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Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (Mother Mary Alphonsa)

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (1851-1926) was the youngest child of Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Rose’s legacy is perhaps the most lasting of the Hawthorne children. She married George Parsons Lathrop in 1871 and had one child, Francis. After Francis died at the age of 5, Rose and George’s marriage fell apart.

Following the end of her marriage, Rose, who had converted to Catholicism, became a nurse and devoted herself to tending impoverished people with cancer.  She eventually became a nun and founded a religious order within the church – The Servants for Relief of Incurable Cancer. Later known as Mother Mary Alphonsa, Rose dedicated the last years of her life to giving comfort to those suffering from terminal illness, having established what was essentially one of the first hospice care centers in New York. Her order of nuns survives today as the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne.

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