The Annunication Window
The Annunication stained glass window is inscribed, “Donated by Mrs. Mary O’Connor In Memory of James O’Connor”. James O’Connor was born 1827 in County Meath, Ireland and was the nephew of Michael Meehan, who is credited for being the first caucasian settler of the area. James crossed the Atlantic and came to America in 1842 where he made his home here in Lake Forest. Attracted by the prospect of gold, he went to California in 1849 and spent 9 years mining. He returned by way of the ocean route to Illinois in 1858 having accumulted some money.
In the fall of 1858, James O’Connor married Mary Kennedy O’Connor and they had seven children born between 1860 and 1870: Michael, James, Joseph, John, Margaret, Richard and Lawrence. In 1859 he purchased 225 acres of farm land from Michael Meehan and continued cultivating the land until his death. James O’Connor passed away May 18th, 1871 at the age of 44, leaving his wife and 5 young children behind between the ages of 6 months to 11 years old. Two children died before their father passed away (Joseph O’Connor died at the age of 2 years old in 1866 and Michael O’Connor died at the age of 10 in 1870). It was said that James O’Connor was a “worthy citizen of the community, was faithful to every duty, and at his death he left many friends who sincerely mourned the loss of their friend”.
After James death, money was scarce and hard to get. Mary’s first good money making scheme was in a cheese factory company she owned stock in. Before the cheese factory was started, Mary, along with her son James, would make a daily trip in and out of Chicago to sell butter. Returns were not good but enough to make it worth while.
Fourty-six years after her husband’s death, Mary passed away on October 6, 1917. It was said at the time “She was a model woman, a home maker and a home builder. Her entire aim at life was to do good every way possible. She was an ardent church worker.” She was survived by 5 children; James, John, Margaret, Richard, ,and Lawrence.
Both James and Mary, along with all of their children, are interred in Saint Patrick Cemetery. Mary’s father, John Kennedy was born in 1819 in Dublin, Ireland and passed on June 10, 1864. She is the sister of Edward J. Kennedy who donated the Good Shepard and St. Patrick windows in our church.