July 10, 2008

Rose Hawthorne

Yesterday, July 9th, is the calendar remembrance day of Rose Hawthorne. Her story reminds me of Dorothy Day (whose feast day is November 29). Dorothy lived later in the 20th century and Rose did her work of servanthood at the beginning of the 20th century. I just watched a movie on Dorothy Day a few weeks ago that was really good - "Entertaining Angels". There will be many images that'll return to me the rest of my life from that movie of what living loving God really looks like! Dorothy Day was no saint!

I don't even know if Rose Hawthorne's canonization completed. The process began in 2003, which is a very long and demanding process. Both women were very much women of the world, who gave up everything to care for the lowest of society.

What intrigues me the most about Rose is that she's Nathaniel Hawthorne's daughter. She was born into one of America's most creative and influential literary circle's. Labeled as Transcendentalists, Rose grew up surrounded by Emerson, Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and others. Since I've followed some of their lives I enjoyed reading American Bloomsbury.

Rose had lived in London, Paris, Rome and Florence. Her father was an author (she was born just after The Scarlet Letter was published). She even had some of her own writings published. She was married and divorced. Her son had died when 5; and her husband was an alcoholic. She gave everything up to serve the poor.

Becoming a Catholic must have greatly distressed her father, and then to give up everything and live in the slums of New York. "I am trying to serve the poor as a servant. I wish to serve the cancerous poor because they are more avoided than any other class of sufferers; and I wish to go to them as a poor creature myself." Taking in cancerous poor, shunned by family and friends, was risking all, at a time when cancer was considered contagious.
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