Mother Catherine Spalding spent 45 years leading and building the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Louisville and central Kentucky. Born in Maryland in 1793, her family moved to the Bardstown, Kentucky area when she was very young. She became an orphan at an early age, and lived with relatives until joining the fledgling order in 1813. She was elected the first Mother Superior that year, when she was 19 years old. She died in 1858, after her order had grown significantly, and was responsible for dozens of schools, orphanages, infirmaries, and homes for the homeless and destitute. In the 21st century she was named one of the 16 most influential persons in the history of Louisville and Jefferson County — the only woman on the list — and a statue of her was unveiled in 2015. It stands outside the Cathedral of the Assumption, and it is the only statue of a woman erected in a public place in Kentucky.
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