Nathaniel Hawthorne's Puritan ancestors settled in New England with the hope of cleansing the Anglican Church of any Roman Catholic taint. They would have been appalled to hear that one of their own had converted to Catholicism, let alone become a candidate for sainthood.
And yet in February, Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York began canonization proceedings for Hawthorne's daughter, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop. She became a Catholic in 1891, and-with the assistance of Alice Huber, an art student-began caring for terminal cancer patients in a three-room tenement flat on Mott Street, on New York's Lower East Side. Two years after her husband's death in 1898, Lathrop took religious orders, and, as Mother Alphonsa, cofounded the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne. Today, the order runs six hospices in five states.