Apr. 20, 1892 – To General Superior Sr. M. Edward, Holyoke MA from Rev. Kelly, Archbishop’s Palace, Kingston ON

Apr. 20, 1892
Dear Mother Edward,

The Archbishop is, as you may suppose, fatigued by the incessant work he has had to do in the Church and visit the priests of the Diocese since he returned here last Monday. But he cannot withhold a word of advice and sympathy from you in your great trouble. Keep your confidence in God and this will give you courage. All will turn out well and according as God knows best for religious. It is, for the present, a mere question of prudence in your action to avoid everything that could supply a handle or pretext for inculpating you at Rome.

His Grace expects the order for restoration of the Blessed Sacrament and change of Confessors will come in the course of a week or so. He made these two requests expressly to the Cardinal and declared them urgent.

Now, as to Monsignor O’Bryen’s letter, the Archbishop does not approve of his advice to you. The Mgr. is not a lawyer. His opinion about the Archbishop’s Mandate to the Sisters in Holyoke shows his unacquaintance with law. “It is true that no Bishop has jurisdiction outside his own Diocese; but the law makes express exception in regard of each Bishops’ own subjects, residing temporarily in another Diocese, especially if they be bound to him by the bond of obedience, as your Sisters are, and as all my priests are. If Mgr. O’Bryan’s opinion is correct, I could not require one of my priests, doing temporary service in another diocese, to return home in obedience to my command. In fact, not only the Bishop, but his Vicar General could hear the confessions and absolve any subject of his Diocese in any other diocese on the earth; and any P.P. could absolve his subject anywhere on land or sea by virtue of his ordinary jurisdiction”…

As to Mgr’s advice to you to “act vigorously”, and to thus force the recalcitrant Sisters to throw off the habit, His Grace wishes you to do no such thing. It would only complicate matters more and more to your detriment.

Moreover, you could and would be frustrated of your purpose by the priests and the Bishop and more harm would be done to your authority whilst a terrible cry would be raised against you and much sympathy created in favor of the disobedient Sisters.

His Grace is called away and wishes me to dispatch this letter immediately. He is greatly pleased with your letter to Mgr. O’Bryan. He sends his best blessing to you and all the Sisters and prays for you all often every day.

Wishing you a happy Easter, I remain always yours very respectfully,
C.H. Gauthier, V.G.
Source: 407-409-A, General Secretary Fonds, Annals of the Congregation/Generalate series, Volume 1861-1892, pp. 299-300, 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.

Letters Navigation

⇐ Return to Main Page:
Catherine McKinley Letters