Vincent McGovern

March 2005 - CALIFORNIA GOLD!

'Tis the month of the Leprechaun, and thoughts turn to the pots of gold thought to be lying about, to be claimed by any lucky soul who finds them.  In California gold is not unknown, but our religious community has an even greater cache of spiritual gold in the value of women who followed the inspiration of Sister Dolores Armer into a life of service spent for others.  More than one of our first sisters was born in the Gold Country, a daughter of the gold seekers or pioneers of early California.

A picture of Sr. Dolores Armer and the first sisters.

1.  Sr. Dolores Armer  2.  Sr. Teresa O’Connor  3.  Sr. Magdalene Javete

4.  Sr. Joseph Kelly  5.  Sr. Augustine McKeon  6.  Sr. Agnes Block

7.  Sr. Baptist Tully   8.  Sr. Vincent McGovern  9.  Sr. Clare Barlow

 As a baby, on fine days Kate McGovern (#8) was put out onto the family’s house porch in Murphys, in Calaveras County, to soak in sunshine. She told, in later years, how her mother described the numerous Indians from the area coming up onto the porch to look at her and smile.  Some of the sisters remember how she visited Murphys many years after being the eighth woman to enter the new community.  When peeking through the window into the little church, she cried with great delight, “That is the organ that my father purchased for the church!”  Her father, Philip, kept a store on Algiers Street in Murphys through the 1850s and 60s.

As a Sister of the Holy Family, Kate worked with Italian immigrants in Sts. Peter and Paul and Corpus Christi parishes in San Francisco, and also in Colma.  She gave 63 years to the service of God’s Church and died May 12, 1942.  Her love for the poor is reflected in the name by which she was called for those many years – Sr. Vincent, after Vincent de Paul, the Apostle of Charity.

Sr. Vincent McGovern in later years withthe only child of her sister Abigail (Anna),Miss Marguerite Beesley.