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Soon after Winifred Clare Mary Lynch came into this world at Dr. Mill’s Private Hospital in Morristown, New Jersey, she already had a story to tell for the rest of her life: a grieving woman who had lost her own child came into the hospital nursery and took her.
“According to my mother, [the woman] picked out the most beautiful child!” Sister Winnie, as she was long known, said in her autobiography. “After a frantic search, the nurses found me and returned me to my dear mother.”
Winifred Lynch was born May 25, 1923, to Patrick and Agnes (Regan) Lynch, both of them Irish immigrants. Patrick was born in County Meath, while Agnes came from County Mayo. The couple immigrated to America in the early part of the 20th century and settled near siblings in Morristown. Four children came into the family: Elizabeth (known as Tootsie), Catherine, Winifred, and Peter. Winnie later learned that her mother once spoke of another child born between Catherine and Winnie, but the particulars remained a mystery.
Before Winnie started school, the Lynches moved to Chappaqua, New York, where Patrick worked for a wealthy family. Her early education was at St. Mary School, but when she was in sixth grade, she and Peter transferred to Horace Greeley School in Chappaqua. While she struggled with her experience at St. Mary, she enjoyed her time at Horace Greeley and excelled in field hockey.
“I was told that I was always a lively active child,” she said in her autobiography. But that liveliness made her mishap-prone; once while pretending to be a clown, she put pussy willows into both ears and a piece ended up stuck deep inside one ear. She also put a pitchfork through her foot and, when she was ten years old, fell with a ruler in her mouth and “removed my own tonsils.”
Read more about Sister Winifred (PDF)
Memorial gifts may be made to Adrian Dominican Sisters, 1257 East Siena Heights Drive, Adrian, Michigan, 49221.
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Our Adrian Dominican cemetery with its circular headstones is a beautiful place of rest for women who gave their lives in service to God — and a peaceful place for contemplation and remembrance.
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