Born in 1843, Euphemia Van Rensselaer grew up a child of wealth and privilege. A turning point in her life came during the Civil War when her father, an Inspector General in the Union Army, contracted typhoid fever. Euphemia and her mother rushed to his deathbed, and it was there she vowed to devote the rest of her life to caring for the sick.
In 1873 she enrolled in the first nursing class at Bellevue Hospital where she received training from Sr. Helen, an Anglican nun who herself had learned the art of nursing from Florence Nightingale. Shortly after she completed her training, Euphemia went to England to join the same Anglican order.
Her new faith gave Euphemia a new way of fulfilling her desire to serve the sick poor. She entered the Sisters of Charity in 1878, when she was 35. While still a novice, Sister Marie Dolores, as she was known, was sent to The New York Foundling Hospital to start a training program for pediatric nurses. She remained there for the first ten years of her religious life. This was a 'first' in a life that... read more