Jan. 4, 1895 – To General Superior Sr. M. Edward, Kingston ON from Sr. M. of Mercy, Sisters of Providence Montreal QC

Asile de la Providence,
1631 St. Catherine St.,
Jan. 4, 1895
Dear Mother Edward

With all the good will in the world I proposed to write you for the New Year’s day, but here I am four days late. I shipped the cassock on the 29th inst., so I hope the Rev. Father got it in due time.

I was telephoned for by the doctor of the Notre Dame Hospital on the 26th requesting me to call on Miss Cleary for she was dying and would not hear of being anointed. I went down on Thursday in the terrible storm and found her very low, but she would not admit but that she was feeling much better and was improving rapidly since in the hospital. I assure you I did not know how to broach the subject to her, but I had to do my duty. I told her I came to ask for my Xmas box – and she said “Why Sr. Mary are you begging. I have not a cent just now”. I told her the gift I wanted was in her power to give and that for the love of the Infant Saviour she would not refuse it me. Then I asked her to be anointed. She said “No – you need not ask me that; I am much better – the doctor says I am” so do not mention that again. I said as a Sister of Charity, I had to do my duty – I could not deceive her – “Well” said she, I would not be a Sister if I had such a hard duty to perform. Then I said I would not mention it again but would console myself that I would not have to answer for not having done my duty to her when she and I would meet above – I bear the name of Sr. M. of Mercy, and I would not be worthy of the name if I did not show pity for her soul. So I leave you in the arms of Our Lady of Mercy – I then bade her goodbye and promised to call again. She shook hands and thanked me for coming and I told her to reflect on what I asked her and make an act of resignation – she said she would. The next night she asked to be anointed without any one mentioning it to her and on Saturday she died. When the Sisters telephoned to me that she asked to be anointed, I was overjoyed and thanked Our Mother of Mercy in Heaven – I had the whole house praying for her – she could not be resigned to die – but she was in the end – I went to her funeral on Monday – I hoped to see Father Kelly after the funeral but he did not call – Now I have given you all the details – There were seven Sisters of the Congregation and two Sisters of Providence at her funeral – I would have gone to the burying ground, but I saw only two sleighs for the Clergy and one sleigh did not look nice enough to follow theirs you see I am candid. How are you dear Mother and all the Sisters? I long to see you in M – there are many little changes in our ceremonial that you need to know. I tell you this under the rose.

Wishing you a happy and holy New Year, and begging you to excuse this scrawl.

I remain as ever, your devoted friend,
Sister M. of Mercy
Source: 105.6-C, Mother Mary Edward General Superior sous-fonds, Correspondence series, Letter January 4, 1895, 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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