Ursuline Convent Riots
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Time Period
8/11/1834
Description
Anti-Catholic fervor in New England continued to build in the 19th century, particularly among working-class Protestants angry over Irish immigration. It was against this backdrop that the Ursuline Order of Roman Catholic nuns opened a convent and boarding school in 1819 near Bunker Hill in Charlestown, Mass.

As years went by, the convent became a focal point for this hostility, fueled by rumors of nuns being held against their will and accounts of unusual practices.

On the night of Aug. 11, 1834, an unruly mob rioted against the convent, setting it on fire as nuns and students escaped out the back. Historians regard the evening of riots as the first act of the Know Nothings, a nationalistic, anti-Catholic political party

Only one person was convicted for the carnage and the nuns eventually left the area. The Catholic Church was never compensated for the loss.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Catholic Religious Events and People in American History
Religious Groups
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other Timeline Event Entries
Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other Timeline Biography Entries

Catholicism (Western Liturgical Family): Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Destruction of the Ursuline Convent by fire- Hathi Trust

Ursuline Convent on Mount Benedict- Hathi Trust

Ruins of the Ursuline Convent- Internet Archive
Web Source(s)
https://www.ewtn.com/library/HUMANITY/BURNING.TXT
"The Nunnery As Menace: The Burning of the Charlestown Convent, 1834," by Jeanne Hamilton (Order of St. Ursula)
http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/know-nothing-party-takes-root-in-ashes-of-destroyed-charlestown-convent/
New England Historical Society, "Anti-Irish Know-Nothing Mob Burns a Charlestown Convent in 1834"

Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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