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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kate O'Flaherty Chopin, Sacred Heart Alumna to be Honored in her Hometown - St. Louis, MO

Bust of Kate Chopin by Sculptor  Jaye Gregory 
March 11, 2012 ~  Today in St. Louis, Missouri, the Central West End Association will unveil the bust of Kate Chopin to be on display at the Writers' Corner in the city (the intersection of Euclid and McPherson).  

Catherine (Kate) O'Flaherty was born in St. Louis, Missouri on February 8, 1850.  Her father Thomas had imigrated from Ireland and was killed in a railroad accident when Kate was a young girl leaving her to be raised by her mother, Eliza Farris O'Flaherty of St. Louis and her mother's family who were of French decent. She was very close to her great-grandmother Victoria Verdon Charleville who spoke only french and taught Kate the art of story telling.  Kate's great-grandmother died at age 82 in 1863. Shortly thereafter her half-brother George O'Flaherty died at the age of 23 of typhoid fever. He had been serving in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier. Her grandmother Athenise Charleville Faris died at age 89 in 1893 thus outliving both Kate's mother and husband.  

The many strong woman who influenced young Kate also included the Relgious of the Sacred Heart.  Kate attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis from 1855 - 1868.  She graduated with a blue ribbon and was a Child of Mary.  While a student at the Academy one of her teachers Mother O'Meara encouraged Kate to write.  She wrote a poem The Congé – 1867 which made reference to both Mothers' Hamilton and O'Meara, as well as, one of her best friends Kitty Geresche who later entered the Society of the Sacred Heart.

As a young girl Kate found that writing was a great way to express her feelings and as a young widow she again found writing to be therapeutic.  Her family doctor encouraged Kate to write as a means of therapy and financial support.  

To learn more about Kate Chopin, click here  - Kate Chopin International Society.
Catherine O'Flaherty Chopin
1850 -1904

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