Lillian Blanchfield

In May 1889, Lillian age 8, her older sister Bessie, her older brother Reginald, and her younger brother James were all ‘rescued’ from the Shaw Street Workhouse in Liverpool, England by the Catholic Children’s Protection Society of Liverpool. They left their older sister Mary behind when they left Liverpool on May 31, 1889 in the company of Mrs. Lacy and 60 other home children, aboard the steamship Parisian. The children arrived in Quebec City on June 10th and Mrs. Lacy delivered the children to the House of Providence in Kingston the next day on June 11th, 1889.  

On September 12th, 1889 the Blanchfields’ older sister Mary left Liverpool, also aboard the Parisian, in the company of Mrs. Lacy and another group of Home Children headed to Kingston. Mary arrived at the House of Providence on September 23, 1889. She probably wouldn’t have seen Lillian or Reginald as they were already placed with guardians; however, she may have been briefly reunited with James and Bessie who were probably residing at the House of Providence in the fall of 1889. Reginald was placed with Peter Millen in Edwardsburgh Township, near Prescott on June 29, 1889. James was originally placed with James Kenny on Wolfe Island but was returned to the House of Providence and placed with Dennis Harrington in Fermoy, Bedford Township, near Westport. Bessie was originally placed with Thomas Greenwood on Wolfe Island on June 28th, 1889, however she was returned to the House of Providence and placed with Mrs. C.P. Baby in Windsor in the fall of 1889. Mary was placed with a Mrs. O’Shea in Windsor, but was returned to the House of Providence and placed with a new guardian, D. Dumouchel also in Windsor.

Lillian stayed at the House of Providence for 17 days before leaving her siblings behind when she left with her new guardian, Mr. J. Black, a butcher in the town of Hastings on June 28th, 1889. Unlike the experience of many home children Lillian was adopted into her new family and given the name Veronica Black. She remained close with her adoptive family until her death.

On January 3, 1898 Lillian returned to the House of Providence and entered the Sisters of Providence as a tertiary. Her name as a tertiary was Sr. Nora. Tertiaries were auxiliaries of the congregation from 1895 to 1907 who performed domestic labour. Sr. Nora served at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital Brockville from 1899 to November 1907. In 1907 the tertiary program was slowly phased out and the tertiary sisters were given the option of enter the novitiate to become professed members of the congregation. On November 21, 1907 Sr. Nora was one of the first eight tertiaries to enter the Novitiate. She took her first vows as Sr. Mary Angelica of the Sisters of Providence on April 24, 1909. She spent the next 20 years serving in Kingston Trenton, Belleville and Tweed.

Happily, Lillian reconnected with her siblings later in life. On July 3, 1907 Mary Blanchfield and Mrs. Elizabeth Boismier from Detroit visited Lillian, then Sr. Nora, at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital Brockville. It was noted in the mission’s annals that “Sr. Nora has not seen them in nineteen years.” Bessie Blanchfield married Daniel Boismier in Windsor on April 12th, 1899. In Lilian’s obituary it is noted that “Of her family, two brothers and two sisters remain, all of whom visited her, James of Pittsburg, PA, Joseph, Mary and Mrs. Daniel Boismier, Detroit.” Joseph is probably referring to Reginald.

Lillian Blanchfield spent 28 years as a member of the Sisters of Providence, 8 as a tertiary and 20 as a sister. She became ill in June 1925 and “manifested much patience in her sufferings” for the next two years before dying on June 4, 1927. Rev. H. Black and his brother Leo Black, part of her adoptive family, attended Lillian’s funeral. 


For more information on Lillian Blanchfield’s life as a Sister of Providence read her obituary.