Lalor, Mother Teresa (Alice) (c.1769–1846), foundress of the Visitation nuns in the USA, was born in Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny. While visiting Philadelphia in 1797, she and two widows, Mrs McDermott and Mrs Sharpe co-operated with Rev. Leonard Neale SJ, the coadjutor of Baltimore's bishop, John Carroll (qv), to form a religious congregation. When Neale was appointed president of Georgetown University in 1799, they followed him to Washington, DC. The three women lived together in a small house provided by Neale under a quasi-Jesuit rule, and Lalor became the superior, taking the name Mother Teresa. Known locally as ‘the pious ladies’, they began a school for the poor children in the neighbourhood that same year. Eventually, they obtained a copy of the Constitutions of the Visitation Order and began to follow that rule. When Neale was appointed archbishop of Baltimore in 1815, he wrote to Pope Pius VII to request that the nuns’ house become a convent of the Visitation, and that they be allowed to take solemn vows and run a free school for girls. They received the pope's permission on 10 November 1816. Lalor took her vows 28 December 1816. The school in Baltimore subsequently gained a national reputation. In 1829 three nuns came from France, where the order had been originally founded in 1610, to aid in the instruction and expansion of the American foundation. New foundations were made in Mobile, Alabama (1832), and Baltimore (1837), and subsequently the order spread to include thirteen branches nationwide. Lalor remained as superior of the order for almost twenty years, retiring in 1819. She died 9 September 1846 in Washington, DC.
New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), viii, 336; ibid., xiv, 719–21; Michael Glazier and Thomas J. Shelley (ed.), Encyclopedia of American catholic history (1997)