|Birth: ||Mar. 31, 1924|
Silver Bow County
|Death: ||Aug. 8, 2006|
Los Angeles County
Sister Mary Georgina Gleason was given the name Delores Louise Gleason when she was born to Annie Louise Grogan and Joseph Donald Gleason, both natives of Montana. She weighed only 2-1/2 pounds at birth and was not expected to survive, so her mother asked a nurse to baptize her, and a priest then baptized her again in the afternoon. But Delores fought hard to live and her extraordinary survival was reported in the newspaper. The tiny baby was kept warm nestled in a shoebox with part of the top cut out, and her brother George, who was four years old, was given the responsiblity to make sure that she was comfortable. Thus her life began.
Joe Gleason worked in the gold, copper and silver mines of Utah, Arizona, California and Nevada. The family moved from one mining camp to another with only what they could carry, and lived wherever they could find a tent or a house. They had no running water and had to walk many miles to haul it home. Brush had to be gathered to fuel the fire in the wood stove. Annie Gleason would take a shotgun into the desert hoping to bring home a rabbit for supper, but often shot only rattlesnakes, and then the family had hominy for supper.
Delores had attended a series of grade schools in Kingman, Jerome, and Oatman, Arizona, but when she was sent to sign up at the public high school in Prescott, Arizona, she instead walked up to the Catholic St. Joseph's Academy and told the sister who answered the door, "Sister, I am a baptized Catholic, I don't know anything about my religion, I want to go to school here but we don't have any money." The sisters told her that it was no problem, her family could pay whenever they had the money.
When Delores was questioned by her family later that evening, she admitted what she had done, causing her parents mild consternation. The next morning her mother handed her a piece of paper and told her to memorize it on her way to school. "This is something you will need to know," said her mother. On the paper were the words to the Hail Mary.
Although her parents moved several times while Delores was a student at the Academy, Delores became a boarder and managed to graduate, at which time her family was living in Boulder City, Nevada. After high school graduation, Delores attended Mount Saint Mary's College in Los Angeles and entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet on September 15, 1945. She received the habit and the name Sister Mary Georgina and made her first profession on March 20, 1948, and final profession on August 15, 1951.
After five years in the Community, Sister Georgina was called to the Provincial's office to hear the good news that her parents had paid the final tuition bill for both the Academy and Mount Saint Mary's College, and had sent an extra two hundred dollars because the schools had had to wait so long for payment.
Sister Georgina spent from 1948 to 1998 teaching first grade in the Catholic elementary schools of California, Arizona and Washington. It has been estimated that she taught 4500 children how to read. She also had a wonderful gift for sewing and crafts, and she and her sewing machine were seldom parted. She created banners and hangings with exquisite care, and a quilt that she created was hung in the Carondelet Center's main dining room. At the pastor's request, Sister Georgina designed and managed the creation of a latch hook tapestry for St. Andrew's Parish, her mother's parish in Boulder City. When finished, many parishioners had assisted the latch hooking of the 26' by 6-1/2' tapestry, but Sister Georgina was the mastermind.
From eating "hobo stew" at a campfire with real hoboes to become a CSJ, Sister Georgina experienced a most adventuresome and colorful life. Her last mission was St. Ferdinand's in San Fernando in 1998. Two years later she came to Holy Family Community, but as she slowed down she continued to sew and tell tales of life in the mining camps. Sister Georgina who had survived life as a child in places named Chloride, Goldroads, and Red Dog Gulch, who had created masterpieces of needlework, and who had give the gift of reading to so many children, now rests in peace.
**Excerpted and modified from Sister Georgina's life story which she narrated to sister-in-law Virginia Lee Gleason in September 1999.**
Joseph G Gleason (1898 - 1963)
Anne L Gleason (1902 - 1993)
George D Gleason (1920 - 1999)*
Mary Georgina Gleason (1924 - 2006)
Holy Cross Cemetery
Los Angeles County
Plot: St. Patrick's Section
Created by: A. Gleason
Record added: Oct 11, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 118519240
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