Aug. 17, 1885 – To Sisters of Mount St. Vincent Orphanage, Holyoke, MA from General Superior Sr. M. Edward and General Secretary Sr. M. Aloysius, Kingston ON

House of Providence, Kingston
Aug. 17, 1885
Sisters of Mt. St. Vincent
Very dear Sisters,

You are no doubt anxiously expecting to hear from us and it was with regret that we were obliged by other more pressing duties to set aside for a few days your claim upon us – but now that a few leisure moments be ours we hasten to give you the pleasure and ourselves the gratification of communicating with you. During our stay with you dear Sisters, we were pleased to notice the lively interest you manifested in the different works of Charity committed to you, and were highly gratified to observe the vigilance exercised over the precious little flock which Divine Providence has been pleased to entrust to your keeping. Continue dear Sisters to guard faithfully and well your tender charge and fear lest the enemy who never slumbers should steal in through your negligence and thus overthrow the work, which God thus far has deigned to bless. As a first means to ensure success in your different labors, we recommend Charity among yourselves. Where Charity is, there God dwells and if God be with you the “burden and heat of the day” though great will be cheerfully and meritoriously endured. We particularly request you to desist from the practice of admonishing each other in the presence or within hearing of the children. To some this may seem a trivial matter but let us assure you dear Sisters that much evil has already been occasioned thereby – not only to the children whose tender minds are so easily impressed by the actions of those in authority over them, but also to yourselves – it has very much disturbed the minds of some among you and perhaps all the good works of those guilty of this fault will not atone for the mischief it has otherwise occasioned.

Another evil, which we beg once more to call your attention, is interference in each other’s offices. We made mention of this during our Visitation last winter and it pains us exceedingly to know that our recommendations on this point have not been regarded. Those who are in doubt as to our wish on this subject can refer to the book of Visitations where they will find the above-mentioned recommendations chronicled. It is consoling to know that this is not a general fault, still for the sake of peace, harmony and good order, those guilty must needs try and correct themselves.

The practice of saying the Beads after the night prayer, has been found to be most inconvenient, in consequence of which it has been decided to say them at 5:30 P.M. except on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Conge days, when they can be recited after the Afternoon Lecture or any other more convenient time.

In conclusion dear Sisters, let us hope that those among you whose office have been changed , will try to adapt themselves to the needs of their different charges. The confidence we have in your spirit of sacrifice and self-denial gives us an assurance of this. If anyone among you should feel her appointment distasteful or otherwise contrary to her natural inclination, she knows well how and to whom such a sacrifice will be acceptable and we feel assured that she would thus turn it to her spiritual advancement.

Hoping that strength may be given you to carry cheerfully the yoke of Obedience and to discharge faithfully every duty and asking to be remembered in your prayers, we remain in sincere affection and solicitude for your happiness.

Very affectionately
Sister Mary Edward, Supr.
Sister M. Aloysius, Secy.
Source: 105-C, General Superior's fonds, Correspondence series, Copybook pp. 50-54, Archives, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul.
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.

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