A Tribute to Mother Emily Kemen

In tribute to

Mother Emily Kemen

Born:  July 14, 1824, Prum, Germany

Died:  July 20, 1887, Lockport, New York, U.S.A.

Foundress of the Sisters of St Mary in the Americas




Woman of deep faith

Would-be missionary of the indigenous peoples


Lover of family



Who shall find a valiant woman?

She brings good, not evil, to the community All the days of her life. 

She seeks out tools of her trade, And works with willing hands.

She is like a merchant ship Which brings food from far away.

She rises while it is still night To put into motion the working of the community. 

After some consideration, she buys a field, And with what she has saved up, begins schools.

She is up to the demands of labor, And makes her arms strong to meet the task. 

Her lamp burns late at night.

She takes up a pen, And keeps good accounts. 

She opens her hand to the poor And reaches out her hands to the needy. 

She prepares the community for hard times, And helps her sister be ready.  

She can converse with people in high places And is respected by bishops.  

Strength and dignity are her clothing; She laughs at the time to come.  

She opens her mouth with wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 

She oversees the Sisters well, And does not sit idle. 

Her sisters rise up—even today—and call her Happy; We all say

“Thank You,

For there are many women who have done very well, But you excel them all!” 

The one who fears Our God is worthy of praise. 

–Sr. Patricia Ridgley, SSMN

(with liberal borrowing from Proverbs 31).






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