In writing her life story, Sister Betty Condon began with her great-grandparents, who left behind their Irish roots in Killarney and Cork and braved the difficult Atlantic crossing to begin new lives in America. They settled in Charleston, South Carolina, and it was there that, two generations later, Martha Igoe and Matthew Condon met as they each chaperoned the younger members of their respective families at a party.
Martha and Matthew were married in July 1913, and the next year a daughter, Mary Caroline, came into the family. Caroline was followed by James, Martha, Matthew, Elizabeth – who was always called Betty – on November 12, 1925, and Mary Clare.
Caroline died of blood poisoning at the age of thirteen, while away at a boarding school. Betty was just three years old, but despite being so young at the time she always recalled that someone told her to look up at the stars and know Caroline was looking down at her.
Neither Martha nor Matthew had completed high school; Martha, who was the eldest, left high school to help care for her siblings, while Matthew left school at fourteen to work in the department store his parents had started.
Read more about Sister Betty (pdf)
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