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Cornelia Connelly Collection

Collection 449

Connelly, Cornelia (1809–1879). Collection, 1961–2017, n.d.

10 inches

Cornelia Connelly was born on January 15, 1809 in Philadelphia. She was a convert to Roman Catholicism, a married woman, and a mother. She was married to Pierce Connelly and they had five children. Her life changed drastically when her husband announced his decision to become a priest. She subsequently agreed to a legal separation (though they continued to live together), took a vow of chastity, and committed herself to follow the religious life in England.

In 1838, the Connelly’s accepted an invitation from Fr. Nicholas Point to live and work at Grand Coteau, Louisiana. Pierce taught English and Cornelia taught music at Sacred Heart School. In 1846, she founded the first of many Holy Child Schools in England.

Connelly died April 18, 1879 at St. Leonard-On-Sea, Sussex, England. In 2009, there was a birthday Anniversary of Cornelia, 200 years.

This collection consists of letters she wrote to her husband and many writings and publications about her.

Donated by Dr. Sarah Brabant.


A. General Records 1-01 through 1-03
B. Letters 1-04
C. Writings 1-05 through 1-08
D. Correspondence 1-09
E. Publicity: Articles 1-10 through 1-18
F. CD 1-19
G. Books Box 2


Box 1  
1-01 General Records: Cornelia Connelly timeline; information on her children; St. Charles College Grand Coteau photo (photocopy)
1-02 General Records: Bicentennial Celebration for Cornelia Connelly, 2009
1-03 General Records: Maria Cutts (1781-1854) obituary (printed in 2012)
1-04 Letters: 1835-1852 (Connelly or related letters) photocopies
1-05 Writings: “Cornelia Connelly: A Reinterpretation of Her Natchez and Grand Coteau Years!”. By Sarah Brabant, Ph.D., no date
1-06 Writings: “Laudate Pueri Dominum, a Living Memorial”. By Helena Mayer, SHCJ. 2009
1-07 Writings: “Cornelia Connelly’s Grand Coteau: 1838-1843, A Walking tour with Meditation”. Prepared for the Grand Coteau Bicentennial Pilgrimage, April 23-29, 2009. Revised for the 2017 Grand Coteau – Natchez Pilgrimage, March 30-April 3, 2017
1-08 Writings: “Faithful Creativity”: The Society of the Sacred Heart and its Transition into Modernity, Post-Vatican II. By Kristen Hunter, Historical Research and Writing Seminar 490, April 25, 2012
1-09 Correspondence: 2009, 2012 (2 items)
1-10 Publicity: Articles - “Grand Coteau Revisited”, by James Walsh, S.J. The Pylon, volume 21, No.3, Winter 1959/60
1-11 Publicity: Articles - “Cornelia Connelly (1809-1870) Mother & Nun Who Founded a Religious Order. Catholic Church, Italian History, Victorian Women, July 25, 2011; “Apostalate Studies”, by Sister Rodegunde Flaxman. Source, No.3, 1972, pp. 1-21. “Cornelia Connelly, The Cause Room, unidentified author. The Pylon, volume 21, no.3, Winter 1960/61; “Why an American Founders for England in 1864? By James Walsh, SJ. The Pylon, volume 23, no.3, Winter 1961/62, pp. 2-6
1-12 Publicity: Articles - “Nineteenth Century Englishwomen: Cornelia’s Context”. By Judith Lancaster. Source, November 25, 1992. Pp. 3-6; “Cornelia, the story of Cornelia Connelly (1809-1879), foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus”. By Mary Andrew Armour. The Society of the Holy Child Jesus, first edition, 1979. Pp. 1-20; “Roots, 1779-1865, part one, chapter 3. By Margaret Williams. The Society of the Sacred Heart, History of a Spirit, 1800-1975
1-13 Publicity: Articles - “James Walsh, Cornelia Connelly and the Society of the Holy Child Jesus”. By Sister Elizabeth Mary Strub. Pp. 184-197, No other sources available; “A Tale of two Scandals: Cornelia Connelly as Nouvelle Heloise”. By Barbara Newman. Review for Religion, 2011, pp. 342-363; “Cornelia Connelly’s Innovations in Female Education, 1846-1864: Revolutionizing the School Curriculum for Girls (review). By Virginia Kaib Ratigan. The Catholic Historical Review, volume 97, no. 1, January 2011; The Curious Case of Cornelia Connelly. By Dr. Pat McNamara. In Ages Past, published on the Catholic Portal
1-14 Publicity: Articles - “The Priesthoods and Apostasies of Pierce Connelly, a Study of Victorian Conversion and Anticatholicism. By D.G. Paz. Studies in American Religion, volume 18, pp. 50-233
1-15 Publicity: Articles - “Terra Incognita: The Nun in Nineteenth-Century England”. By Susan O’Brien. Past & Present, No. 121, November 1988, pp. 110-140
1-16 Publicity: Articles - “Women as Church in a New land”. By Karen M. Kennelly.; U.S. Catholic Historian, volume 8, no. 4, Fall 1989. Pp. 65-72
1-17 Publicity: Articles - “Quartet in Heaven”. By Sheila Kay-Smith. Part 1. The Matrons, Cornelia Connelly, pp. 57-119; “The Life of Cornelia Connelly 1809-1879, Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus”. By a member of the Society. Preface pages only
1-18 Publicity: Articles - “The Case of Cornelia Connelly”. Chapters 1-2. No date; Some Private Roads to Rome: The Role of Families in American Victorian Conversations to Catholicism. By Anne C. Rose. The Catholic Historical Review, volume 85, no. 1 (Jan. 1999). Pp. 35-57
1-19 CD: Connelly’s letters, volumes 1-12
Box 2  
1. Connelly vs. Connelly, by Reverend Brendan Larnen, O.P., Copyright, 1961
2. Cornelia Connelly, a Study in Fidelity, by Mother Marie Therese, S.H.C.J., Copyright, 1963
3. Cornelia Connelly, 1809-1879, Foundress of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, by a Religious of the Society. Fourth edition, 1950
4. A Woman Styled Bold, The Life of Cornelia Connelly 1809-1879. By Radegunde Flaxman, Copyright 1991
5. Cornelia Connelly and Her Interpreters, by Judith Landcaster, S.H.C.J., Copyright, 2004
6. Cornelia Connelly Anthology in Context, by Justina Chikezie, S.H.C.J., Copyright, 2009
7. Cornelia Connelly, founder, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, 1809-1879. No date
8. St. Mary Basilica, Natchez, Mississippi. By Charles E. Nolan, Copyright, 2005
9. One Woman’s Journey in Faith, by Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Copyright 2004
10. Pilgrimage Travel Companion, St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, January 14-16, 2005. No date
11. Westward Ho! Photographic Exhibition of the Beginnings of LHCJ Mission of the West. No date
12. Continue the Story, a Resource of Reflection and Conversation, Society of the Holy Child Jesus, 2004
13. Compass Points for a spiritual journal. Bi-Centennial Celebration for Cornelia Connelly 1809-2009. Society of the Holy Child Jesus, 2009
14. Incarnational Spirituality, an introduction for SHCJ Associates, by Judith A. Talvacchia, 2010
15. History - Society of the Holy Child Jesus. Issue IX: Ministries Part IV., Copyright 2007