Hawthorne family to be “reunited” in death

Hawthorne family to be “reunited” in death

The story of the great American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne should be familiar to anyone living in Salem, Mass., like Melanie and I. The author of “The House of the Seven Gables” and “The Scarlet Letter” was born in a house that used to be situated right behind where Immaculate Conception Church sits today (the church itself came later) and the actual seven-gabled house on which the book is based is now a Hawthorne museum.

In any case, Hawthorne himself is buried in Concord, Massachusetts, but his wife and one of his children are buried in England where they moved after his death. Now a religious order wants to bring them together again. Specifically the Dominican congregation founded by Hawthorne’s daughter Rose, which has been paying for upkeep of the graves.

Hawthorne’s daughter, Rose, returned to the United States and started a Catholic order dedicated to caring for cancer patients that became the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne, based in Hawthorne, N.Y. For decades, the order has paid to maintain the Hawthorne graves in England. When cemetery keepers told the nuns the grave site needed major repair, the order proposed bringing them to the United States to Hawthorne’s descendants.

“We gave our consent gladly and thought it was an excellent idea,” said Joan Deming Ensor, 93, of Redding, Conn., one of Hawthorne’s four surviving great-grandchildren.

Incidentally, the cause for Rose’s canonization has been opened and she may one day be raised to the altars.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli