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Lynch, Baptista, Mother


Ursuline foundress; b. Cheraw, S.C., Nov. 2, 1823;d. Columbia, S.C., July 28, 1887. Ellen was the daughter of Conlaw and Eleanor (Neison) Lynch, and the sister of Patrick N. Lynch, Bishop (185882) of Charleston, S.C. She attended the Ursuline Academy in Charleston. When the community transferred to Ohio, she entered the novitiate in the Ursuline Convent of the Assumption, Banks Street, Cincinnati, in 1848. As Baptista Aloysius, she made her profession on Nov. 15, 1850. This community disbanded and she was transferred to St. Martin's Convent, Fayetteville, Ohio. When Bishop Lynch invited the Ursulines to South Carolina in 1858, she led a group of sisters to Columbia to take over the Immaculate Conception Academy and Convent. The daughters of important Catholic families in the South attended the academy during the Civil War, but it was destroyed when Columbia was burned by Gen. William T. Sherman's army. As refugees, the nuns and their pupils moved to a farm, called Valle Crucis, outside the city of Columbia. Subsistence was difficult, and in an effort to lessen the burden, Mother Baptista sent some of her nuns to open a school in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 1866. This venture failed and in 1872 a parochial school was begun in Columbia. In 1887 a convent sufficient for the whole community was obtained in the city, and the Valle Crucis Convent was closed. Mother Baptista died ten days after bringing the nuns back to the city.

Bibliography: Archives, Diocese of Charleston.

[r. c. madden]

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