Rosary Beads worn & used by the “Battlefield Angels” at Gettysburg

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#1
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Hey everyone - wanted to share one of my most treasured artifacts from Gettysburg. These are rosary beads worn and used by the nuns from St. Joseph’s Academy in Emmitsburg MD (just a few miles from Gettysburg). Some of them stayed behind during the engagement and traveled to the battlefields on July 5th to minister and nurse the soldiers from both sides. These were 2 of the rosary beads worn that day, and were donated by Sister Camilla O’Keffe (photo is of her). The tag is from a now-closed museum when they were donated a LONG time ago (and they misspelled her name).

I was extremely lucky to have an opportunity to add them to my personal museum and honor the incredible story of the nuns. The soldiers said their white cornettes resembled angel wings, and thus began calling them “Battlefield Angels.” They are well-documented and so is Sister O’Keffe. Here’s some links for further reading (including some entries from her diary):

http://fathernormsnotebook.blogspot.com/2010/05/angels-of-battlefield.html?m=1

https://www.stfxcc.org/hospital.html#sisters

https://www.fredmag.com/into-the-storm/
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Cavalry Charger

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#2
How fortunate you are to own these ... they are an absolute treasure :angel: Imagine all the prayers that were said for sick and dying men using these, and the compassion that went with them. I'm sure the nuns did appear as angels to them, wearing their habits and providing whatever sustenance and comfort they needed at the time. A bit like 'if walls could talk' ... 'if beads could talk'. What a story I'm sure they would have to tell.
 
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#3
How fortunate you are to own these ... they are an absolute treasure :angel: Imagine all the prayers that were said for sick and dying men using these, and the compassion that went with them. I'm sure the nuns did appear as angels to them, wearing their habits and providing whatever sustenance and comfort they needed at the time. A bit like 'if walls could talk' ... 'if beads could talk'. What a story I'm sure they would have to tell.
Exactly! The horrors and sadness they witnessed...the tragedy and death. And yet, they brought healing and hope to tens of thousands of young men. I would’ve loved to have met Sister O’Keffe and the others - to hear their stories and just sit in their presence. Just imagine that for a lot of boys, she was the last person they saw - the last moments they were alive.

These are more important than almost any gun, document, or piece of clothing from the battle would be, to me.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#5
Whoa. That's wonderful! St. Francis Xavier and the Sisters is one of my favorite stories so may be a little biased. May have a thread or two around here associated with your Rosary. :angel:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/nu...y-in-blue-and-gray-blood.121179/#post-1268989

Little long, sorry, just smitten by their story. It's tough getting much information on them. By virtue of how they worship and dedicate all work to God, the Sisters did not consider themselves performing extraordinary deeds. One order alone left at least this much information, that hundreds had died nursing in the war.

Are you familiar with the window at St. Francis Xavier in Gettysburg? Confederate and Union wounded troops were treated together there, Sisters nursing both, window was given in memory and gratitude. Sorry to point it out if you already knew. Could be preaching to the choir.........

window.JPG
 
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#7
Whoa. That's wonderful! St. Francis Xavier and the Sisters is one of my favorite stories so may be a little biased. May have a thread or two around here associated with your Rosary. :angel:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/nu...y-in-blue-and-gray-blood.121179/#post-1268989

Little long, sorry, just smitten by their story. It's tough getting much information on them. By virtue of how they worship and dedicate all work to God, the Sisters did not consider themselves performing extraordinary deeds. One order alone left at least this much information, that hundreds had died nursing in the war.

Are you familiar with the window at St. Francis Xavier in Gettysburg? Confederate and Union wounded troops were treated together there, Sisters nursing both, window was given in memory and gratitude. Sorry to point it out if you already knew. Could be preaching to the choir.........

View attachment 231825
Wow, that’s amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing. What incredible people they were...
 

Mrs. V

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I am currently reading Angels of the Battlefield on my iphone..when in doctors offices...beats carrying a book! The stories I’ve read so far are just amazing. They truely were honored to be able to use their skills, and they were rather adept at finding supplies for their patients as well. I suspect it’s the habit of poverty they all shared, they knew how to stretch what they could get.
 
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#14
I am currently reading Angels of the Battlefield on my iphone..when in doctors offices...beats carrying a book! The stories I’ve read so far are just amazing. They truely were honored to be able to use their skills, and they were rather adept at finding supplies for their patients as well. I suspect it’s the habit of poverty they all shared, they knew how to stretch what they could get.
So true! I'm not even in a super religious guy, but their work is immeasurably inspiring. Soldiers fought, bled, and committed horrible acts on each other, and these ladies stepped out onto the fields of battle and brought calm, warmth, and care to those who just hours or days earlier were fighting to stay alive.
 
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I am currently reading Angels of the Battlefield on my iphone..when in doctors offices...beats carrying a book! The stories I’ve read so far are just amazing. They truely were honored to be able to use their skills, and they were rather adept at finding supplies for their patients as well. I suspect it’s the habit of poverty they all shared, they knew how to stretch what they could get.
@Mrs. V "you're awesome as usual! :wavespin:
 
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Silver run Md carroll county
#18
View attachment 231818
Hey everyone - wanted to share one of my most treasured artifacts from Gettysburg. These are rosary beads worn and used by the nuns from St. Joseph’s Academy in Emmitsburg MD (just a few miles from Gettysburg). Some of them stayed behind during the engagement and traveled to the battlefields on July 5th to minister and nurse the soldiers from both sides. These were 2 of the rosary beads worn that day, and were donated by Sister Camilla O’Keffe (photo is of her). The tag is from a now-closed museum when they were donated a LONG time ago (and they misspelled her name).

I was extremely lucky to have an opportunity to add them to my personal museum and honor the incredible story of the nuns. The soldiers said their white cornettes resembled angel wings, and thus began calling them “Battlefield Angels.” They are well-documented and so is Sister O’Keffe. Here’s some links for further reading (including some entries from her diary):

http://fathernormsnotebook.blogspot.com/2010/05/angels-of-battlefield.html?m=1

https://www.stfxcc.org/hospital.html#sisters

https://www.fredmag.com/into-the-storm/
View attachment 231819 View attachment 231820 View attachment 231821 View attachment 231822
Very cool another school nearby and maybe even tied with this school is Mount st Mary's in Maryland it has a very interesting civil war history you would probably enjoy reading about which including former students dressed as Yankees spying for the confederates and a very pro secessionist head priest
 
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#20
This is a very interesting and overlooked topic. You always hear about the men who sacrificed so much for their cause but what about the brave women who also made sacrifices. This is a topic that I am sad to say I know nothing about but will be researching more. I'm glad you shared your treasures, and inspiration, with us @davebleedsblue.
You’re so welcome - and I’m glad to hear it’s getting some attention! The war touched everyone..
 

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