Cardinal O’Connor’s Mother
By Mary O’Connor Ward
Mary O’Connor Ward is the sister of the late John Cardinal O’Connor, who served as New York’s eighth Archbishop from 1984-2000 and was the founder of the Sisters of Life. Mary lives outside of Philadelphia and recently celebrated her 87th birthday.
It was a surprise I never expected: my mother, the mother of a former Cardinal Archbishop of New York, was born Jewish. My heart swelled as I read the words written over a hundred years ago by a simple parish priest on the pages of a worn church record book. The lines of script documenting my parents marriage union read, “Dorothy Gumple (my mother) was converted from Judaism and baptized in April 1908.” I was stunned, breathless at the thought, and soon filled with joy as I came to know our family story in a completely new way. Our dear mother was Jewish…[more]