Catherine McKinley's Letters

This letter is part of a large database of correspondence written by and to Catherine McKinley, who is considered one of the founders 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.


Sept. 1, 1884 - To Sisters of Holyoke Mission MA from General Superior Sr. M. Edward, Kingston ON

J.M.J.
House of Providence, Kingston
Sep. 1, 1884
Sisters of the Mission
Holyoke
Very dear Sisters,

Letters received recently from some among you lead us to believe that certain passages of our circular letter are not interpreted in the correct sense, and as want of time prevents us from answering you individually, we here set forth in few words the explanation that each may require. In reminding you that all general permissions, special privileges, dispensations, etc. were annulled by the recent elections, we did not wish you to infer that we desired you to suffer the want of anything necessary. Our chief and only desire is to have the Rule observed and it is our intention that you should have the full benefit of the Rule and dispensation when such is necessary - but no general permissions. Your Superior has gone to you fully authorized to discharge all the duties of her office, hence it is to her you are to apply when you need a permission or dispensation and in her absence to her Assistant. She knows how far her Authority extends and when anything beyond that is needed she applying to us, will receive for you any favour which it may be deemed advisable to grant. While desiring most ardently to see the rule observed, we do not wish, nor do we intend to deny you any privilege the rule allows - hence there is no permission necessary to take Collation in the afternoon and although Three O'Clock is the time specified for this refreshment, those employed in the schools are free to take it when they return as the duties of their employment prevent them from doing otherwise. We again repeat that no general permissions will be granted as they serve but to weaken the Spirit of simplicity and religious dependence so essential to our holy state. We earnestly hope that no Sister will so far fail in the practise of Simplicity as to refrain from asking for what she thinks before God she requires - this would give us extreme pain as we know that many of our dear Sisters are not strong and need from time to time a little care in order to help them in the arduous labor in which they are engaged. Be assured dear Sisters that a loving interest in each one is the motive that impels us to make these remarks.

Your work with the Little ones of Christ was we presume resumed this morning - May God's blessing attend your labors - as well as the labors of those engaged in the other works of Charity. May you be one in word, work and affection; and may God's peace and love abide with you.

Affectionately in the Sacred of Heart of Jesus
Sister Mary Edward, Supr.

Source: 105-C, General Superior's fonds, Correspondence series, Copybook pp. 42-44, Archives, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul.
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