Jan 13, 1896 – To Cardinal Satolli Apostolic Delegate, Washington D.C. from General Superior Sr. M. Edward, Kingston ON

Convent of the Sisters of Charity
Jan. 13, 1896
To His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Satolli,
Apostolic Delegate,
Catholic University,
Washington, D.C.
Your Eminence,

In 1892 the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda granted a separation to twenty five Sisters residing in two House of the Institute of Sisters of Charity in Holyoke, Diocese of Springfield, Mass. from this Mother House in the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ont.

The pecuniary compensation awarded this Mother House for the expense of training the Sisters for service in Holyoke and caring [for] them here when they became unable to work, also for the loss of the annuity occasioned by the withdrawal of the sisters, was seven thousand dollars ($7000.) to be paid within the space of seven years; that is a thousand each year. This arrangement was made by the Cardinal Prefect at the suggestion of the late Bishop of Springfield and without consultation with us.

Our rule prescribes the sum of twenty-five dollars ($25.) for each sister (annuity). We established ourselves in Holyoke in 1873; and not until 1891 did this Mother House in Kingston received a dollar of that, all had to go towards building, enlarging and maintaining the different works undertaken by us in the City of Holyoke., Our Sisters also collected outside the Diocese of Springfield over six thousand dollars ($6000.) all of which was expended likewise in Holyoke.

Your Eminence will perceive that the indemnity for thus weakening the resources of our Institute by the withdrawal of sisters and the consequent loss of annuity and compensation for expenses in providing subjects for Holyoke after so many years of labor, is indeed very small; still we accepted the Cardinal’s arrangement peacefully, feeling assured that as the terms had been made so easy for the separatists by him they would pay it regularly. But in this we have been disappointed. In October 1894, we received five hundred dollars ($500.): in March 1895, five hundred dollars ($500.): and in December 1895, five hundred dollars ($500.): in all only fifteen hundred dollars ($1500.).

We have represented to these sisters the necessity of making the payments as specified by the Cardinal Prefect of the Propaganda, or if not able to remit the amount in that way, we expected interest on the amount that may be unpaid within each year. To this they merely replied Awe will remit a payment at intervals as our circumstances may allow.@ This is unsatisfactory and most unfair to us.

In 1891 we assumed a heavy debt for the erection of a Home for the Aged and Infirm, and we have to pay a high rate of interest thereon. We therefore humbly appeal to Your Eminence to prevail on these sisters of Charity in Holyoke, by the exercise of your powerful influence, to pay at once the balance of their indebtedness to us with interest, and also to give us a written guarantee to the effect that, when unable to pay annually, as directed by the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda, they will pay interest on the unpaid amount and thus enable us to pay interest on our own debt.

With profound respect, I remain My Lord Cardinal, on behalf of myself and this religious Community,
Your obedient daughter in Christ,
Source: 105.6-C, Mother Mary Edward General Superior sous-fonds, Correspondence series, Letter January 13, 1896, 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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