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Bobbie's Story
(Begun on the Willing Hearts app)

Toward the end of the Civil War, Mother M. Augusta (Anderson), CSC, was caring for a multitude of patients struck down with contagious diseases such as typhoid, measles, cholera and the like.  At this time many parents made arduous journeys to try and help out the hospital convalescence of their family's soldiers.  Unfortunately, many of the parents who went to help  also caught these contagious diseases.  So, along with the soldiers, Mother Augusta and her Sisters began caring for the fathers and mothers and many times the children the parents brought along with them.  Bobbie (last name unknown) is one of the many children that she cared for once both parents had died.  Unlike the many babies that were left orphaned, Mother Augusta could not find a relative to take him in.  Instead she adopted the young boy who was about seven years old.  The tender story of his life is a beautiful testimony of Mother Augusta's love for vulnerable children.

“At one time they found in the pesthouse a dying woman with a beautiful four-year-old boy named Bobbie. She had come there to take care of her husband. He had died and she was now grieving over what would become of her child. Mother [Augusta] promised to take care of him. After the woman died, Mother told the little chap that he was going home with her and that he must do just what she told him and must keep very quiet. She then put him under her Habit skirt and walked boldly out with him. If the doctors saw the outline of his body under her skirt, they gallantly looked the other way.
  When Mother was called home from Cairo to be General Stewardess she brought Bobbie with her, and he went to Notre Dame to school. She gave him some sheep and calves and chickens to raise and then purchased them from him, so that he could buy his own shoes and clothes and books and start a bank account in a little toy bank.
  After two years, he was prepared for his First Holy Communion. He liked to help to gather up the clothes bags on Sunday and ride on the wagon down the west road to the old washhouse on the riverbank below the presbytery. One Sunday the bag on which he was sitting slipped and threw him in front of the wheels, which passed over his body. Father Vagnier, the chaplain, saw this from the porch, jumped over the railing, ran to take up the child and carry him to the house. The little fellow cried for Mother M. Augusta and Sister M. Bertha.
  When Mother reached him, she asked the priest to bring him his First Holy Communion. The little boy received his Lord and was anointed. He lived for two hours, remaining conscious all the time. He gave his chickens to one Sister, to another his sheep, to Sister Bertha his calves, and, reaching his little hand to Mother, he said, ‘You may have my bank.’ He was buried in the shady east corner of the Sisters’ cemetery.
  Some years later it was necessary to move Bobbie’s remains to one of the South Bend cemeteries. When the small grave was opened, Mother went down the ladder herself, gathered up the little bones, arranged them in a box, and carried the box to Cedar Grove Cemetery, South Bend, where it now rests in a lot owned by the community.”

From: On the King’s Highway, pp. 245-246

Willing Hearts
Sisters of the Holy Cross
Civil War Nurses
1861-1865
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