The deaconesses of Appleton Church Home were given the name of the Order of St. Katharine in 1873, and the order was officially dedicated in a ceremony by Bishop Beckwith in 1882. This order of deaconesses, who administered the residential home for girls, was named in memory of Katharine (Kate) Appleton Geary, daughter of benefactor William Appleton. Kate Geary, who had taken great interest in the success of Appleton, died in 1873 while in Hong Kong doing missionary work.
The Appleton Order was one of the earliest orders of Deaconesses in the Episcopal Church. On Luke's Day, October 18, 1882, Bishop Beckwith performed a ceremony for "setting apart deaconesses for work in the church" in the chapel of Appleton Church Home. Assisted by Reverend J.R. Winchester and Reverend D.W. Winn of Christ Church and Reverend C.J. Wingate of St. Paul's Church, Beckwith followed a service order developed by the Bishop of Alabama. Each of the three ladies - Sister Margaret, Sister Katherine, and Sister Sarah - presented herself and professed her intent as one "who, following the example of devout women, recorded in the Holy Scripture and written of in primitive times, desired to devote herself to the relief of the suffering and destitute, and came forward to ask his benediction and the prayers of the church, that she might have grace to do her duty as becometh so honorable and difficult a work." (The Macon Telegraph, 22 October 1882)
Research has revealed the following women who served in the Order of St. Katharine: Sister Margaret Arrived 1870; Head Deaconess, 1870-1890 Sister Katherine Arrived 1874; Head Deaconess, 1890-1905 Sister Sarah Served 1875-1901 Sister Mary Served 1891-1898 Sister Maggie Served 1897-1898 Sister Louise Arrived 1897; Head Deaconess, 1905-1912 Sister Elenor Arrived 1911; Head Deaconess, 1912-1922 Sister Sophie Arrived 1905; Head Deaconess, 1922-1935 Sister Kate Served 1923-1929
In November 2017, the 110th Annual Council approved the Deaconesses of the The Order of St. Katharine as the first saints of the Diocese of Atlanta.
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