On May 17, 1861, the Civil War touched the lives of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind. On that date, the sisters were placed in charge of all “domestic arrangements” like washing, cooking and cleaning at City Hospital, soon to be known as Military Hospital, in Indianapolis. Their services were not limited to these duties, as Sisters of Providence also served as nurses.
The Sisters of Providence certainly weren’t the only women’s religious congregation to answer the call to duty during the Civil War. “Nuns of the Battlefield,” written by Ellen Ryan Jolly and originally published in 1927, tells the story of other religious congregations that aided Union and Confederate soldiers. This monograph highlights the women’s religious congregations that ministered to soldiers during the Civil War.
To learn more about the service of the Sisters of Providence, take a look at “Lest We Forget,” a short history of the service provided by the Sisters of Providence during the Civil War. This book was published in 1931 by Providence Press and was written by Sister Mary Theodosia Mug. This book may be small, but it is filled with excellent information about the service of the sisters at Military Hospital in Indianapolis.
Be sure to visit our Vigo County Indiana Civil War Sesquicentennial Project!