Pope Francis nannied by Cavan nun

Story by Seamus Enright

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019 7:24pm

Pope Francis nannied by Cavan nun

Sr. Oliva Maria (Susan Cusack).

Thousands travelled from Co Cavan to see Pope Francis during his visit to the World Meeting of Families in Ireland last August, but few will be aware of the very local connection with the Holy See.
Now more detail has emerged on the work done by a young Cavan missionary nun who helped nurse Pope Francis as a newborn back in his native Argentina, not knowing that one day the infant was set to become head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.
It follows extensive research carried out by historian and published author Matt Moran, a Mayo native now living in Cork, who has a deep interest in highlighting the incredible legacy of Irish missionaries abroad.
Sr Oliva Maria was born Susan Cusack on January 1, 1889, to Philip and Ellen Cusack (nee Donohue) in the parish of Crosserlough near Kilnaleck.
One of four girls – Mary, Ellen and Kate - and two boys – Thomas and Phil - she was baptised in Crosserlough’s St Mary’s Church and attended St Mary’s National School.
Aged 20 years, Susan travelled to Paris, where she followed her vocation by joining the Little Sisters of the Assumption at Grenelle on October 30, 1909.
Susan was professed on May 23, 1912, and served in Reims and Saint Etienne until 1923, when she was assigned to South America, ministering first in Argentina.
In 1933, Sr Oliva moved to Flores, an impoverished yet burgeoning suburb in the Province of Buenos Aries. It was here she first encountered an Italian immigrant family, the Bergoglios.
* For the full and fascinating story, check out tomorrow's issue of The Anglo-Celt

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