|Mother Angela Gillsepie|
After her husband's death in 1836, Mary Gillespie took her three children to her former home, Lancaster, Ohio. Eliza Maria first attended the school of the Dominican sisters at Somerset, Ohio, and completed her studies at the Visitation Convent at Georgetown in Washington, D.C., in 1844.
In 1853, Eliza felt the call to the religious life and determined to enter the order of the Sisters of Mercy. She went to Notre Dame, Indiana, to bid farewell to her brother who was there engaged in his studies for the priesthood. She received the religious habit in 1853, taking the name of Sister Mary of St. Angela. She was then sent to France, where she made her novitiate at the convent of the Sisters of Bon Secours, at Caen. Sister Angela returned to America and was made superior of St. Mary's Academy.
When the Civil War broke out, Mother Angela organized a corps of the Sisters of the Holy Cross to care for the sick and wounded soldiers. She established hospitals, both temporary and permanent, and, when generals failed to secure needed aid for the sick and wounded, she made trips to Washington on their behalf. Her headquarters were at Cairo, Illinois.