Aug. 24, 1891 – General Superior Sr. M. Edward Kingston ON from Bishop of Springfield

Aug. 24, 1891
Sister Mary Edward, S.G.
Mother Mary Edward,

In writing you this letter I am simply trying to carry out the honest aboveboard principle, which I have always hoped would guide me in all my actions. You already know what I announced to the Srs. in Holyoke; for, like an honest man, I wanted you to know it, and I told the Srs. to write to you. You know that before I made any move in the matter, I spoke to you. You also know that I wrote to His Grace of Kingston, and I presume you know his answer.

Heaven knows that in asking from Rome the same privilege which Kingston got from Montreal, I seek solely the good of religion, the good of the Community and the good of this diocese. I have no personal motives to prompt me.

But in appealing to Rome I was not so simple, as not to foresee what might take place if you were disposed to make any trouble; therefore, I gave the number of Srs. in this diocese, and requested that they have a choice (should my request be granted) to remain here or to return to Kingston. The same request will be made for subjects of this diocese now in Kingston. Hence, until the decision of Rome be obtained, I respectfully, but emphatically protest against any change in the status of the Srs., any change at present would involve a serious injury to the Institutions in this diocese. In entering this protest I rely chiefly on the 3rd Plenary Council of Baltimore, which gives full jurisdiction to Bps. over all the Nuns of his diocese, even if they come from a Mother-house in another diocese.

Now, you have ordered off a Sr. M. James and Sr. M. Philip, Father Harkins tells me that he may shut up his school if the latter leave; and the former is almost invaluable at the “Mount”. I shall not therefore, allow them to leave at present. Remember I do not act thus to encourage a spirit of insubordination; but I want to protect these Srs. rights, and they both beg my permission to remain in the diocese – I do this until we hear from Rome; and should my request be denied I shall most cheerfully bow my head, and be content with the present order of things.

With sentiments of esteem, I am
Yours in Christ
Rt. Rev. P.T. O'Reilly, Bishop of Springfield
Notes: Another three copies of this letter exists as handwritten individual copies. 105.6-C, Mother Mary Edward General Superior sous-fonds, Correspondence series, Letter August 24, 1891.
Source: 407-409-A, General Secretary Fonds, Annals of the Congregation/Generalate series, Volume 1861-1892, pp. 204-205, 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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