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Mother Mary Matthew Doyle Papers

Biographical note

Mother Mary Matthew Doyle (born Catherine Margaret Doyle) was born on May 8, 1870 in Providence, Rhode Island. She entered St. Francis Xavier Convent in 1890 and was professed in 1892. Her early years in education were spent at St. Mary's Bay View, until she was asked to return to St. Xavier's Convent as Mother Assistant in 1910. Just six years later she was named Mother Superior (Reverend Mother). When the Sisters of Mercy in Rhode Island formed the Province of Providence, she was elected as the first Mother Provincial, a post she held from 1929 to 1936, and later from 1942-1948, with intervals as Assistant Provincial in between. Under her guidance, in 1932 the Sisters of Mercy adopted Belize as its foreign mission, and she made several visits to that country.

Mother Mary Matthew took a great interest in the education of her Sisters and for her efforts was herself rewarded with an honorary M.A. degree from Providence College in 1926 and an Ed.D. from the Catholic Teachers College in 1932.

While Mother Provincial for the Sisters of Mercy in Providence, she became one of Salve Regina's first incorporators and was elected First Vice-President and First Vice-Chairman of the Members-of-the-Corporation. She was also named to the Board of Directors of Salve Regina. When Salve Regina College was opened in 1947, Mother Mary Matthew became its first President. Concerned with the college's financial needs, she and Vice President Sister Mary Hilda Miley formed the first Advisory Board in 1948. Following the school's first year, Mother Mary Matthew stepped down as President and was succeeded by Sister Mary Hilda Miley. She became ill in 1950 but lived until 1960, when she died at Mount St. Rita Convent on June 7.