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Power, Emily, Mother

POWER, EMILY, MOTHER

Educator; b. County Waterford, Ireland, Jan. 12, 1844; d. Sinsinawa, Wis., Oct. 16, 1909. The Power family came to the U.S. in 1851, settling in St. Louis, Mo. When the father died, his widow took the family to a farm near Sinsinawa. At the age of 13, Ellen Power entered an academy at Benton, Wis., established by the Rev. Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP, founder of the Sinsinawa Dominicans. At the age of 17 she was received into the community of the Dominican sisters in Benton and given the name of Sister Mary Emily. In 1867 she was chosen head of the community. With the aid of a wealthy Catholic, William Ryan, she moved the group, both sisters and students, from Benton back to Sinsinawa. On this base she built an organization that in 1961 staffed educational institutions in 20 states, Europe, and South America. Her educational apostolate included the elementary, secondary, and college levels. Rosary College, River Forest, Ill., and its branch in Fribourg, Switzerland; Edgewood College of the Sacred Heart, Madison, Wis.; and Pius XII Graduate School of Fine Arts, Florence, Italy, were all part of Mother Emily's plan. St. Clara of Sinsinawa was one of the first Catholic secondary schools to establish affiliation with a state university, and the curriculum of Corpus Christi School, New York City, has been a model for many elementary schools. Mother Emily was one of the first superiors to send sisters to secular institutions and to the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. She was aware of the problems of poverty and sympathetic with workers, and was associated also with social movements. She directed aid for the miners of Spring Valley, Minn., for the locked-out workers of the Anaconda in Montana, and for the strikers of the Chicago stockyards. She anteceded Leo XIII in teaching the need for understanding between capital and labor; when the pope's pronouncement came, she put it into action as an educational factor of essential importance.

Bibliography: m. e. mccarty, The Sinsinawa Dominicans: Outlines of Twentieth Century Development, 19011949 (Sinsinawa, Wis. 1952).

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