|Sister Vincent Cottier, one of ten |
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
who died during the 1900 Storm.
(courtesy Sisters of Charity
of the Incarnate Word, Houston)
Over the following weeks, rescuers pulled more than 6,000 bodies from the rubble, piled the remains on the beach, and burned them to prevent an outbreak of disease. Among the departed, discovered amid the wreckage of St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum, were the bodies of ninety children ages 2 to 13 and all ten Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. In a valiant, yet ultimately futile, attempt to save the children from floodwaters that rose to twenty feet above sea level, each sister bound six to eight orphans to her waist with a length of clothesline. The lines tangled in debris as the water destroyed the only home some of the children had ever known.
All that survived of the orphanage were the three oldest boys and an old French seafaring hymn: “Queen of the Waves.” To this day, every Sept. 8, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word worldwide sing the hymn in honor of the sisters and orphans who died in what remains the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike U.S. soil.
|Two postulants from the Congregation of the Incarnate Word |
in San Antonio, Texas, ca. 1890. (courtesy University of
Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures)
|Sister Cleophas Hurst, first administrator
of St. Anthony’s Sanitarium in Amarillo,
Texas, 1901. (courtesy Sisters of Charity
of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio)
As a Galvestonian, the history of the island city and its diverse people fascinates me. I continue to hope for inspiration that will grow into a story set here, where the past overflows with tales of adventure dating back well before the pirate Jean Lafitte built the fortified mansion Maison Rouge on Galveston in 1815. In the meantime, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word provided the inspiration for the heroine in a short story that appears in Prairie Rose Publications’ new western historical anthology, Hearts and Spurs. The collection of short stories by Linda Broday, Livia J. Washburn, Cheryl Pierson, Sarah J. McNeal, Tanya Hanson, Jacquie Rogers, Tracy Garrett, Phyliss Miranda, and me, is set to debut within days in both e-book and print.
A washed-up Texas Ranger. A failed nun with a violent past. A love that will redeem them both.
His partner’s grisly death destroyed Texas Ranger Quinn Barclay. Cashiered for drunkenness and refusal to follow orders, he sets out to fulfill his partner’s dying request, armed only with a saloon girl’s name.
Sister María Tomás thought she wanted to become a nun, but five years as a postulant have convinced her childhood dreams aren’t always meant to be. At last ready to relinquish the temporary vows she never should have made, she begs the only man she trusts to collect her from a mission in the middle of nowhere.
When the ex-Ranger’s quest collides with the ex-nun’s plea in a burned-out border town, unexpected love blooms among shared memories of the dead man who was a brother to them both.
Too bad he was also the only man who could have warned them about the carnage to come.