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ROSA MARIA SEGALE AKA SISTER BLANDINA

Born in Cicagna, a town in the Province of Genoa, on May 23, 1850, Rosa Maria Segale emigrated to Cincinnati with her family when she was four years old. There, a community of Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Sisters of Charity was very active and, in 1866, when she was 16, Rosa and her sister Maria joined the congregation. Maria became Sister Justine and Rosa became Sister Blandina.

At 22, Sister Blandina was assigned to work on the frontier as a missionary in the southern Colorado town of Trinidad, the Wild Wild West. With four nuns she was to provide schooling for the settlement’s children, but the school was a shack and Sister Blandina, frustrated, started working on the roof until a wealthy local lady cried out, “For the love of God, Sister, what are you doing?” When Sister Blandina explained that she wanted to build a safer structure, the lady told her she would take care of it.

Sister Blandina defended Mexicans and Native Americans who were treated like slaves. She was supposed to be a teacher but, with her colleagues, she had to learn fast how to be a carpenter and a farmer, how to heal the sick, how to defend herself and everybody against the outlaws. When people complained of her work-attire, Sister Blandina replied: “The Constitution of the United States gives me the same privilege to wear this mode of dress as it gives you to wear your trousers. Good-bye.”

One of the outlaws who ran with Billy the Kid (aka William Bonney, born William Henry McCarty, Jr), was injured in 1876 by a gunshot. He was left to die, and nobody would lift a finger on his behalf: Sister Blandina helped him while four doctors refused to see him. When Billy the Kid heard of it, he wanted to kill the doctors but Sister Blandina begged him to spare their lives: he agreed and left town.

Near the end of 1876, when Sister Blandina was 26, she was informed that she had been assigned to Santa Fe, the last and wildest part of the famous trail. She ended up founding a school and an hospital in Santa Fe. In diaries and letters to her family, she left us a rich memoir titled “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail”, published in 1932.

In 1894, she went home to Cincinnati where she and her sister, Sister Justina, set up an
Italian Welfare Center for the poor. She worked among poor Italian immigrants there for the rest of her life.

On January 23, 1941, she celebrated her ninety-first birthday and one month later, February 23, she died.


SOURCE

Wikipedia

Catholic Heritage Curricula www.chcweb