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McHugh, Antonia, Sister


College administrator and religious superior; b. Omaha, Nebraska, May 17, 1873; d. St. Paul, Minnesota, Oct. 11, 1944. As the daughter of Patrick and Rose (Welsh) McHugh, Sister Antonia spent her childhood on the Nebraska-Dakota frontier. Her elementary and secondary education in Winnipeg, Canada, and St. Paul, Minnesota, preceded her entering the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in St. Paul at the age of 18. She pursued baccalaureate and graduate studies in history at the University of Chicago, Illinois, supplementing them with European travel and courses at Columbia University, New York City, and the University of Minnesota.

With the encouragement of Abp. John Ireland and Mother Seraphine Ireland, she developed the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, where she served as professor of history (191114), dean (191428), president (192837), and religious superior of the sisters (193137). She provided for the professional, cultural, and religious preparation of the teaching sisters at leading American and European universities, and she added lay professors to the faculty. By securing endowments, buildings, and equipment for the college, she obtained the approbation of the North Central Association, the National Education Association, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. For St. Catherine's graduates, Sister Antonia secured eligibility in the American Association of University Women and foreign travel and study through International Institute Scholarships. In 1938 a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was erected at the College of St. Catherine, which became the only U.S. Catholic women's college where this society was established. Our Lady of Victory Chapel, as well as Mendel Hall for the natural sciences and Fontbonne Hall for physical education, medical care, and athletic recreation, were built during her administration. Sister Antonia was honored by membership in the White House Conference on Child Health (1930), by the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal (1931), and by an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota (1936).

Bibliography: h. a. hurley, On Good Ground (Minneapolis 1951).

[a. gleason]

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