For over 75 years, Our Lady of Peace has served the community with end-of-life care for tens of thousands of patients from all walks of life. It began on December 7, 1941 when the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, NY came to St. Paul, MN and started
Our Lady of Good Counsel Home, a free end of life care facility to provide free care for terminal cancer patients who were without means.
Now, Our Lady of Peace Hospice, we have expanded our mission to include adult non-cancer patients, regardless of their social, religious, or economic status. And, there are no out of pocket costs to our patients or families for room & board and medical care. Although we are rooted in the charitable work of the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, patients of all faiths and beliefs are welcome.
About the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne
Rose Hawthorne was born in 1851 to American Novelist Nathanial Hawthorne and his wife Sophia Peabody. Rose’s lineage can be traced back to the original Massachusetts Bay Colonists who first settled on Plymouth Rock.
The Hawthorne family home, the Wayside, stood among the homes of notable literary figures Louisa Mae Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, and Henry David Thoreau. When Rose’s father passed away, financial stress led her mother to move Rose and her two siblings to Germany, where she met George Parsons Lathrop. George and Rose married in 1871 and later had a son who died of diphtheria.
Rose and George were accepted into the Catholic Church in 1891 and devoted their lives to the work of the church. At forty-five years old, she enrolled herself in a nurses’ training course at the New York Cancer Hospital. Upon completion of her training, Rose took a streetcar to the most destitute area of New York City, the Lower East Side. It was there that she met a seamstress who became afflicted with cancer.
The seamstress was unable to maintain an income or rely on family to care for her, so she was sent to Blackwell’s Island, the city’s site of prisons and sanitariums, to die in an almshouse devoid of medical or skilled nursing care. At that moment, Rose Hawthorne said, “A fire was then lighted in my heart, where it still burns. I set my whole being to endeavor to bring consolation to the cancerous poor.” Rose realized that she could, “take the lowest class both in poverty and suffering and put them in such a condition, that if our Lord knocked at the door, we would not be ashamed to show what we had done.”
On September 14, 1899 Rose Hawthorne was received as a Dominican Tertiary, and in November of 1900, Archbishop Corrigan gave his approval for December 8, 1900 to be the founding day for the new community of Dominican Sisters. From this beginning, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, have revered Mother Alphonsa (Rose Hawthorne) as their foundress and intercessor.
The Story Continues at Our Lady of Peace
Mother Alphonsa served the poor for thirty years, until her passing in 1926 at Rosary Hill Home, Hawthorne, New York, in the Motherhouse of the Congregation. Her vision continues to sustain us in our work at Our Lady of Peace, since our founding by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne in 1941. Like Mother Alphonsa, we put heart into everything we do, as we provide care for patients in our hospice residence, community hospice, and homecare.