Genevieve Garvan Brady

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Genevieve Garvan Brady
Duchess of the Holy Roman Church
BornApril 11, 1880
Hartford, Hartford County
Connecticut, United States
DiedNovember 24, 1938
Rome, Italy
BuriedNovitiate of St. Isaac Jogues
Wernersville, Pennsylvania
United States
Spouse(s)Nicholas Frederic Brady (1906–1930; his death)
William Babington Macaulay (1937–1938; her death)
FatherPatrick Garvan
MotherMary Carroll

Genevieve Brady, Duchess of the Holy Roman Church (later Macaulay, née Garvan; April 11, 1880 – November 24, 1938) was an American philanthropist and patron of Catholic charities. She served as the Vice President of the Welfare Council of New York, as Vice Chairman of the National Women's Committee on Welfare and Relief Mobilization, and as Board Chairman of the Girl Scouts of the USA. In 1926 she was ennobled by Pope Pius XI, becoming a papal duchess in her own right. In 1934 she became the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Georgetown University.


Genevieve Garvan was born on April 11, 1880, in Hartford, Connecticut, to Patrick Garvan and Mary Carroll.[1][unreliable source?] Her brother was Francis Patrick Garvan. A sister joined the Sisters of Mercy in Hartford, Connecticut.[2] She was raised in the Catholic faith. She attended the Sacred Heart Convent in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated from the College of the Sacred Heart in Westchester County, New York, before pursuing further studies in Dresden and Paris.[3]

Garvan married Nicholas Frederic Brady on August 11, 1906.[4][5] Her husband, who was raised Episcopalian, converted to Catholicism before their wedding.[6]

During World War I she purchased the Old Colony Club in New York City and lent it to the United States government as a mobilization center for nurses training for service in Europe. After the war she was decorated by the French government for her financial aid to refugees and she was awarded the Order of the Crown by Albert I of Belgium.[6][7]

In the 1920s Garvan and her husband spent winters at the palace Casa del Sole in Rome to work within Vatican affairs. Her husband, who was later given the title of papal duke, was the first American to be inducted into the Supreme Order of Christ, the highest chivalric order awarded by the Pope.[8] She was made a papal duchess in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.[9][10] She was also made a Dame of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Dame of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Under First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt she served as vice chairman of the National Women's Committee on Welfare and Relief Mobilization.[7]

She was the founder of the Carroll Club, a society for Catholic businesswomen, and the board chairman for the Girl Scouts of the USA. In 1936, a property she donated to the Girl Scouts was named Camp Genevieve Brady in her honor.[11] She served as vice president of the Welfare Council of New York. In 1934 she received the University of Notre Dame's Laetare Medal as the most notable lay Catholic in America.[7] In 1934 she received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Georgetown University president W. Coleman Nevils, the first woman awarded an honorary degree at the university.[6][12][13]

She and her husband lived at 910 Fifth Avenue in New York City and at Inisfada, their Tudor Revival estate in Manhasset, New York. They entertained and hosted various high-ranking Catholic officials, including Francis Spellman and the future Pope Pius XII.[14] In 1937, she gifted the estate, including 250 acres of land and an 87-room mansion, to the New York Province of the Society of Jesus,[3] which used it as a seminary before converting it into the St. Ignatius Jesuit Retreat House in 1963.[15] Its chapel was dedicated to St. Genevieve.[16]

Her husband died in 1930, leaving her his entire estate valued at $12 million.[3] She in turn donated 95 works of art that same year to the newly established Jesuit novitiate in Wernersville, Pennsylvania, one of which was later identified as the work of Tintoretto.[17] On March 6, 1937, Brady married William Babington Macaulay, the Irish Free State minister to the Vatican, in a private ceremony witnessed only by clergy and held without notice because Macaulay's presence was required in Rome.[18]

She died in Rome on November 24, 1938, after a brief illness.[9][3] She was buried next to her first husband in a crypt below the main altar at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. A plaque at the Church of St. Patrick in Rome commemorates her financial contributions to the Catholic Church.[citation needed] Her estate was valued at almost $6 million, much of it bequeathed to the Carroll Club and other charities.[2][19]


  1. ^ "Genevieve Garvan Brady (1880-1938) - Find A Grave..."
  2. ^ a b "Macaulay Estate Shared by Charity" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mrs. Wm. Macaulay Succumbs in Italy" (PDF). New York Times. November 25, 1938. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  4. ^ "Brady-Garvan Wedding To-day" (PDF). New York Times. August 11, 1906. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Science: The Garvans". January 28, 1929 – via
  6. ^ a b c "Nursery history" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b c "Genevieve Garvan Brady 1934". The Laetare Medal. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  8. ^ "N.F. Brady Dies at 51 after Long Illness" (PDF). New York Times. March 28, 1930. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Brady Estate Goes to Jesuits". Life. Time Inc. May 24, 1937. p. 61. Retrieved September 13, 2018 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Marlin, George J.; Miner, Brad (February 15, 2017). "Sons of Saint Patrick: A History of the Archbishops of New York, from Dagger John to Timmytown". Ignatius Press. p. 214 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ "Camp Genevieve Brady to Open" (PDF). New York Times. July 12, 1936. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "Mrs. Nicholas F. Brady receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws from Georgetown University President W. Coleman Nevils, S.J."
  13. ^ "Who was the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Georgetown? - Georgetown University Library".
  14. ^ "Pope Pius XII: He is the first pontiff to have visited the U.S." Life. Time Inc. March 13, 1939. Retrieved September 13, 2018 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ "Farewell Inisfada". The Catholic Thing. December 11, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  16. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (July 31, 2013). "Preservationists Try to Bar Demolition of 87-Room Mansion on Long Island". New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  17. ^ Shulman, Ken (July 23, 2000). "A Tintoretto Reappears in Rural Pennsylvania". New York Times. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  18. ^ "Mrs. Brady Married at Private Service" (PDF). New York Times. March 7, 1937. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "Macaulay Estate Files Accounting" (PDF). New York Times. September 30, 1939. Retrieved September 13, 2018.