Why are they called the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station?

Train station, Convent Station NJ

Front of campus and train station, 1880s (Courtesy Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, NJ)

Based on the research of Sister Hildegarde Marie Mahoney, former General Superior of the Sisters of Charity, Convent Station

On July 2, 1860 the Motherhouse of the New Jersey Sisters of Charity was transferred from Newark, NJ, to what would be called in future years “Convent Station.” Mother M. Xavier Mehegan, founder and Mother General, purchased 63 acres of land and a wooden structure that still stands near the northern entrance to the campus from James Roosevelt Bayley, nephew of Mother Seton and first Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Newark. The land purchased by the Sisters included a narrow strip which extended over the hill to the tracks of the Morris and Essex Railroad, a branch of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.

Because the nearest train station was nearly three miles distant in Madison, Mother M. Xavier petitioned the railroad company to make a stop at convent grounds and in 1867 she had received a favorable response. This was an advantage to the students of the Academy of Saint Elizabeth (founded in 1860), as well as to the Sisters. In return the Sisters built a simple little station on the north side of the tracks and for many years paid the salary of the stationmaster.

In 1870 Mother M. Xavier wrote to the Honorable T. F. Randolph, Governor of New Jersey and former President of the Board of the railroad. She asked that he further her request that more trains stop at “Convent Station,” including the Oswego Express and the Binghamton Mail trains, and that freight be delivered at “our own depot.” The request concerning the Oswego and Binghamton trains was related to the fact that students at the Academy came from upstate New York, as well as from towns and cities along the Lackawanna route.

The railroad in 1876 erected a new station, which it named “Convent,” on the present site, some distance to the southwest of the original depot. Thus, while there is no such municipality, the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth are often known as the Charities from Convent Station.

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4 Comments

Filed under Sisters of Charity Federation, Sisters of Charity of Convent Station

4 responses to “Why are they called the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station?

  1. Sister Rita Bozel

    That is a very interesting story. Mother Superior certainly had a lot of forsight and much initiative.

    Like

  2. There used to be a train stop in front of St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg, too.

    Like

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