New Exhibit, Documentary Features Cornelia Connelly

This fall, Jeanne Marie Guerin, SHCJ, attended the “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Gifts: The Road to Sainthood” Exhibit and “Ordinary People” WLAE Documentary, which both featured Cornelia Connelly.

Cornelia and her family had lived in Grand Coteau, LA, between 1838 -1843. It is in Grand Coteau, that the Society was founded “on a breaking heart” on October 13, 1840, when Cornelia’s husband, Pierce, told Cornelia he wanted priestly ordination.

“Ordinary People, Extraordinary Gifts: The Road to Sainthood” Exhibit and “Ordinary People” WLAE Documentary Featuring Cornelia Connelly

Catholic Cultural Heritage Center, New Orleans, LA, October 2015

By Jeanne Marie Guerin, SHCJ

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond welcomed the faithful to this Exhibition Preview and WLAE Documentary Premiere at the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center in the French Quarter, October 2, 2015. This lively, well-researched film presented the life and work of several outstanding Catholics connected with New Orleans: Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, CSSR; St. Katherine Drexel, SBS; St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, MSC; and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ.

Sister Jeanne Marie Guerin, SHCJ
Jeanne Marie Guerin, SHCJ

The film starts with the coming of the French to this region of “The New World claimed” by Robert Cavelier de LaSalle in 1682. “La Nouvelle Orle’ans” was founded in 1818.

The arrival of the Ursuline Sisters of Rouen in 1727 signaled education, social services and generous care of those in need. The Sisters’ impressive convent, now the Museum site of the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center, has been used for many purposes throughout the centuries.

The documentary testifies to the holiness and the abundant charity of Margaret Gaffney Haughey, a widow who ministered to orphans. The Venerable Henriette Delille, a free woman of color who found the Holy Family Sisters in New Orleans. The Holy Family Sisters continue to minister in New Orleans today. Venerable Cornelia Connelly made her profession of faith in 1835 to Bishop Rosati and received her First Communion in the Catholic Church at the hands of Bishop Antoine Blanc in Saint Louis Cathedral. Cornelia Connelly, Founder of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, is among these “Ordinary People, with Extraordinary Gifts,” who followed “The Road to Sainthood.”

The Old Ursuline Convent
The Old Ursuline Convent

Credits following the film listed the Society of the Holy Child Jesus as among those providing material. Religious of the Sacred Heart particularly spoke of the Grand Coteau years, when Cornelia taught at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau. The film has a photograph of Gracemere, the Connelly home, and the gravesite where two small Connelly children, Mary Magdalen and John Henry Connelly, are buried.

This documentary deserves to be seen.

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