The character of Isabella is a nun, and there is probably some emotional connectoin between Isabella and O'Meara's sister, Sister Leo-Cate
This poem refers speficically to Henry O'Meara's sister, Sister Leo-Cate
Robert Ingersoll was a noted freethinker and agnostic in the late 19th century
Oliver Wendell Holmes (Senior) was a highly noted physician, poet and humorist, and one of the chief literary figures of 19th century Boston.
As a physician, he alienated many of his more conservative colleagues by his radical campaign to persuade them to wash their hands between patients.
His humorous The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table was hugely successful, as was his humorous poem The Deacon's Masterpiece, or, The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay. His poem "Old Ironsides" inspired a generation of schoolchildren to contribute their pennies to save U.S.S. Constitution from being scrapped.
Despite his very high renown, his reputation today is somewhat overshadowed by that of his son, Oliver Wendell Holmes jr, the legendary Supreme Court Justice.
John Boyle O'Reilly was an Irish nationalist, sentenced to 20 years transportation to Australia. He escaped and came to America, where he became a highly-regarded poet and owner of The Pilot, the principal Catholic newspaper in Boston, if not in the U.S.
This would be O'Meara's wife, Mary. From a family letter:Mary went to school in Montreal and fluent in French. She became a writer, and wrote John L. Sullivan's autobiography. For a time Mary did the Children's page in the 'Boston Journal.' At that time it was owned by her brother-in-law, Stephen O'Meara. The Journal later became the 'Boston Traveler.' It was an evening paper owned when I was young by the same people who published the 'Boston Herald', a morning paper.
Last Updated: by Harriet Fell