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When Mary Elizabeth Dougherty, the future Sister Grace, was born on February 23, 1938, one of the happiest members of what came to be known as the “Dougherty Clan” was the oldest child, Al, who had told his mother “not to come home without a baby sister. I have enough brothers!”
Indeed, there were already three Dougherty boys: Al, Chuck, and Patrick; then, six years after Mary Elizabeth’s birth, Bob came into the family. “The fact that I am the only girl with four brothers has always delighted, and I must admit, spoiled me,” Sister Grace wrote in her November 26, 1980, St. Catherine letter.
Mary Elizabeth and her brothers were born in Chicago to Albert and Mary Grace (Bowling) Dougherty. Albert was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and raised on a farm near Winner, South Dakota. He went to Chicago as a teenager to live with an aunt and complete his high school education. One of his neighbors happened to be Mary Grace, whose family had come to Chicago from Kentucky when her father took a job with the Illinois Central Railroad. A few years later, in 1930, Albert and Mary Grace, who was always known as just “Grace” or “Gracie,” married in their parish church, St. Philip Neri.
Albert, like both his uncle and his father-in-law, worked for the Illinois Central Railroad, while Grace was a salesperson for the Fannie May candy company. The family lived in St. Felicitas Parish and the children all attended the parish school.
Read more about Sister Grace (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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