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Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan

Image of Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan

Image courtesy of the College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ

Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan (1825-1915) emigrated from Ireland to New York in 1842.
She made her profession of vows in 1847 as Sister Mary Xavier and spent the next twelve years as a Sister of Charity in New York.

After her time in New York, Mother Xavier began her work as the mother superior of the Sisters of Charity of New Jersey. In 1860, the order opened their motherhouse in Madison at Convent Station. Under her leadership, Mother Xavier opened seven hospitals, along with nurses’ training schools, homes for the elderly, orphanages, and a residence for working women. Among her most significant accomplishments, Mother Xavier helped found the College of Saint Elizabeth which made history as the first four-year women’s college in the state. This was one of the first Catholic colleges for women in the United States.


McEniry, Sister Blanche M. Woman of Decision: The Life of Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan, 

Foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent, New Jersey. New York: McMullen Books Inc., 1953.

Sharkey, Mary Agnes. 1933. The New Jersey Sisters of Charity. New York: Longmans, 

Green and Co. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1035198127 

McEniry, Blanche Marie. 1953. Woman of decision: the life of Mother Mary Xavier 

Mehegan foundress of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Convent, New Jersey. New York: McMullen Books. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/1203389631 

Questions to Explore

How was Mother Xavier able to open the College of Saint Elizabeth?

What encouraged Mother Xavier to make her profession of vows in 1847?

Additional Resources

Neary Noreen S. C. 2015. Boundless Charity : The Life of the Foundress of the New Jersey Sisters of Charity Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan. Convent Station NJ: College of Saint Elizabeth.

Brown Dylan. n.d. “Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth to Party on Rush-Hour Train to Convent Station.” Daily Record (sep 25 2009) N/a: n/a-n/a.