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Adrian Dominican Foremothers

Mother Benedicta Bauer

In 1853, Mother Benedicta Bauer, Prioress of Holy Cross Convent in Regensburg, Germany, sent four sisters to New York to meet the needs of the German Catholic immigrants. The sisters first settled in Williamsburg, New York, an area that is now part of Brooklyn.

Mother Augustine Neuhierl, one of the original four who came over from Regensburg, figured most prominently in our Adrian Dominican story. After six years in America, she was sent from Williamsburg to open Holy Cross Convent on Second Street in New York City (later known as the Amityville Dominicans). This convent became an independent foundation with Mother Augustine as its first prioress. Seven years later, Mother Augustine received into the congregation a young Irish woman, Mary Madden, who received the name Sister Camilla and become an outstanding educator. The foundation in Michigan began with a deathbed vision of Mother Augustine Neuhierl, first prioress of Second Street, in which she saw a "peninsula in the west dotted white with Dominican foundations."

Mother Camilla Madden
Mother Augustine Walsh

Mother Hyacinth Scheininger succeeded Mother Augustine as prioress of Holy Cross Convent. She sent six sisters to Traverse City, Michigan, in 1879, and six sisters to Adrian in 1880 to open St. Joseph Hospital in the old Elm House. She later sent sisters to staff two parish schools in Adrian, St. Mary and St. Joseph. In 1891, Mother Angela Phelan arrived in Adrian from Traverse City to open the novitiate in what was soon to become the canonically erected St. Joseph Province, transferred from Traverse City. Mother Angela was present when six novices received the habit during the first reception ceremonies in Adrian in May 1892. After returning to New York, Mother Angela was sent to Washington State.

Mother Camilla Madden was appointed the provincial for the new St. Joseph Province in Adrian in August 1892 and arrived from Traverse City. A risk-taker, Mother Camilla dreamed of an academy for girls and was overjoyed when the academy's first four students graduated in 1899. On June 27, 1923, the St. Joseph Province was separated from the Newburgh Congregation under the title of Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary. Mother Camilla was named Mother General and Founder.

Mother Mary
Gerald Barry
Mother Genevieve Weber

Following Mother Camilla's death in 1924, Mother Augustine Walsh was elected at the first General Chapter of the Adrian Congregation on July 10, 1924. Congregation membership numbered 613 when Mother Augustine was re-elected in 1930. She served until her death in 1933 and was succeeded by Mother Mary Gerald Barry. During her term, the Congregation witnessed growth and expansion in its membership and ministries. Mother Gerald was re-elected at the next four General Chapters, from 1939 to 1957. She died in November 1961.

Mother Mary Genevieve Weber was elected at the Eighth General Chapter in 1962 and served until 1968. Maria Health Care Center and a new novitiate (Weber Hall) were erected during this time.