Mother Angela Crowley
Mother Angela Crowley, fifth superior of the Dubuque Presentation sisters, was the first postulant to enter the new Presentation community in Key West, Iowa. Her second claim to fame is that she was the young girl who directed Bishop Hennessy to the Mooncoin Convent on the eventful day when he first met Mother Vincent Hennessy. That was the time when the seed of the Iowa foundation was planted in the hearts of the Irish Presentation sisters. As Sister Angela personally asserted, in her teasing manner, credit for the beginning of the Dubuque foundation obviously belonged to her.
One morning, the sisters, returning to the convent from Mass, found a girl on the front steps awaiting their arrival. She had come to join the young community. Educated by the Presentation sisters in Mooncoin, Ireland, “Kitty” Crowley had a heart for the poor, as well as a kind and friendly manner. As the first postulant, “the postulant on the porch,” she had the opportunity to receive her initial formation from Mother Vincent and share the first four and a half years of her life in Dubuque with the four founding mothers.
Mother Angela’s time of leadership occurred in the early years of the 20th century, another period marked by survival concerns, both financial and physical. Crowded conditions created health problems for the increasing number of sisters. A consequent hardship for Mother Angela was the death of eight young sisters during her five years in office. The unremitting culprit responsible for these early deaths was tuberculosis.
Elected to a second term of office, Mother Angela hoped to build another, much needed, home for the growing community, but her own sudden death prevented the realization of her dream for a new motherhouse. The archbishop advised her assistant and successor, Mother Presentation Griffin, to purchase the Wilde property on which a new motherhouse (1229 Mt. Loretta) would subsequently be built. Mother Angela was the second congregational leader to die in office, approximately 25 years after Mother Vincent.
Much-loved, Mother Angela’s personal qualities endeared her to others. She gifted the community with her radiant love, matching the “caritas” motto proclaimed by the community for many years. Today’s charism of hospitality, “lived love,” finds its roots in caritas.