Ida B Murphy was my 3x Great Aunt. She was born on April 15, 1872 to Dr. Joseph Murphy and Mary Frances (Briggs) Murphy in Taunton, Massachusetts. She was the youngest of 8 children, Mary Ellen (Sister Mary Merchtilde), Joseph Briggs, James Montgomery (died young), Francis Charles, Charles Albert (died young), Agnes Louise, and Charles Oscar. Her father was an immigrant of Ireland and was asked to come to Taunton by the Catholic priest.
In the 1900 Census she was living with her two brothers Dr. Francis Murphy and Dr. Charles Murphy.
Ida entered the Sisters of Mercy in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 19, 1904 where she was known as Sister Mary Leonie. She received the habit on August 23, 1904 and professed in 1906. Her assignment as a Sister of Mercy was teacher of “little ones”.
The Sisters of Mercy house was located at 435 Union Street in Manchester. Sister Mary Leonie lived there until the time of her death on April 18, 1931.
Sister Mary Leonie is buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Manchester, New Hampshire with her other Sisters of Mercy.
*I would like to say a thank you to the Sisters of Mercy for their quick response to my request for records*
The Sisters of Mercy came to New Hampshire on July 16, 1858. Their convent at, 435 Union Street was built by Catholics in Manchester who readily responded to the slogan, “Dime a Brick”. Ministry with those who are poor, sick, and uneducated has always been the priority for the Sisters of Mercy, as this was the mission of their founder Catherine McAuley. They opened a free school for young girls in Manchester and also founded Mount Saint Mary Academy in a wing of the convent, a school that continues to this day (now on Elm Street in Manchester). Concerned about the safety and welfare of women working in the mills and elsewhere in Manchester, the sisters opened a residence for working women (called the House of St. Martha at 434 Union Street) right near their convent. They also started a hospital (Sacred Heart Hospital, which merged with Manchester’s Notre Dame Hospital, forming Catholic Medical Center, in 1979), homes for elderly men and women, orphanages, and a maternity hospital and infant asylum (as homes for infants without parents or guardians were called at the time). During the early 20th century influenza epidemic, they volunteered at an isolation hospital. To encourage continuing education, the sisters established a vocational school, an academy (Our Lady of Grace) a school of nursing and a school of X-ray technology, as well as a college in Hooksett (Mount Saint Mary) and in Windham (Castle College), and in Swampscott, Massachusetts (Marian Court College). (After many years of enabling young people, particularly women, to gain access to a better life, these institutions closed or merged with other organizations.) From 1907 into the 1960s, they published a literary magazine called The Magnificat. During the 1950s, they offered weekend retreats for women at Searles Castle in Windham. From the late 19th into the 20th century, Sisters of Mercy in New Hampshire were called upon to open or staff schools not only in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but also in South Carolina and California.Today New Hampshire Sisters of Mercy continue to respond to those most in need, serving in schools, parishes, nursing homes, shelters, prisons, and social service ministries, as well as protesting New Hampshire’s death penalty and offering English and citizenship classes to immigrant women through the Manchester Immigration Project. They carry on their history of commitment to action on behalf of social justice.
Excerpt from the Sisters of Mercy Website