Feb. 17, 1892 – To General Superior Sr. M. Edward, House of Providence, Kingston ON from Archbishop Cleary of Kingston ON

Archbishop's Palace, Kingston
Feb. 17, 1892
To the Rev. Mother Superior General of the House of Providence
Dear Mother Superior,

I wish you to proceed at once to Holyoke to resume your visitation of your two Houses in that City, and to devote yourself with all earnestness and prudence and charity to the complete reestablishment of religious peace and tranquility in each House, and the perfect union of the Sisters with each other and with their religious and ecclesiastical Superiors. “Our God” as the Apostle St. Paul writes, “is not a God of dissension, but of peace”. Without this peace in each one’s conscience and in the relations of daily life between the Sisters, so closely bound to one another, there can be no happiness for them but rather soreness of spirit and frequent offences against the supreme law of charity.

It would be very sad to see any Sister so far forget the main purpose of her entrance into religion and her devotion of her life and works to the honor of God and the Service of the poor in the hope of His eternal reward, as to foster in herself a disposition of selfishness or worldliness, or to disregard the happiness of the House in which she fulfils her daily duties in common with others, or what is worst of all to allow her feelings to become alienated from the Holy Institute in which she made her religious profession and from the reverence and obedience to her legitimate Superior, which she vowed to God with awful solemnity before the Altar on the morning of her dedication of her life to religion and its discipline of holiness. It will be for you dear Mother Superior in view of the recent unhappy disturbance of feeling in those two Houses in Holyoke, to employ all your zeal and the fulness of charity and motherly tenderness in sustaining and encouraging in each one’s mind and heart the religious spirit and the practice of the virtues identified with it.

Meanwhile, I wish you to read again for the Community in each of the two Houses the instruction delivered by me to them through you on your commencement of your visitation on last September which instruction and its several ordinances are hereby renewed and confirmed by me as the ecclesiastical Superior of the Institute, for the spiritual good of the Sisters individually and collectively, and for the maintenance of religious discipline under the law of obedience.

Inform the Sisters of each house in full assembly and in my name, that His Eminence, the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda, by letter dated 21st of January, 1892, announced to me the decision of the Sacred Congregation that all idea of separation of the houses of the Sisters of Providence in Holyoke, from the Mother House in Kingston must be abandoned and all care be given to the restoration of the tranquility they heretofore enjoyed. His Eminence further announced to me that he had communicated the same decision to the Most Rev. Bishop of Springfield by letter forwarded to him in the preceding month of December. The Catholic maxim delivered by the great St. Augustine fifteen hundred years ago, and adopted as sacred by our holy Mother the Church, viz, “Rome hath spoken, the cause is finished” applies with full force to the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda announced to me by the Cardinal Prefect, and by me to you and your religious Sisters by these letters. Any Sister who would in presence of this act of supreme authority, cherish in herself or strive to insinuate into the minds of others a desire for the forbidden separation of the two Houses in Holyoke from the parent house in Kingston, would be guilty of grievous disobedience to, not alone, her Superior General and her Archepiscopal Superior before whom she pronounced her vow of obedience on bended knees in her religious profession but also to the supreme authority of the Sovereign Pontiff, Christ’s Vicar on earth.

May God inspire you all, Sisters and Superior, with His spirit of peace and charity and mutual affection, under the rule of authority and religious subordination.

James Vincent Cleary, Archbishop of Kingston
Source: 407-409-A, General Secretary Fonds, Annals of the Congregation/Generalate series, Volume 1861-1892, pp. 247-249, 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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