Aug. 18, 1885 – To Sisters of Holyoke Mission, MA from General Superior Sr. M. Edward, Kingston ON

House of Providence, Kingston
Aug. 18, 1885
Sisters of Charity
Very dear Sisters,

Since our return from the Mission our time has been so exclusively taken up with urgent home duties that until the present we have been compelled to remain silent. Now however the rush of work is over and we gladly turn our thoughts to you. Many of you we presume are anxiously looking forward to the opening school year when the daily round of duties will again begin and we assure you that our sympathies are with you, not only with those in the Schools, but with each dear Sister in the arduous task assigned her by Obedience, the faithful discharge of which will not only merit for you peace of mind and happiness here below, but an eternal Blessedness in the Home for which we all so longingly sigh. Be courageous dear Sisters amid the difficulties that inevitably await you. God’s grace and love helped you to surmount those of the past, and provided you be not unfaithful the same Divine Aid will sustain you throughout the year upon which you are just entering. We feel confident that those whose employment has been changed will cheerfully adapt themselves to the needs of their respective offices – no matter how repugnant they may seem to their natural inclination – self-love may find cause to grumble but heed it not, humbly offer any sacrifice the change may cost you to Him who annihilated Himself for love of us, and the bitterness of your trial will become sweet to you. Our Divine Master knows well how to heal the wounds received in His Service.

We take occasion here to make a few remarks which to us seem necessary and which we desire you to practice as faithfully as possible:

1st. We desire dear Sisters that you refrain from the habit of going through the City in your house Veils; we do not object to you wearing them when driving, or going a very short distance – but going out without the street veil is, with you, fast becoming a custom and we desire it to be discontinued.

2nd. Our rule directs us to have the House closed and lights out at 9. O’clock and we see no reason why you should be dispensed from this. In case of sickness of course there is always an exception made – but visiting and even Visitors at the hospital should be politely invited to make their adieu in advance of the time that this rule may be observed. People will not take offence when they hear that such a course is taken through respect for a rule, and if they should take offence because you do your duty, their friendship might justly be considered more injurious than beneficial to you or your Community.

3rd. Another of our rules forbids us to hold conversation with a person of the opposite sex, be he who may; without at least the doors be open. Those who made this rule had wiser and older heads than ours, and we wish it to be strictly observed. The more prudent we are in such matters the better. 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 recite them at 5.30 P.M. except on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Conge days when they can be said after the Afternoon’s Lecture or any other more convenient hour.

Hoping the 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, S.G.
Sister M. Aloysius, Secy.
Source: 105-C, General Superior's fonds, Correspondence series, Copybook pp. 55-59, 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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