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Helen C. (Ella) Early to her brother Edward James Early & sister Margaret Mary C. Early, Missouri 1918
...here were eighteen of us received the habit and of course you
know that Ella is now Sr. Mary James. Helen (Ella) Early. 1918
St. Joseph's Academy
St. Louis, Mo.
May 17, 1918
My own dear Brother & Sis, -
Your letter and the baby's picture were here when I came off retreat, and
to be sure I enjoyed hearing from you, as for that baby I could just hug
him. Is he truly as big as he looks on his picture?
Well I do wish you and Jesse were here to see the reception. The
archbishop gave the sermon as for the priests, I never saw so many in any
church. There were eighteen of us received the habit and of course you
know that Ella is now Sr. Mary James although she also asked for John Ed.
after her father and Brother, but when she got her mothers, sisters,
brothers, uncles, etc. name instead of Sr. Cunazerndo, Nebuchbadanzer or
Polycamp (How is the spelling?) she was quite grateful. As for these 18,
you would not know to look at them which was the happiest but of course
some of them get lonesome for their brothers but there is nothing else in
all this world wanting. Isn't that grand!
Mrs. Ford called up Arlene P. (Ella'a sister-in-law) She told her she
heard from Jim since he was in France, that he was well and that he
thought they would have to drill six mo. more in France. I was glad to
hear that he was saved that long from the firing line. She also said
Will (Ella's brother who was a physician)was getting lonely after his
Mayme (Ella's sister Margaret) wrote and said she was coming here before
she would go to France but she waited to find out when she had to go, and
when word came she only had 24 hrs to leave in, so the last I heard of
her she was in N.Y. I was wishing she would come across you.
Ed, how do you like your work? Was it as good as you expected? I know
we all expected quite a bit, but it is a great blessing just to remain in
America. (Ella's brother Ed was subsequently sent to France during World
War I and his pistol discharged in its holster while he was on horseback,
the bullet penetrated his shin causing him to be returned to the states.)
Remember me to Josephine M. If Jesse saw my sewing I think she would say
I am improving although I might be the only one who thinks so. The yard
is certainly a beautiful place to do it, everything so green, Oh no, not
the person who does the sewing in it.
Well Ed, I must bring this most extraordinarily intelligent epistle [last
three words underlined] to a close, hoping it will find you and your
little family well and happy. Much, much love. (Ella) Str. M.
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John Early Andrews E-
Notes: This is a letter from Helen C. "Ella" Early, born
October 13, 1896 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to her brother Edward James
Early and her sister Margaret Mary C. Early. She was the youngest child
whose mother died either at the time of her birth or shortly thereafter.
She became a nun of the St. Joseph Order at about the time her sister,
Margaret Early left for China as a nurse and later spent several years in
a Japanese prison camp in China. Her grandnephews, Bill and John Andrews,
met her while they were studying at St. Louis University and while she
was at St. Joseph's Convent in Bridgeton, Missouri.
and John visited her as often as possible while they were in
undergraduate school and found her to be a very happy, outgoing and
humerous person. They had her over to their apartment for Chinese food
the night before she died in February of 1970. It was snowy and the roads
were icy on the way home. She became very melancholy and started talking
about her father and childhood. She said that she was always afraid of
men. Her father had placed her in an orphanage as an infant after her
mother died. She said that her father would come to visit her, but that
she was afraid of him as she was of all men.
Sister Mary James went to
bed after Bill and John had returned her to the
convent and was taken by ambulance shortly after midnight to St. Joseph
Hospital in Bridgton.