Past Treasure of the Month – May 2018

Fides Senechal’s First Communion Memorabilia
First communion portrait of 13-year-old Fides Senechal Boening taken in May 1904 at J.M. Maurer Studio in Galveston. Her mother-of-pearl rosary is wrapped around her wrist, and she holds a prayer book in her left hand. In her right hand is her first communion candle.First communion portrait of 13-year-old Fides Senechal Boening taken in May 1904 at J.M. Maurer Studio in Galveston.
Her mother-of-pearl rosary is wrapped around her wrist, and she holds a prayer book in her left hand.
In her right hand is her first communion candle.

During the month of May, Rosenberg Library exhibited a beautiful, hand-carved mother-of-pearl rosary, which was presented to Galveston resident Fides Senechal Boening (1891 – 1966) when she received her first communion at Sacred Heart Church on May 1, 1904. Displayed with the rosary was a photographic portrait of Boening wearing her first communion dress with a traditional white veil. These items were a gift of her daughter, Mary Agnes Boening, and are preserved in the Rosenberg Library Special Collections.

Fides Senechal was born in Galveston May 21, 1891. Her parents, Louis and Rosa Senechal, owned a corner grocery store at 1602 Winnie. The family lived in a residence next door and also built a second residential property at 1608 Winnie in 1907. These structures still stand in Galveston’s East End historical district.

In 1913, Fides married William Paul Boening. The couple moved to Kingsville, Texas in 1916 where Mr. Boening worked as a railroad roundhouse foreman. They had one daughter, Mary Agnes Boening, who was born in 1919. The family later lived in Hearne, Texas until W.P. Boening’s death in 1941. Fides Senechal returned to Galveston and lived in the family home at 1608 Winnie until her death on July 16, 1966. Her funeral mass was held at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and she is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Galveston.