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“Christmas Always”: A Loretto Heritage Center Christmas Treasure

Posted on December 14, 2021, by Reba Weatherford

The holiday season is once again upon us, and the Heritage Center would like to share one of the many treasures in our collection. The Heritage Center houses a large collection of books authored by Loretto Sisters. While many of these titles are professionally published and widely circulated within the Community, a few of the older self-published volumes, such as Sister M. Genoveva Anson’s Christmas novellas, are more difficult to find. We have digitized a copy of one of Sister Genoveva’s Christmas stories, “Christmas Always,” for your reading pleasure. So, grab a seat by the fire (or in front of the Yule Log channel on television) and enjoy.

“Christmas Always”tells the story of the Barrymore family and its four children: Margaret, Markie, Edward, and Dorothy. Each of the Barrymore children receives a small amount of Christmas money from their father, who is away on business. While they decide how to spend the money, they learn important lessons about the joys of giving from their mother who, while poor, is always willing to put the needs of neighbors and friends above her own.

About the author:

A habited nun sits with an open book in this archival photo
Sister Genoveva Anson, c. 1914

Sister Mary Genoveva Anson was born in St. Louis in 1870 to Irish Catholic parents. Little is known about her early life, but autobiographical information in her personnel file does state that before she entered the convent her “father and sister were killed by a jealous man who then shot himself fatally.” She entered the Novitiate at 26 years old and was appointed to the American Southwest for most of her career.  Her first appointment was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she taught until 1901. Later, she was appointed Superior twice at St. Mary’s Academy in Denver and once at Loretto Academy and College in El Paso. In 1932, Sr. Genoveva published her first work, Sketches of the Life of Father Nerinckx. In addition to this historical work and her many Christmas stories, she also wrote the novel Mother Delaney, a story about Catholic faith and training. Even after a stroke rendered her nearly blind in the last several years of her life, she continued writing prose and poetry to occupy her time. She passed away in 1957.

About the illustrator:

A habited nun works on an art project in this archival photo
Sister Mary Norbert Parsoneault, sculpture class, Notre Dame University

Sister Mary Norbert Parsoneault was born in Watertown, NY, in 1891 or ‘92. She attended Loretto Heights Academy in Colorado, where she took lessons in watercolors and was noted for her special talents in fine art. After joining the Order, Sister Mary Norbert was sent for more training and received a M.F.A. from Colorado College. She directed the Art Department at Loretto Heights for many years, where she had her studio. Her murals can be seen in many chapels in the Denver area. Sister Mary Norbert passed unexpectedly in 1959 after a short illness.


Reba Weatherford

Reba Weatherford is the Archivist for the Loretto Heritage Center. She enjoys researching local history, genealogy, and writing about her findings.
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Loretto welcomes you

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