Woman of the Century/Eleanor Cecilia Donnelly

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DONNELLY, Miss Eleanor Cecilia, poet, born in Philadelphia, Pa., 6th September, 1848. Her father was Dr. Philip Carroll Donnelly. Her mother possessed a fine intellect and great force of character. She died in June, 1887. Besides her poetic talent, Miss Donnelly possesses a fine contralto ELEANOR CECILIA DONNELLY..jpgELEANOR CECILIA DONNELLY. voice, which has been carefully cultivated. She and her sisters, the Misses Eliza and Philipanna Donnelly, who are also gifted with literary ability, have attained high positions as singers in musical circles in Philadelphia, and have always graciously responded to the numerous calls made upon them to give their services at entertainments in aid of charitable enterprises. Her brother is the well-known Hon. Ignatius Donnelly, of Minnesota. Miss Donnelly has been called "The morning star of Catholic song" in our land, for her poetic utterances, which form so valuable a contribution to the Catholic literature of the day, are of a lofty tone and great volume. Her devotional spirit, the exuberance of her poetic fancy, her ease of expression and her versatility have been acknowledged. Her lyrics have not only commemorated the joys of first communions, religious professions and ordinations, but have added a charm to numerous festivals of congratulation and welcome. When the Centennial of the Adoption of the Constitution was celebrated in Philadelphia, in 1887, an ode from her pen was read before the American Catholic Historical Society of that city. The first of Miss Donnelly's publications was a hymn to the Blessed Virgin, written at the age of nine. It appeared in a child's paper. Though best known as a writer of poems, she has, besides producing many tales for secular magazines, made a number of meritorious contributions to Catholic fiction. In the spring of 1885 the Augustinian Fathers showed their appreciation of Miss Donnelly's gifts by procuring for her from Rome a golden reliquary ornamented with filagree work, which contains relics of the four illustrious members of their order: St. Nicholas Tolentine, St. Thomas of Villa-Nova, St. Clare of Montefalco and the Blessed Rita of Cascia. On 1st February, 1885, Pope Leo XIII manifested his approval of her zeal and his admiration for her powers by sending her notably in recognition of her "Jubilee Hymn, written to commemorate his golden jubilee) his apostolic benediction. He also accepted on that occasion a copy of her work, "The Birthday Bouquet." The "Jubilee Hymn" was translated into Italian and German. It was also set to music composed expressly for the words. The following is a list of Miss Donnelly's published works, in the order in which they appeared: "Out of Sweet Solitude," a collection of poems (Philadelphia, 1874); "Domus Dei," a collection of religious and memorial poems (Philadelphia, 1875); "The Legend of the Best Beloved" (New York, two); "Crowned with Stars, Legends and Lyrics for the Children of Mary, and other Poems" (Notre Dame, Ind., 1881); "Hymns of the Sacred Heart, with Music" (Philadelphia, 1882), "Children of the Golden Sheaf and Other Poems" (Philadelphia, 1884); "The Birthday Bouquet, Culled from the Shrines of the Saints and the Garden of the Poets" (New York, 1884); "Garland of Festival Songs" (New York, 1880; "Little Compliments of the Season, Original, Selected and Translated Verses" (New York, 1886), "A Memoir of Father Felix Joseph Rarbelin, S. J." (Philadelphia, 1886); "The Conversion of St. Augustine, and Other Poems" (Philadelphia, 1887); "Liguori leaflets" (Philadelphia, 1887), and "Poems" (Philadelphia, 1892). Miss Donnelly received an offer of an appointment as auxiliary to the committee on woman's work of the Pennsylvania Board of World's Fair Managers.