On this day: Fire at Mt. St. Mary

On this day, 100 years ago, a fire destroyed Mount Saint Mary, the boarding school conducted by the Sisters of Mercy at their motherhouse in the Watchung Range, three miles from Plainfield, New Jersey.

Not one life was lost. Click here to read the account of the fire in the New York Times.

The 250 students and the 30 sisters evacuated the burning building according to plan. The "drill system" and electric alarm bells saved their lives. Two sisters with rheumatism were carried outside by other sisters. The three-year-old building was a total loss.

Rebuilding was completed by September, 1912. Mount Saint Mary Academy and Georgian Court University flourish still.

For the early history of the Sisters of Mercy in the State of New Jersey, from their arrival in 1872 through the rebuilding of Mount Saint Mary, see The Catholic Church in the United States of America, Volume II: The Religious Communities of Women, New York, 1913. The brief article mentions the election of Mother Gabriel, who was still superior at the time of the fire. (See page ix for links to the other congregations covered in the book.)

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