Oct. 17, 1891 – Archbishop of Kingston ON from General Superior Sr. M. Edward, Holyoke MA

House of Providence,
Holyoke, Mass.
Oct. 17, 1891
My Lord Archbishop,

Rev. Father Kelly’s letter of the 15th inst. reached me this morning and in less than an hour after its arrival I was called to the Parlor where I found Rev. P.J. Harkins, Dr. Beaven, Fr. Conaty, Dr. Faranto, this latter, I judge comes from Rome.

Dr. Beaven asked to have the Sisters assembled as he had something to make known to them. I then asked him if I might know the nature of the Commission before it was given to the Sisters, to this he replied, “You will know its contents when you hear it read.”

The Sisters were herewith assembled and Dr. B. read a letter from Bp. O’Reilly, in which document he appoints the above named Gentlemen as a Canonical Commission for the purpose of investigating matters in view of the troubles which had taken place in the Community, and of those that were likely to happen, adding that each Sister was to present herself before this Commission individually. He then asked all to leave the room except those who formed the Corporation. Altho I knew I was not a member of the present Corporation I remained until I was politely requested to leave. What transpired between the Commission and the Corporation I do not know. Dr. Beaven very emphatically informed the Sisters that nothing was to be communicated while the investigation was pending. They would be free as soon as it was ended to say what they wished, and to whom they pleased.

Your Grace will I know be greatly incensed at a blunder I have made, and I am indeed sorry; but it is now too late. Your Grace, may remember that while in Brockville, I mentioned a loan that was due to the Mother House by Mt. St. Vincent, and I asked if it would be well for me to ask the Sisters for it as we needed it for the building. Your Grace said Yes. I wrote and the Superior Sr. M. Ignatius, was willing to comply at once by raising the Mortgage on the Dwight Street House, but feared that Sr. M. Providence might not be willing and Sr. M. P. is the President of the Corporation. Sr. M. Ign. advised me to wait until I came on to Holyoke; this I did and waited until the 14th of Oct. and then spoke to Sister M. Providence about it, explaining all to her, that we needed the money for the new building, and that Sr. M. Ig. would as soon have the debt transferred to the Bank here and pay them the interest as pay it to us, and could have the money. Sister M. Prov. acquiesed immediately saying it was all right. She had expected we would have asked for it before and that she was quite willing, as the President of the Corporation to do her part. We went and asked about it, and were told that a Meeting of the Directors would be held Monday the 19th inst. and if we put in a requisition it would be presented at the Board and an answer given next day. Sr. M. Providence proposed drawing $2000 extra as the Hospital had all been renovated, a new heating apparatus and galleries added for the comfort of patients, as also to serve for fire escapes and many other improvements, amounting to nearly $2500. I readily agreed to that and on Saturday the 17th we put in the application and when we returned from the Bank the Gentlemen named before were at the House. After the Members of the Corporation had been interviewed, I was sent for and taxed by them as having broken the “Status quo”, by ordering a mortgage without the Bishop of Springfield’s permission and so on. I said, I did not know that such was necessary, I was merely asking for what had been lent and that the matter had only gone so far as to put in the requisition.

They made a great deal to do about it, and I said had I known it was necessary I would have gone and asked the Bp. of Springfield myself, but if I had made a mistake through ignorance I was willing to go on Monday morning and withdraw the application ‘ere the Directors met. Rev. Fr. Harkins came to my aid by telling them that he knew of the loan but Don G. Franto who is I have since learned a Canonist and lives in New York, and who was sent for by the Bp. of Springfield, did his best to make me commit myself by throwing the blame on the failure of holding the regular meetings of the Corporation and of having the members thereof properly elected. In truth I paid little attention to it at all, for it was only in the case of buying of (or) selling that reference was ever made to it. Sr. M. Providence as President always attended to it. How the Bishop knew that we asked for the loan is yet a mystery to me. But I strongly suspected that Sr. M. Providence again played the traitor.

I will never know the number of questions that the Italian Commissioner put to me through Dr. Beaven, some of which I answered and some I declined to answer.

Sunday Afternoon – The investigation has just terminated; the Sisters of both houses have been interviewed.

Agreeable to Your Grace’s wish I will be in Kingston Wednesday the 21st inst. in order that I may be rested the following day.

Asking Your Grace’s blessing, and regretting that so much trouble should be given you in this matter I remain
Your Grace’s Humble and Devoted Child
Sister M. Edward
Source: 105.6-C, Mother Mary Edward General Superior sous-fonds, Correspondence series, Letter October 17, 1891, 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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