Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Still Coming to America

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Still Coming to America

Article excerpt

I could only grin at this line in Laura Fletcher's "Real faces of immigration" (pages 18-22): "Prior to [the 1970s], the only major immigrant group that was mostly female was the Irish, who in the 19th century were singular for thinking their women 'powerful' enough to succeed on their own."

Fletchers line brought to mind my maternal grandmother and her sisters, making their way here around 1900 to find jobs in domestic service or nursing. Another of my mother's aunts, on her dad's side, was the first of her siblings to arrive; she set off for the Wild West, for reasons since lost to history. My father's Aunt Minnie followed her brother here in 1892 at 23; as a single woman, she became the indispensable housekeeper for one of Chicago's wealthiest families. She also became particularly close to the family's youngest son, whose own socialite mother, like others of her class, had limited contact with her children. When Minnie died, my dad and his brothers asked this wealthy young man to be a pallbearer at her funeral. He later wrote, "I had lost my mother."

Chicago's new Archbishop Blase Cupich recently spoke of his Croatian grandmother, whose father had told her, "You're no good to me" because she couldn't physically do some of the work on the family farm. Her father packed her off to the United States. The Chicago Tribune reports Cupich saying that while he could hear the pain in her voice even decades later, his grandmother had eventually come to see the good that had come out of the situation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.