Catherine McKinley is considered the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul. As a Sister of Providence she was known by her religious name Mother Mary Edward. She served as the congregation’s General Superior for 18 years, and was first assistant for 12 years. The letters are a testament to her incredible will and the hardships the congregation endured in its youth. Most of the correspondence is dated during her second and third terms as General Superior from 1884 to 1896.