Providence Reveals a “New” Sister for a Sister

Written on: November 24, 2015

From: Sr. Anne ZIta Crudden, gnsh, (AKA Helen Veronica Crudden/ nee McCall)

Mother, Mary Alice McCall

I was reunited with my birth family in September of 1994.  I was blessed to meet my Mother, Mary Alice Coyle McCall, as well as my sister, Charlotte, called Shirl, and my two brothers, Connell & Jimmy.  As the other family members were introduced, I got to know my nieces, nephews, and cousin, Kathy Ruane and her family.  It was a wonderful time for us all.  Since then, my brothers, sister, and cousin have died; now, I felt that I was the last of my immediate family.


Kate on her 89th Birthday

But, surprise!  My life’s journey has revealed a whole new story. A few weeks ago, I received word from Ireland that I have another sister who is living in Dublin.  Her name is Mary Kathleen Coyle, called “Kate”, and is 89 years old.   She was born in 1926 when Mom – (Mary Alice Coyle) – was only 20 years old. Three years later, Mom and her sister, Helen, left Ireland and traveled to Philadelphia.  As a new-born, Kate was placed in one of the work institutions in Ireland until the age of 16.  After leaving this place, she found work with a family.  I spoke to a woman who was assisting Kate in discovering the name of her birth mother.  Since she still has feelings of abandonment, I am anxious to assure her that Mom had no choice in the matter. My desire is to let her know of our care and love for her.  I am told that Kate is in good health, and full of life. Since then, Kate has been told about locating her family, and knows that she has a younger sister.  The fact that I am a Nun has delighted her.  We have even exchanged letters and pictures. I have also applied for a renewed Passport, just in case I am able to travel to Ireland to see her. (Plans are now in action to make this trip possible.)  As the weeks go by, I am gradually learning more about Kate and even my family in Donegal.  So, I’m getting a better picture of those relatives that never left Ireland.  Meanwhile, rejoice with me that I have the opportunity to know more about Kate. Once again, Divine Providence has revealed a surprising new chapter.

6 thoughts on “Providence Reveals a “New” Sister for a Sister

  1. Nancy Gormley Schaub, Class of '64 says:

    Oh Sister Anne (I remember you as “Helen” from Melrose) – what a wonderful story. I also was adopted and while I found my birth mother, she did not want to meet me or my children. I had one lovely visit with my half-sister (we are very much alike) but “our” mother squashed any further visits. How sad she still had so much shame even 50 years later (when I located her). I am so glad your story turned out better and I so hope you get to Ireland (I have family outside of Omagh but have never been to Ireland).

  2. Helene Delaney Duffy says:

    Dear Helen: What an incredible story. You will have to tell us the rest of the story at our reunion luncheons. God has given you an extra special blessing, Imagine to find your family!!! Hope you are enjoying your new home.

  3. Rose Maksimowski says:

    Sr. Ann Zita, how good to hear about you all these years later. I have sweet memories of you at Christ the King School. What a journey to find your family and to assure them of your love! God bless you dear lady. So glad to hear the rest of the story–and hopefully more to come. Rose Maksimowski

  4. Dorrie Swiatkowski says:

    Anne Zita,
    What a blessing for you. Hopefully you and your sister Kate will meet soon in Ireland. What a wonderful Christmas gift!

  5. Sheila Breen McQuillan says:

    Dear Ann,
    I am thrilled for you to have found another sister!
    From her picture she looks healthy and happy.

    Whenever you go to Donegal (my maternal grandmother’s
    birth place), I plan on sending you a monetary gift to help
    make the trip wonderful. I have your new address.
    So great to see you at our luncheons and will look forward to
    hearing all about Kate & Ireland.

  6. Mary Elizabeth Looby says:

    Great story, Ann Zita! Thanks for sharing the news about your sister Mary Kate.

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