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John Cardinal O’Connor with his family

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]

[Read feature article in Catholic New York: Cardinal O'Connor's Mother Was a Convert from Judaism, Family Research Reveals]

[Read Mary O'Connor Ward's Article in Catholic New York]

[A brief summary & timeline of the life of John Cardinal O'Connor]