An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Cannon, Harriett Starr

(May 7, 1823-Apr. 5, 1896). One of the first American nuns in the Anglican tradition. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina. When her parents died, she was raised by an aunt in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The order of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion had been founded by Anne Ayres and William Augustus Muhlenberg at the Church of the Holy Communion, New York City, in 1852. On Feb. 6, 1856, Cannon was received by Muhlenberg as a candidate for the sisterhood in the Oratory of the Sisters' house. On the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, Feb. 2, 1857, Cannon was admitted into full membership in the sisterhood. Several of the sisters, led by Sister Harriett, wanted a more traditional monastic order. In 1863 they left the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion and St. Luke's Hospital, where they worked. On Feb. 2, 1865, Sister Harriett and several other women were received into the Sisterhood of St. Mary, now called the Community of St. Mary. Their service of religious profession was presided over by Bishop Horatio Potter of New York at St. Michael's Church, Manhattan. Sister Harriett was elected mother superior in Sept. 1865. She served in that position until her death. On Feb. 2, 1867, she made her formal life vows. She died in Peekskill, New York.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.