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Women in History: March 25th


Today is the feast of the Annunciation and a day traditionally known as Lady Day. It commemorates the incarnation and the event when the angel Gabriel visited the Blessed Virgin Mary to let her know that she will have a son.

1911 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire happened on this day. A total of 146 people died in the fire, the majority of them were Jewish and Italian women. It was the deadliest industrial disaster to take place in New York City.

Died on this day in…

1345 or 1347 – Blanche of Lancaster (d. 1368) was the first wife of John of Gaunt, mother of King Henry IV of England, and grandmother of King Henry V, who conquered France. Her father was Henry Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster and thus she was the wealthiest heiress in the realm. The duchess was known to be a great beauty and it was believed that her marriage to John of Gaunt was a happy one.

1347 – Catherine of Siena (d. 1380) was a tertiary of the Dominican Order, a theologian, and a Scholastic philosopher. She is a Roman Catholic saint who is revered by many. During her life, she worked to have the papacy of Gregory XI moved from France to Rome and was an emissary for peace.

1434 – Eustochia Smeralda Calafato (d. 1485) was a religious woman who belonged to the Order of the Poor Clares. Currently revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, she is the co-patroness of Messina. During her life, she had a great love of poverty and started her own convent at Montevergine.

1491 – Marie d’Albret, Countess of Rethel (d. 1549) was a French noblewoman. Upon the death of her mother, Charlotte, Marie became, suo jure, the sovereign Countess of Rethel. When she as married to Charles of Cleves, Count of Nevers, she was granted the title, Countess of Nevers.

1782 – Caroline Bonaparte (d. 1839) was Queen of Naples and the younger sister of the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte. During her lifetime, she constantly schemed against Joséphine de Beauharnais, her brother Napoleon’s wife. She even found a woman to be her brother’s mistress.

1881 – Mary Webb (d. 1927) was an English romantic novelist and poet of the early 20th century. Her stories were often set in Shropshire and many of the characters from people she actually knew. Her writing was known to include descriptions of nature and a fatalistic view on human psychology.

Died on this day in…

1732 – Lucy Filippini (b. 1672) was a religious woman who is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. She was a co-foundress of the Pious Teachers who oversaw the teaching of girls.

1927 – Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas (b. 1843) was a Palestinian Christian nun and foundress of the Dominican Sisters of the Holy Rosary of Jerusalem. The focus of her life was working amongst the poor of Palestine.

1931 – Ida B. Wells (b. 1862) was an African American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist, and a Civil Rights leader. As a foundress of the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP), Ms. Wells was a skilled rhetorician and travelled on lecture tours internationally. In the 1890’s, she worked on documenting the lynching of African Americans in the American south, something used as a way to punish African Americans who competed with Caucasian Americans.

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