbkill) was Sister Bethlehem's niece, a daughter of James Murray. It is unknown if the others are related - Sister M. Urban (Catherine Murray), and Sister M. Loyola (Loyola Murray).

Sister Bethlehem died on April 18, 1925 and is buried at Our Lady of Peace Cemetery, Notre Dame, Indiana. Her grave can be seen by clicking this link to Find A Grave


© 2016

Family papers and photos obtained from M. Fahey. 

"Mary Murray in the 1920 United States Federal Census." N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <>.

"Notre Dame Archives: Calendar." Notre Dame Archives: Calendar. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <>.

"The Notre Dame Alumnus." The Archives of  The University of Notre Dame. N.p., 1939. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <>.

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