Saturday, April 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 14

Dorothy behind the pram 1920
Maiden Aunt is the writing prompt for this week. The only aunt I had who never married was my mom’s sister, Marie. I wrote about her in Week 10, and that post can be found here. I had several maiden great-aunts, but the one that I knew the best was Dorothy Crusham. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio on 25 October 1908, Dorothy was the 9th and final child of Michael J. Crusham and Catherine (Colgan) Crusham. My maternal grandfather, Michael A. Crusham, was her oldest brother as well as the oldest child in the family.

In the 1930 census, Dorothy was 21 years old, living at home with her parents and two of her brothers, and was employed as a telephone operator. Their house was located at 4117 West Liberty St.

Sister Miriam Fidelis
On 8 September 1934, Dorothy became a member of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (R.S.M.) She resided at McAuley Convent in Cincinnati. R.S.M. was established in Dublin in 1831, but it wasn’t until 1858 that some of the sisters came to Cincinnati to teach and visit the sick in their homes. The R.S.M. nuns are “women of faith who commit our lives to God and our resources to serve, advocate and pray for those in need around the world.”

While she was busy with her life serving Christ, Aunt Dorothy (as we called her) tried to attend as many family events as she could. She particularly enjoyed coming to the Crusham family reunions, which were usually held in a local park during the summer. What I remember most about her was her smile and her infectious laugh.
Sister with nieces Marie and Margie
Although I don’t recall where we were going, one time I rode in the car with her. We were probably headed to my grandparents house after a family gathering. She was a horrific driver as she got older, and I vividly remember our drive as we headed the wrong way on a one way street. I was so frightened I got down on the floor of the back seat. We made it safe and sound to our destination, but my parents never let me ride with her again!

Aunt Dorothy was funny and kind, and I remember wishing I had nuns like her teaching at my elementary school in Des Moines. Despite the fact that she always wore a habit, she was not in the least bit intimidating.

Golden Jubilee
Her Golden Jubilee to commemorate 50 years as one of the Sisters of Mercy was held in 1984 at the Laurel Court in Cincinnati. Once the 1907 home of Peter G. Thomson, founder of The Champion Coated Paper Company, the building and its grounds were turned into an event space with multiple gardens. Many nieces and nephews attended the party, as well as her sole surviving brother, Tom. My brother flew in from Colorado, and my sister and her family along with my husband and me traveled from St. Louis to help her celebrate this momentous event.

Dorothy died on 22 August 2001 at the age of 92. She lived a long, full life and was much loved by her spiritual and blood families alike.

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