June 5, 1903 – To Sister from Mother Mary Edward, St. Peter’s Convent, Trenton

St. Peters Convent,
Trenton, Ont.
June 5, 1903
My ever-loved little Sister,

Which verdict “Guilty or Not Guilty” will you render after you have heard my case, presented it is true by myself in reference to my silence and seeming neglect. To you dear, house cleaning has not all the drawbacks it has had for me, and when I tell you that since 22 of April until June 1 our little home has been upset from top to bottom. I know your dear heart will say “Poor Mother she has had a time of it. I started out intending to do the Community room and breakfast room and when things would be done we would have a place to rest our weary heads! but the slowness of the painter and the inability to get the carpenter who is by the way a man who goes to work at the Murray Canal 5 miles from here at midnight and returns home at noon then he must have a rest and often does not get up at all till night, drove me nearly to desperation; no room could I get finished, often had not a place to take my pen in hand. Then the difficulty of getting anything near what I liked. You may remember I said to you when in Kingston that I would try and get whatever little I had to get there, for two reasons: first to make an inroad to the public and secondly because I had not cash to pay if I got things from a distance and I would be able to wiggle out of it for a while by buying here. Well I had a great experience. I wanted 6 x 4 yards of linoleum for the C and 4 x 4 yards of linoleum for the little breakfast room and the walls are 12 1/2 yards long; 16 yards of stair oilcloth and light blinds for the front of the house. Well I started out and found nothing to suit so the Philips firm sent for samples and we made our selection. In a week or ten days a lantern jawed fellow would come up with “I am sorry ‘Mrs’ but a letter came this A.M. and there not a bit of the articles you wanted to be gotten in the market. Another consultation and another selection made with much the same results. At last a piece came with just enough for the two walls and while the man was up to tell of its arrival a smart clerk sold 4 yards of it. Another whole week elapsed ere the thing could be replaced and so on; every day a new trial awaited me. When we fully expected the blinds one night we took off the old ones to fix them for other windows and could you believe me a whole two weeks our windows were bare. However all things have an end and to have my tribulations in the house cleaning business in this one horse town. But do you think honey that a day passed with all this that I did not go to you in Spirit. No I used to make a resolution each day to write to you, but you know how easily I break my resolutions. Now dearie what sentence will you pass on to me? Oh wait till I tell you more; for eight whole days I had an attack of that dire neuralgia and for four of these I did not see the light so bad were my eyes. All this week I am trying to make up. I wrote to Mother General on Monday and am fixing up my books a little to day. By the way dear Sister will you tell Mother that when I got my permissions from her for the drives I did not think of our outing by boat at all – there is a little steamer, the Verona that goes every day to Belleville and other neighboring places and some good home might think of us some Saturday and offer us a trip – will we be free to accept? In your next you can give me her reply then I will be at rest if such a chance should offer. What is wrong with your poor thumb? Not a felon I hope; did you hurt it and how? or is it rheumatism? Has the news of the accident to our Pastor reached you yet? Last Saturday he blessed the baptismal water, had High Mass and was making grand preparations for Pentecost. He with Mr. Kenefic at about two o’clock drove to the cemetery to inspect work being done and when near, they were met by a drove of loose horses in a narrow roadway on a hill; the animals rushed on upsetting the horse, buggy and its two occupants into the ditch; luckily F.T. was on the under side or the old man might have been killed; how they even escaped is a true miracle. Mr. Kenefic had only a cut in his head; but our poor man was a mess from his hair to his chin, his teeth went through his lip, his nose was a sight, he bled terribly the Dr. had to plug his nose and the Sisters did all they could for him. He was all bruised, but so thankful is he that no bones were broken that he suffered joyfully all that happened him. With the blackest of eyes, bruised face and swollen nose, sore bones and all he said his two Masses and had Vespers and Benediction. Sister M. Stanislaus powdered him white just before the Masses and he wore large eyeglasses – he is a nice green under yellow now but we are so thankful to God and His Holy Mother that we do not mind his appearance. We had F. Hogan yesterday. Now let me hear soon that I am forgiven.

With love to My Dear Sisters of Community I am ever my own child your loving old mother,
Source: 601.2-1-C, Sister Mary Edward collection, Correspondence series, Letter June 5, 1903, 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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