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Full text of "Half a century's record of the Springfield Ursulines"

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P X 







PAPAL BLESSING FOR GOLDEN JUBILEE. 



HALF A CENTURY'S RECORD 



OF 



THE 

SPRINGFIELD URSULINES 



BY A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY 



"Those who instruct others unto justice 
Shall shine as stars for all eternity." 

St. Augustine. 



THE H. W. ROKKER Co., Springfield, 111. 

Printers and Binders 

1909 



SC7/. W07735T W- W-. 
Hl3 8 




TO SAINT JOSEPH, THE GLORIOUS PATRON 

OF 
OUR COMMUNITY! 

TO WHOM THE ETERNAL FATHER 
ENTRUSTED JESUS AND MARY 

WE DEDICATE 
THIS HUMBLE RECORD 

OF 

HIS LOVING CARE 
DURING HALF A CENTURY. 



in 



TO OUR NUMEROUS FRIENDS 
OF 

LANG SYNE 

WHO KNEW AND HONORED 
THE FOUNDRESSES 

OF 
SAINT JOSEPH'S URSULINE CONVENT 

AND TO 

OUR BELOVED ALUMNAE 
AS A LINK BETWEEN THEM 

AND THEIR 

ALMA MATER 

WE DEDICATE THESE PAGES. 



GOLDEN JUBILEE ! 

Full fifty times hath balmy Spring returned 
And brought sweet flowers to perfume Summer's breath; 

Full fifty times have Autumn's splendors burned, 
Preluding hoary Winter, by its death. 

Full fifty times in circling dance, the Earth 
Around the fulgent Sun her course hath sped 

Since Ursula's fair standard of celestial birth 
Within our midst, our steps hath heavenward led. 

That banner waves, a royal pennon, leading 

Through paths where pensive Learning dwells apart, 

Or modest Virtue wooes, with gentlest pleading 
To seek the higher life, through purity of heart. 

The fifty years linked in that chaplet golden 
Have dropped into the chasm deep of years, 

And from its rocky base, in echoes olden 

Send back a mingled sound of joys and tears. 

Fifty Years ! how grand thy record shines 
Upon that page where all Life's deeds are penned 

What gleams of hidden wealth, thy golden mines 
From shadowy depths, reluctant send. 

We meet today to voice in glorious song 

A tribute that exulting fain would be 
A fitting crown, thy glories to prolong, 

E 'en through the cycles of Eternity ! 



VI 



FOREWORD 

To write the history of the Ursuline Convent of 
Springfield, for the more than half century of its 
existence, is to write the life of Mother Mary Joseph 
Woulfe, the foundress and superior during twenty- 
seven years. Nor is it due so much to the length of 
her tenure of office, as to her predominant person- 
ality that the history of the house and hers are iden- 
tical. 

In going over our meagre Annals and piecing 
them out with the reminiscences of those who have 
seen the Convent's progress from the very first day 
up to the present, there is, in interesting incident, al- 
most an embarras de richesses; throughout, God's 
protecting care has often been so evident as almost 
to deprive one of the merit of faith which is blessed 
in believing without seeing. 

The sketch from Bishop England's writings 
tells us quite enough of our venerated and beloved 
Mother Joseph's history to make it evident even to 
the most uninterested reader, that the providences of 
her life marked her out as one who would do much 

A. M. D. Q. 

vn 



viii FOREWORD. 

That she fulfilled all expectations will be amply 
demonstrated in the following pages, for whatever 
of good her daughters have accomplished, or their 
successors may do in the aftertime, was all included 
in the seed she sowed in the hearts of the early mem- 
bers of the community. The distinctive spirit of the 
Springfield Ursulines, and every organization has a 
distinctive spirit, is due to Mother Joseph. 

The organization of the Ursulines was such, be- 
fore the Roman Canonical Union, as to permit force- 
ful superiors to impress their personality very deep- 
ly upon the communities they ruled; and really the 
miracle of St. Angela's promise that the Order 
would continue until the end of time, is apparent in 
the fact that amid so many vicissitudes, and with 
such loose coherence, Ursulines were able to recog- 
nize their sistership among the eleven congregations 
into which the Order was subdivided. Indeed, some- 
times it was puzzling to know what claim there could 
be to the common name of URSULINE among religious, 
differing in everything except zeal for God's glory, 
through the Christian Education of youth. 

The world is full of books and comparatively 
few are worth the time expended in reading them, 
for they are commonplace in every way and can 
produce no lasting benefit. Such a book as the pres- 



FOREWORD. ix 

ent one, however, being a mirror held up to Nature 
purified and strengthened by divine grace, must 
necessarily, notwithstanding all literary deficiencies, 
appeal to the thoughtful mind and cry aloud as did 
the Lives of the Saints to the wounded Soldier of 
Pampeluna: "What these have done you can do." 
Such is our excuse for revealing* in the workings of 
a human life, the much talked of "Secrets of the 
Cloister." 

We feel very certain that to those who were 
privileged to know Mother Joseph and her saintly 
companions, these reminiscences will be of vivid in- 
terest, but to all readers we sincerely hope they may 
be of solid benefit. We will vouch for the truth of 
the picture presented, although perhaps some of the 
details, rendered nebulous, by being viewed in the 
dim perspective of half a century, may appear some- 
what blurred. 



SAINT JOSEPH'S URSULINE CONVENT 
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS 

JULY 2D, 1909 
Feast of Our Lady's Visitation. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Foreword .- 

Chap. I. Bishop England's Discourse 1 

Chap. II. Discourse Concluded 17 

Chap. III. Prosperous Days in the South 35 

Chap. IV. Great Changes 46 

Chap. V. Beginnings in Springfield, 111 57 

Chap. VI. Prosperous Days in the North. 74. 

Chap. VII. Mother Joseph's Cares and Anxieties.. 85 

Chap. VIII. The New Convent 97 

Chap. IX. Building up the Spiritual Edifice 109 

Chap. X. Parochial Schools 118 

Chap. XI. Changes 130 

Chap. XII. Co-Foundresses with Mother Joseph . . . 139 

Chap. XIII. Upward and Onward 150 

Chap. XIV. Unification 160 

Chap. XV. Christian Education 169 

San Afra's Bells 179 

Chap. XVI. The Ursulines 180 



XI 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGE 

Papal Blessing Frontispiece 

Rt. Rev. J. England, D.D 1 

Mother M. Joseph Woulfe 35 

Ursuline Convent, Charleston, S. C 47 

Group of Buildings 97 

Rev. Father T. Cowley 119 

Chapel ; Grottoes 131 

Rt. Rev. J. Ryan, D.D 151 

Mother General and Her Assistant 161 

Happy Childhood 169 

Saint Angela 179 

Auditorium , 187 



XII 




RT. REV. J. ENGLAND, D. D., 
Bishop of Charleston, S. C. 



CHAPTER I. 

BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

The Bishop of Charleston, having, during many 
years, been well acquainted with the Ursuline monas- 
tery in Cork, and finding in his diocese no institution 
for female education, which combined so many ad- 
vantages as he knew could be united in an institution 
of this Order, had for some years requested that a 
filiation should be sent to the City of Charleston, 
S. C. His request was acceded to, and on the 10th 
day of December, 1834, he arrived from Europe, ac- 
companied by three professed nuns : Mrs. Christina 
Malony, in religion, Mother Mary Charles; Mrs. M. 
A. Isabella McCarthy, in religion, Sister Mary F. 
Borgia, and Mrs. Mary Hughes, in religion, Sister 
Mary Antonio, and a young lady, Miss Harriet 
Woulfe, who had requested permission to join their 
community. On the 19th day of May, 1835, he per- 
formed the prescribed ceremony on the occasion of 
giving the habit of religion to this young lady, upon 
her being admitted to her probation as a novice in 
the Order, by the name of Sister Mary Joseph de 

Sales. 

i 



2 BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

It was intended that the ceremony should be per- 
formed in the domestic chapel of the community in 
presence of a very few friends, but as soon as it 
was known that the reception was to take place, so 
many applications were made for permission to be 
present, and these requests came from such respect- 
able quarters, that it was determined immediately 
to accede : and for the purpose of accommodating the 
number that attended, upwards of seven hundred, 
the ceremony was performed in the cathedral of St. 
Finbar, included within the precincts of the convent. 

Instead of stating the date of birth, names of 
parents, motives which led our venerated Foundress 
to embrace the religious life as an Ursuline, we will 
let the great light of the Catholic Church in America, 
the immortal John England, tell it in his own elo- 
quent words. It would seem almost a desecration 
to interfere, in any way, with what he said upon the 
memorable occasion of the assuming of the religious 
habit by Miss Harriet Woulfe. One little incident, 
however, we will chronicle which gives an insight 
into the very fatherly sentiment he cherished to- 
wards his ward. 

It is customary that the young woman present- 
ing herself for reception to the holy habit, be arrayed 
as a bride, so that laying aside this worldly garb, 
she may express more fully her renunciation of 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 3 

earthly pleasures. Miss Woulfe was, according to 
this custom, arrayed in all the finery of the times. 
The great Bishop presented himself at the Convent 
a short time before the ceremony and, calling for 
the young novice, testified great pleasure at the 
tasteful manner in which she was dressed, insisting 
in fact on her turning around several times to show 
more fully the details of her becoming toilet. 

DISCOURSE. 

My Dear Child: Under other circumstances, I should 
feel myself at liberty to address you differently from what 
I intend today. We are placed in a situation novel to us 
both; we are surrounded by friends to whom all that we 
are about to perform is new ; by friends who feel a reason- 
able curiosity to understand that which they have never 
before had the opportunity of beholding, and upon whose 
minds, generally speaking, very extraordinary impressions 
have been made respecting the nature and the circum- 
stances of that state upon which you desire to enter. They 
have had few, if any, opportunities of becoming acquainted 
with its religious lawfulness, its spiritual or social utility, 
its excellence, or its regulations; they have, without their 
own fault, been misled, but they are open to the light which 
a plain statement of facts is calculated to shed upon their 
understandings. They are desirous of information; and if 
they crowd around us, it is not because of an idle desire to 
witness an unmeaning pageant, but from the reasonable and 
praiseworthy motive of better understanding, from obser- 
vation, that, respecting which, they have heard and read 



4: BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

very strange accounts; they desire to be informed, so that 
they may be enabled to pass a reasonable judgment upon 
an interesting question. 

Were we about to perform this day's ceremony, in the 
midst of a community already well instructed concerning 
the religious state, I should feel that it would be more ap- 
propriate to address you in the usual style on occasions of 
this description. To exhibit to you the wisdom of that 
choice, which you are likely to make; to dwell upon the 
description of the virtues proper for that state to which 
you aspire, and to point out to you the source of those 
graces by whose aid they may be successfully cultivated; 
but, because of the peculiarity of our circumstances, I shall 
omit all this, and though I shall address myself to you, the 
object of my remarks shall be rather to communicate, as 
far as our time and my ability will permit, to the friends 
by whom we are surrounded, such information as will 
render our ceremony fully intelligible, perhaps interesting. 
They have assembled here for the purpose of beholding a 
rite, of whose true nature so little is here known, and to be 
fully informed concerning which is a natural and a lauda- 
ble desire of all rational -and unprejudiced persons. Allow 
me, then, my dear child, to use this opportunity of satisfy- 
ing their just wishes of learning, however briefly and im- 
perfectly, the nature of our religious Orders, and particu- 
larly of that to become a member of which you have already 
made a request, which you now come forward publicly 
to repeat. 

The wise and providential Creator who has spread 
abroad the firmament and placed so many admirable con- 
stellations throughout the immensity of space, has assigned 
to each star in this vast collection its own peculiar place, 
and designated the sphere in which it is His will that body 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 5 

should move. So long as each makes progress in its proper 
track, so long as all continue their well-ordered, though 
seemingly intricate and perplexed course, the harmony of 
the heavens is perfect, the object of the Almighty is at- 
tained ; beauty crowns the work of order, and the beholder 
is absorbed in the most sublime contemplations. 

The Saviour has distinctly taught us that He who thus 
regulates the motion of heavenly bodies has not overlooked 
the concerns of individuals sojourning upon earth. He 
provides for every animal upon its surface ; not a sparrow 
can fall to the ground without His permission ; of how much 
more value is man! The Lord has numbered the hairs of 
our head ; He has regulated for each of us a path in which 
to walk usefully in His service ; He calls the great body of 
mankind to enter into the honorable state of marriage, 
which, in the New. Law, He raised to the dignity of a 
Sacrament when, as we read in the 19th chapter of the 
gospel of St. Matthew, He brought back the contract to its 
original form of an indissoluble bond of union between one 
man and one woman. In that chapter, He exhibits several 
instances of necessary and of voluntary exceptions to this 
general condition, and shows that He calls different persons 
to His service in different institutions, giving to them the 
diversity of graces for their several states. Amongst those 
exceptions we find that there are some who remain un- 
married for the kingdom of heaven's sake. 

This doctrine of the Saviour is more fully developed 
by the apostle St. Paul, in the 7th chapter of his first 
Epistle to the Corinthians, where he informs us that each 
has his proper gift from God, and that the variety of graces 
leads to different states of observance; and subsequently 
he declares that the unmarried woman, or the virgin, thinks 
of things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and in 



6 BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

spirit ; but she who is married thinks of the world and how 
she may please her husband. The knowledge of this doc- 
trine has, from the beginning, been exhibited in the practice 
of those eminent saints who, influenced by the grace of 
God, have adorned the Church by their virtue. We behold 
them admirable models of perfection, both in the married 
state and in the retirement of religion. 

The duties of a Christian matron are of an eminent 
utility to society and to religion, as their fulfillment is 
becoming and honorable to herself. Placed at the head of 
a family, to look after their wants, to supply their necessi- 
ties, to provide for their comforts, to solace them in afflic- 
tion, to sustain them, to soothe them, to heal them in sick- 
ness, to watch over the dispositions of her children, to train 
them to virtue, to lead them to knowledge, to educate them 
for the fulfillment of their duties upon earth, that they 
may become saints in heaven, to keep her household in 
order, to see that her servants be correct in their habits 
and diligent in their employment, to be the solace of her 
husband, the economist of his means, the unobtrusive in- 
stigator of his piety by the most unostentatious influence 
of her family this is her high and holy calling, and one 
the proper fulfillment of whose duties leaves her little time 
to range upon the precincts of her family, to engage herself 
in the concerns of others, or to undertake extraordinary 
practices of devotion. Her mind is, therefore, necessarily 
properly occupied with that little world by which she is 
surrounded, in the midst of which she moves, and in the 
administration of which she holds so responsible a place. 
She owes to her husband a reasonable affection and it is a 
part of her obligation to please him in everything which is 
not forbidden by the first duties which she owes to her 
God. 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 7 

But when we look abroad through the world, when we 
examine into details, we are speedily convinced that by 
reason of the imperfection of our nature, the temptations 
by which we are surrounded, and a variety of other causes, 
there is a great failure in the performance of duty by 
Christian matrons, as well as by other classes of society. 
The vicissitudes of life, and premature death, frequently 
also add to the evil. Thus we see poverty, destitution, help- 
lessness, infirmity and despondency exercising a wide- 
spread influence over the human family ; education is either 
imperfectly bestowed or is altogether neglected, and misery 
and vice have mighty sway. 

From the view that I have already taken it is clear 
that the first duty of the Christian matron is within her 
family and that the occupations which should primarily 
engage her attention are so extensive and important as to 
give her little time for personal exertion to alleviate the 
sufferings of others. Well ordered charity requires that 
she do all that lies in her power to relieve their necessities, 
but it first demands from her that her own household be 
not neglected. Our Providential Parent has regulated for 
this exigency by the diversities of His gifts. He calls some 
to the state in which they are not divided, where no ex- 
tensive family duties press upon them; there is no indi- 
vidual whom they are bound specially to please, to whose 
comforts and gratifications they are obliged to devote their 
principal attention. They are occupied in thinking of the 
things that belong to God, how they shall endeavor to 
turn His grace to the best account by corresponding fully 
therewith, aiming, in their spiritual improvement, to be 
perfect as their Heavenly Father is perfect manifesting 
their love to Him by loving, for His sake, His creatures 
end exhibiting the proof of that charity by devoting them- 



8 BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

selves to the service of those who have need of that succor 
which they may be able to bestow. 

Nor have all whom God calls to this state exactly the 
same vocation, neither are their duties perfectly alike. With 
admirable wisdom He invites them to walk in various paths, 
so that, spreading themselves over the surface of an af- 
flicted world, they may be differently employed in remedy- 
ing its several wants. As, in forming the mystic body 
of His church, He diversified the gifts and the functions 
of its several members, that He might build up the aggre- 
gate in perfection, so did He diversify the objects and the 
duties of the several religious orders in that church ; whilst 
they are all united in the same faith, partaking of the same 
sacraments, obeying the same spiritual government, and are 
bound together in the one communion, yet they are various- 
ly employed to attain one great object. Some go forth to 
gather up, to cherish, and to protect the little orphan. 
Some devote themselves more to prayer and reflection on 
the word of God, like the Thesbite on Carmel, or the pre- 
cursor in the desert, they love solitude and conversation 
with heaven. Some visit the abode of deserted poverty, to 
solace the afflicted, to cheer the desponding, to exhibit for 
those who pursue the even tenor of their way along this 
course in religious contentment, the entrance to beatitude, 
where the path of the cross terminates. Some devote them- 
selves to the instruction of the poor, the despised, or those 
whom the world neglects, knowing that the angels of those 
children see the face of their Father who is in heaven, and 
that before Him nothing is overlooked that is done for His 
sake, to aid one of those least ones, whose souls are created 
to His likeness, and are purchased by the blood of His Son. 
Some are found in the abode of disease, assuaging the rage 
of fever, cooling the parched tongue, sustaining the languid 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 9 

head, whispering consolation and hope, allaying the vio- 
lence of pain, encouraging to fortitude and resignation 
under the chastising hand of that Father who tempers 
justice with mercy. Or, if the portal of death is in view, 
and must be entered, then is the source of the Christian's 
hope indicated, then is the wearied pilgrim sustained and 
aided and cherished, as the radiance of immortal life is 
pointed out distinct, though distant, beyond the interven- 
ing gloom. Some undertake the meritorious office of edu- 
cating into respectability, utility and sanctity those children 
who, in after life, must become the most useful members of 
society, the most valuable citizens, the best bulwarks of the 
state, they who contribute most to its wealth, and who 
enhance its respectability the children of the industrious 
middle ranks of life, those in whom, generally speaking, 
are found most religion and morality, as they are most 
efficient for the public weal. Some are found in the recesses 
of the prison, some in the maniac 's cell ; some cultivate the 
sciences which elevate and improve, and some the arts 
which give to life its reasonable enjoyments. Some, too, 
feel the mighty importance of supplying the best, the most 
extended, the most polished education for those who are to 
move in the highest circles of society, and who should 
adorn, by the improvement of the understanding, the 
cultivation of taste, and the decorations of their station, 
those virtues which impart to their example a very powerful 
influence. 

Thus, my dear child, are the vast majority of our 
separated brethren, without any fault of theirs, because 
of the want of opportunity for information, completely in 
error when they imagine that the members of our religious 
communities are useless burdens upon society; are idle, 
unemployed, or if occupied in the discharge of their duties, 



10 BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOUKSE. 

that their avocations are unprofitable to the world at large. 
In fact, none of its members contribute more than they do 
to the well-doing of society, and their disengagement from 
the more immediate claims of nearer connections or rela- 
tives makes them peculiarly fitted to supply those wants 
which could never be otherwise adequately met, and very 
seldom attempted, without previous injustice to their own 
charge, by those who had first to attend to family duties. 
Yet it is sometimes fashionable to repeat even what is 
notoriously untrue, merely because it has been previously 
said by others. In the case, however, of our Southern 
states, there is generally a wrong impression upon the 
mind, because hitherto there did not exist in those regions 
an opportunity for its removal; descriptions of convents 
written for the purposes of party were read; the state- 
ments of those who ought to have information were im- 
plicitly relied upon; the current of conversation naturally 
ran in but one channel ; every doubt was swept away ; and 
what was palpably untrue was universally admitted as 
unquestionable. 

We have now, my dear child, arrived at this point: 
That the mode of life which you desire to embrace is not 
only lawful in Christianity, but is useful in society; That 
it is not only sanctioned by the Saviour of the world, but 
that it has been by Him recommended, not to all, but to 
several ; That this recommendation has been followed up by 
St. Paul, not only by writing, but by example; That the 
recommendation was in like manner sustained by the ex- 
ample of the disciple whom Jesus specially loved, and to 
whose care, at His death, He commended His virgin mother. 
It has also been sustained by numbers of the other apos- 
tles and first disciples of our holy religion ; and these ex- 
amples have been extensively followed by vast numbers of 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 11 

the best, the most learned, the most zealous, and most use- 
ful members of the church in every age and in every nation. 

It must indeed require a more than ordinary share of 
an unamiable quality which goes beyond courage to attempt, 
in defiance of such a host of witnesses the denial of your 
rights, of your own free choice to enter upon such a state 
should you after matured deliberation trust to the powerful 
aid and gracious promises of your Savior for ability to 
discharge its duties. 

Perhaps it will not be amiss to remark that although 
the individual who makes these observations has always be- 
lieved in the lawfulness of religious institutions, he was 
during many years of his life far from being aware of 
their utility. Peculiar circumstances at an early age ex- 
posed him to impressions which had their traces so deeply 
marked as not to have been easily nor speedily obliterated. 
The examination which he subsequently made was con- 
ducted much more under the influence of prejudice than 
of partiality. Nor did he willingly yield to the force of 
evidences; when he could no longer doubt, his assent was 
reluctant; when his conviction was declared that declara- 
tion was but tardy, and when the general principle was 
fully admitted, his imagination figured to itself numerous 
exceptions until the reflection of years and an extensive 
examination of varied details brought him at length to see 
fully and fairly in a proper light that picture which had 
so frequently appeared to him, because of his wrong posi- 
tion, incongruous, distorted and ill-arranged. To him no 
demonstration is now more evident than is that religious 
institutions are as useful to society as they are ornamental 
to the church ; that they are as valuable to religion as they 
are congenial to the spirit of Christianity ; that whilst they 
lead the individuals who engage therein steadily forward 



12 BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

to perfection, they bestow upon the faithful at large the 
solid blessings of excellent example and the fruits of 
prayer. 

Let the Christian matron be in the best disposition for 
engaging in practices of piety, let her love retirement, let 
her delight in prayer, let her feel a relish for the reading 
of the Sacred Scriptures and other good books, and find 
her soul refreshed by meditating upon their contents, 
still, the peculiar duties of her state will necessarily inter- 
rupt her devotion and though she may, and frequently 
does much to attain a high degree in the science of the 
saints, still, to use the expression of the apostle, she is 
divided ; whilst in the religious community much more time 
can be devoted to those important exercises, a high grade 
of piety can be maintained in the church, a more elevated 
standard of perfection can be preserved, without the viola- 
tion of any duty. Each individual, in her proper place, 
contributes to promote the glory of God, the perfection of 
religion, the necessary blessings to the human family, as 
well for the wants of time as for the enjoyments of 
eternity. It is for that God who searches the heart to give 
to each individual the merit and the reward for having 
corresponded to the peculiar graces of her own vocation; 
but the general result is that by this distribution, the prac- 
tice of elevated virtue is promoted, holy emulation in the 
service of God is excited and the most useful impulse is 
given to religious observances. Should you determine to 
persevere in that choice, for which this day you appear to 
declare your preference, you will do so as freely, after your 
mature reflection and ample opportunities of observation as 
it is possible for any human being reasonably to expect, 
before deciding upon the course in which she will choose 
to move during the few years that are given to us upon 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 13 

this earth. It is said that they who embrace this state of 
life are generally forced to it, either by authority or by 
circumstances. Are you, my dear child, under such in- 
fluence at present? Have you been under it hitherto? 
Need I inform you that independently of every other con- 
sideration the genius of our free institutions holds its shield 
ready for your protection ? The public officers of our state, 
the laws of our land, the spirit of our people, are ready at 
the least indication from you to interpose between you 
and such necessity. Were they all to desert you there 
would be found in the members of our own church, the 
vindicators of your freedom, the protectors of your help- 
lessness. I speak not of the solemn obligations which 
our holy religion has specially and distinctly imposed upon 
me on the day of my own consecration, to observe, to main- 
tain, and to enforce these canons, which secure to you my 
protection against any undue influence, against any tam- 
pering with, not only your own free determination upon 
this occasion, or that of a religious profession, but which 
makes it my official duty, for the proper discharge of 
which I am, at the peril of my soul, answerable to your God 
and to my God, that I shall be fully satisfied, that your 
agency is the result of your own anxious desire after due 
information, and full opportunity for reflection. You have 
already manifested to me this desire, you have more than 
once besought in private that which you now appear in 
this sanctuary publicly to demand before this respectable 
assembly, before those ministers of the church, before God 's 
holy altar, in the face of the court of heaven. 

You appear before us in that dress which your station 
in society, your education, your property, and your pre- 
vious habits entitle you to wear. For the purposes of 
society, religion tolerates a becoming decoration for law- 



14: BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOURSE. 

ful purposes, you lawfully bring it into the sanctuary 
itself; should you remain abroad, occupied in the or- 
dinary concerns of life, its use on proper occasions is fully 
recognized; should you voluntarily, for the sake of Jesus 
Christ, lay it aside and be content with plainer raiment, 
and divest yourself of worldly superfluities, as of that 
array, you contract thereby no obligation of permanently 
remaining in an establishment into which you declare you 
desire to enter at present, only for the purpose of examin- 
ing and preparing yourself to discharge its duties perma- 
nently, should you and the community and the bishop of 
the diocese, be jointly of opinion after two years from 
this day, that God calls you to serve Him in that state. 

You are aware, my dear child, that your own deter- 
mination will not be sufficient, without their consent. Be- 
cause they may observe that, however desirous you might 
be of entering permanently as a member of their com- 
munity, you may not possess the suitable qualities, and in 
such a case neither your desire nor the Bishop's direction 
could compel them to receive you. Where persons are to 
be associated for life in the same family, it would be un- 
just that regard should be had to the desire of one not 
yet permanently aggregated to their number, without the 
full and free consent of those who have bound themselves 
to permanent residence. It might also be discovered that 
the person desiring admission expressed a wish, rather the 
result of what she could not easily avoid, than of what she 
earnestly desired; and in such a case it would be the duty 
of the community to protect the delicacy of the applicant 
and its own respectability and happiness, by declining to 
accede. Thus should you, this community and the Bishop 
jointly determine, after the lapse of two more years, upon 
your making vows, it is clear that they must be made freely 



BISHOP ENGLAND'S DISCOUESE. 15 

and with due deliberation. Yet this is not all. Should you, 
within a reasonable time after the pronouncing of those 
vows, exhibit sufficient proof to the Bishop of the diocese 
that at the time itself you suffered under an undue in- 
fluence, the operation of which you could neither disclose 
nor prevent, and that you were not as free in your agency 
as you appeared to be, it would be his duty to declare 
those vows null, and to restore you to that liberty of which 
you had been so wickedly deprived. Is this, then, my 
dear child, that tyranny, that oppression, that cruelty, 
which is so finely depicted in so many artfully wrought 
tales? 

Have you been forced, by other circumstances, to seek 
in this community for an asylum from the unkindness of 
the world ? I am aware, and so are you, that a very general 
impression exists among those who know little of convents, 
that it is from such motives the application for admittance 
is generally made. There is nothing peculiar in your case, 
and however it may seem strange to you that I should 
exhibit your history, you will allow me to develop it. Left 
at a very early period of childhood, with a brother and 
sister, as" orphans, but not friendless, nor unprotected, nor 
destitute. A fond father, dying upon a foreign station of 
public service, confided his children and their property 
to the honor of a gallant brother officer; your guardian 
was not, nor is he a member of that church to which you 
and I belong. He generously undertook a charge which he 
faithfully fulfilled. At a convenient opportunity he placed 
you, for the purposes of education, in the house where your 
mother had been taught, to be instructed in the religion of 
your parents; you are seated between those ladies from 
whom you imbibed the lessons of science and of virtue; 
you were watched over by those who, having been either 



16 BISHOP ENGLAND 's DISCOURSE. 

the teachers or the companions of your parent, continued 
in that establishment in which some of her happiest days 
were spent ; you were in the vicinity of numerous relatives 
of your father, upon the spot where they had been so long 
and so respectfully known. You were occasionally visited 
by your guardian, you were also the guest of his family; 
you found your brother growing up to manhood, to science, 
and to independence. You had your education completed, 
you had a property still in reserve, you expressed your own 
desire at an early period to embrace, if you would be per- 
mitted, that institution to which you seek a way to be 
opened to you today. You had no repulse in the world, 
you had no disappointment, you had no affliction. It was 
thought that perhaps in the ardor of attachment, in the 
confidence of youth you might mistake a love for your 
teachers for an inspiration from heaven, that you might 
misconstrue a desire to avoid separation from them for a 
preference to entering a monastic order. You were separated 
from them for a considerable time ; an ocean rolled between 
you and those to whom you had communicated your desires. 
It was left to new scenes, to other associations, to time, and 
to distance, to prove the nature of your vocation. You 
heard in France that they by whom you were surrounded 
were about to leave Ireland and to come hither; you pre- 
ferred coming also upon this mission, to entering any 
other house of this order; you immediately began this 
journey, you requested to be allowed to accompany them, 
you obtained the consent of him who had been to you a 
father. 



CHAPTER II. 

DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

Could it then be said, my dear child, that you acted 
from the constraint of either persons or of circumstances 
in seeking that mode of life which you appear likely finally 
to select 1 

Fourteen years of observation gave you ample oppor- 
tunity to see and to know the character, the dispositions, 
the endurances, and happiness of members of that com- 
munity under whose care you received your education. 
When you presented yourself to me I need not remind you 
of my statement that before I could consent to your being 
a companion of our voyage I thought it due to yourself, 
to your guardian, and to me, that I should especially receive 
his formal consent. And his answer to my obligation was 
in keeping with his previous conduct. It stated that you 
had had ample opportunity of clearly observing and fully 
deciding according to the principles of religion of your 
parents which was also your own ; that from his knowledge 
of you he was certain that choice and that decision would 
be properly made, he was kind enough to add that from 
what he had learned regarding the prelate under whose 
care you desired to be placed, as well as from his station in 
the church, he believed that he best complied with the 
request of a dying friend, and fulfilled his trust, in re- 
questing that henceforth you might be considered a portion 
of my care and that he would be ready at the proper 
moment to exhibit and to settle up the accounts of prop- 

2 17 



18 DISCOUKSE CONCLUDED. 

erty left to his management. I trust, also, that after 
upwards of fourteen years' opportunity in observing my 
conduct whatever may be my faults, and they are not few ; 
whatever my imperfections, and I know them to be many, 
I can, at all events, stand calmly before my fellow-citizens 
and declare that, even leaving my paramount obligations 
as a bishop, to protect your liberty, out of question, no one 
of the respectable congregation that surrounds us would 
for a moment suspect me capable, as a man, of being in- 
sensible of the obligations under which I lie, of preventing 
any interference with your fullest freedom in the im- 
portant choice of your state in life. 

It is then under such circumstances that you come 
forward, publicly to demand that which you have previous- 
ly sought and which it was agreed you should receive 
the habit of this order. It cannot then be said that either 
the bigotry or the interest of your guardian urged you 
to the decision you have made. I then ask you, can it be 
said that you are constrained? And, my dear child, if it 
be your desire to enter this order, and if there be no 
reasonable obstacle, why should you not have equal liberty 
to follow your vocation as any other respectable lady shall 
have to make a different choice ? Is it the proper exhibition 
of equal liberty that her wish shall be complied with, and 
that yours shall be rejected? Should not similar protection 
be afforded to each ? I am aware that it is said and printed, 
for I have heard and I have read the observations, that 
when under the influence of ardent feeling and imagina- 
tion, the youthful mind devotes itself to a monastic ob- 
servance, howeyer free the individual may be at the time, 
she has subsequently abundant occasion for repentance, 
and that when the novelty has worn away, a long life of 
bitter disappointment follows, unless the victim is released 



DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 19 

by death. I might leave to your own experience to esti- 
mate the character of this assertion. But I will add that 
he who addresses you has had ample opportunities upon 
many a shore and in many a monastery of seeing and con- 
versing with all their inmates, and that he must be 
peculiarly] ill-qualified for discerning the symptoms of 
mental suffering, if he has ever met with one to whom the 
observation would correctly apply. He can only testify to 
what he has seen and known. He has had also similar 
testimony from others; and the result to which he has ar- 
rived is, that if such instances do occur they are rarely 
met with, and that not one ever came under his obser- 
vation. 

But how often, in what is called a state of freedom, 
has he found himself differently circumstanced! 

When called upon to perform his duty in the celebra- 
tion of marriage, it is true he is bound to refuse the aid of 
his ministry, where he is assured that there is not a suf- 
ficient consent ; yet it is not his province to inquire into the 
reluctance with which that consent is given, nor into the 
process by which it has been procured. And should he 
presume to interfere with the transactions of families or of 
individuals for such a purpose, they who now cry out 
against the facilities afforded for entering into religious 
engagements would be first to inveigh against what they 
would style an inquisitorial despotism. Is all their sympa- 
thy, then, to be wasted upon the victim, which their imag- 
ination fancies to be immolated at the monastic shrine? 
And have they no tears to shed over those whom continued 
evidence exhibits otherwise devoted by avarice, by ambition 
and by other passions ? Have they no compassion for those 
who, forced by a variety of authorities or powers, are com- 
pelled, in contracting marriage, to sacrifice their own long- 



20 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

cherished and reasonable preferences to the caprice or to 
the calculations of another? Believe me, my child, when I 
assure you that few moments of a ministry, extending 
through upwards of a quarter of a century, have been 
more painful to me than when all around was gaiety, 
every face appeared beaming with joy, and she who gave 
her assent to the contract forced herself into a seeming 
harmony with the circumstances; but I knew, I saw, I had 
previously suspected, and her own lips subsequently added 
their confirmation, that with a lacerated heart she yielded 
where she was unable to control. Many a trial of this 
description have I had to endure ; and yet she is said to be 
free, and you are said to be forced ! In her case I had no 
discretion. In yours, and in all similar cases, I have not 
only a discretion, but an obligation to examine and to in- 
vestigate, for the purpose of ascertaining the object, the 
motive, and the history of your desire to undertake a re- 
ligious obligation, and you need not be informed that it is 
my duty to refuse my consent, should I have any reasonable 
doubt not only of your freedom, but of your anxious wish, 
from motives acceptable to heaven, to embrace the institute ; 
and should I, without such a conviction on my mind, pro- 
ceed or permit others to proceed to the ceremony, I would 
violate the solemn obligation to which I pledged myself at 
the foot of the altar, on the day of my consecration. I 
proclaim it from this sacred place, I assert it as I shall 
answer for the assertion before the tribunal of the Most 
High, that neither my own feelings of propriety nor my 
sense of justice, nor the canons of the church, would permit 
the engagement in religious obligations on the part of the 
postulants or of novices, with merely that quantity of 
liberty which suffices for engagement in the married state ; 
and that frequently have I given my ministry at marriages 



DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 21 

where there existed an interference with the freedom of 
the female, which I would no more sanction in a religious 
profession than I would rush to that tabernacle and profane 
its contents. Let, then, the deluded simpleton whose kind- 
ness of heart is manifested by the tears which she sheds 
over the highly wrought tale of the novelist, spare her 
sympathy. They who are permitted to enter upon this 
state make their choice after full deliberation, and having 
given full evidence of their freedom being equally perfect 
as is their knowledge of the obligations which they propose 
to undertake. You have given this evidence allow me, 
then, in the presence of this assembly, my dear child, to 
ask, "Are you forced?" 

Have you acted wisely in making the selection? If 
you have reason to believe that God has called you to serve 
Him in this state, your choice must necessarily have been 
wise. All do not take this word, but they to whom it is 
given. Wisdom consists in proposing to ourselves a good 
end, and in selecting the means proper for its attainment. 
The great end of our creation is that also of our redemp- 
tion ; you propose to yourself the attainment of eternal 
happiness through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
You seek for your felicity in the kingdom of heaven; you 
hear the Saviour Himself declare that some persons select 
a state of disengagement for the sake of that kingdom; 
you hear His apostles recommending it in preference to a 
state in which the affections and the attentions must 
necessarily be divided. 

However, in passing through this vale of trials and 
tears, there are many legitimate sources of transitory hap- 
piness of which it is permitted that we should taste, pro- 
vided we be not by them drawn aside from the pursuit 
of the great object which we should always have in view; 



22 DISCOUKSE CONCLUDED. 

for what will it profit a man to gain the whole world and to 
lose his own soul? Yet in that choice which you seem in- 
clined to make, you preclude yourself from many of those 
enjoyments. This is the point fit for your deliberate ex- 
amination. I would say that if you find your heart 
strongly drawn to them ; if you feel considerable reluctance 
at the prospect of their abandonment ; if you think it likely 
that you would, at a future period, regret their loss, you 
ought not only to hesitate, but to examine more maturely 
before you proceed. But if your heart seeks for other en- 
joyments, peculiar to that state to which you aspire, if in 
that you contemplate sources of satisfaction which do not 
send their streams abroad, if in them you observe the oc- 
casion of being enabled to serve God and His creatures with 
an undivided heart, you are likely to secure to yourself 
that treasure which you seek in heaven, together with as 
much happiness during your journey to the portal of the 
tomb as generally falls to the share of the children of 
Adam. 

He who addresses you has had ample opportunity of 
observing in the various classes of society, under diversified 
circumstances of public and of private influence, the true 
state of human endurance. He has known them from the 
palace of the monarch to the hut of the Indian, and to the 
convict's dungeon. In the new world and in the old, he 
has endeavored to study the book of life. From the 
peculiarities of his station and of his circumstances, he has 
enjoyed the confidence of numbers in all the gradations 
which intervene between their extremes, and even in the 
extremes themselves. How differently has the same indi- 
vidual often been exhibited to him by the confidence of 
unreserved communication, seeking for consolation or for 
advice, from what that being appeared to the admiring, 



DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 23 

or to the envious, or to the contemning beholder! The 
mother of a family has her moments of enjoyment and 
her day's pain; she has gratifications and blessings which 
repay for years of toil and of solicitude. She has happi- 
ness and misery, and such is the uniform lot of the daugh- 
ters of Eve. The tenor of a religious life is more even, 
still it has its endurances and happiness. She who enters 
upon it lifts her eye to heaven, but yet she walks upon 
earth, she must eat of its bread of affliction, she must 
drink of its cup of bitterness ; but as she is more moderate 
in partaking of its fruits, so she feels the less of their 
effects. As her attention is almost exclusively directed to 
eternal concerns, she is but little affected by transitory 
disappointments, and whilst she is faithful to her voca- 
tion, she is filled with the hope of attaining that beatitude 
which she endeavors to secure, by obeying the precepts 
and endeavoring to follow the counsels of that Gospel which 
she has made the rule of her life. I would, therefore, 
unhesitatingly say that whilst Martha is occupied and 
troubled with many cares, even though it be for the service 
of Jesus, you, my dear child, like Mary, have chosen the 
better part. 

The special institute into which you desire to enter 
is one in which, besides the three vows common to all re- 
ligious orders, that is, of Poverty, of Chastity, and of 
Obedience, a fourth is made by those professing therein, 
of dedicating themselves to the instruction of female chil- 
dren. As the nature of those vows and their object are too 
generally misunderstood, allow me to dwell briefly upon 
their explanation for the information of those respectable 
friends who surround us. 

The obligation of this Poverty will, perhaps, be better 
understood by our friends when I describe it as a voluntary 



24 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

cession of all private rights in order to create a common 
fund for the general use: like that of the first Christians, 
of whom it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, that 
they sold all their possessions and lived in common. The 
object is the attainment of that perfect equality which 
leveling whatever distinction might have existed between 
their previous stations in society, makes them in religion, 
sisters upon an equal footing; so that there shall be no 
distinction of wealth or of title, of family, or of connection ; 
no jealousy because of one enjoying an exemption or a 
privilege, or being able to procure any convenience or 
delicacy for herself, or to bestow it upon another. Their 
food, their apparel, their apartments, their attendants, 
shall be all provided for equally out of their common fund ; 
and this shall be administered under their joint control. 
Does one of the titled daughters of a court bring with her 
wealth to enlarge, to improve, to embellish the monastery, 
and the daughter of a subject at the same time enter with 
that dowry which is barely sufficient to secure her support, 
neither the title nor the fortune shall secure for the former 
any precedence or privilege over the latter. The spirit 
of poverty is that of equality; the spirit of equality de- 
stroys jealousy, produces peace, charity, contentment and 
industry. 

Another and a higher object is that disengagement of 
the heart from the things of this world, which enables the 
poor in spirit to see God as the only object of their ambition. 
Little, my dear child, is necessary for us between the 
cradle and the grave ; the Saviour pointed out all when He 
told us to be content with food and raiment. And in food 
you seek only a sufficiency of that which by its simplicity 
and soundness, whilst it supplies your wants, neither min- 
isters to the sensuality of the palate nor is deleterious to 



DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 25 

the constitution. In her attire, the married woman is bound 
to conform to the reasonable wishes of her husband, and so 
far as modesty and prudence will permit, she should avoid 
deviating, by any singularity, from the established usage of 
that class of society to which she belongs. In her a well 
regulated costliness, a becoming decoration, the mainten- 
ance of an appearance suited to her place, are rather duties 
than transgressions; but for you, who profess a desire to 
embrace religious poverty, those decorations, however be- 
fitting that station into which you have a right to be ad- 
mitted if you enter society, are altogether unsuited. 

It is, therefor, that you will lay them aside and as- 
sume a garb more conformable to the place which you desire 
to occupy a garb in which you will find abundant provi- 
sion for your wants, but nothing to minister to vanity, or 
to create a useless expenditure. 

Thus, whilst all that is desirable is secured by the 
voluntary renunciation which the individuals are required 
to make previous to admission into this community, abund- 
ant provision is secured for the supply of those wants to 
which all are liable, by holding for the general purposes a 
sufficient fund to be administered upon fixed principles by 
the proper officers, under general direction. And should 
there be found a surplus created either by the original 
means or the subsequent industry of the community, they 
are capable of applying it to the purposes of religion, of 
humanity, of charity, or of science. Thus, be the abund- 
ance what it may, the individual is bound by the renuncia- 
tion which she has made, to desire for herself only what 
is necessary, plainly, but sufficiently to meet her necessities. 
She uses the things of this world as if she used them not ; 
she seeks by the discharge of her duties to lay up for her- 
self a treasure which neither rust nor moth can consume, 



26 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

nor thieves dig through and steal ; and her undivided heart 
is where her treasure is committed to the charge of a God, 
who is so faithful to His word that though the heavens and 
earth should pass away, that word will not fail. The spirit 
of her poverty is, then, moderation in the use of what is 
necessary, and a detachment of heart even from what she 
is permitted to use. Her poverty is as far from being 
sordid as her humility is from being abject or mean. 

I have heretofore dwelt upon the object of the vow 
of Chastity, which is calculated to withdraw her heart 
from an overweening affection to persons, as the vow of 
Poverty is to protect it from an attachment to things. But 
as it is from the heart, good and evil proceed, the great 
duty of her who enters upon this obligation is to purify the 
stream of her love at its source, and by habitually regarding 
Jesus Christ as the Spouse of her soul, endeavor by the per- 
fection of her spirit, equally as by her external purity, to 
make herself acceptable to Him by making Him the center 
of her affection, and the object of her devotion. Let her 
cleanse her soul by contrition from the soil of sin, let her 
procure from the Holy Ghost those precious ornaments of 
virtue which she knows to be highly pleasing to Him in 
whose eyes she seeks to appear beautiful, and thus, whilst 
the observance of this duty destroys the ties that would 
bind her to earth, it will better fit her for the service of 
Him whom she desires to enjoy in heaven. 

The vow of Obedience, it is said, enslaves the un- 
fortunate victim, by subjecting her to the caprice of her 
superior; nor are they who make the assertion sparing in 
the exemplification of the tantalizing effects of this sub- 
jection. You are sufficiently aware of the folly and the 
falsehood of these exhibitions. Without order no family 
can have peace, no community can exist without subordina- 



DISCOUBSE CONCLUDED. 27 

tion, no society can be preserved without discipline, and 
when it is judiciously established, its strict enforcement 
is the greatest blessings to the individuals, as it is the 
foundation of prosperity for the community; the cause of 
peace, of harmony, of affection, and of co-operation 
amongst the members. This truth of general application 
is particularly obvious in regard to religious communities. 
Where authority is rightfully established for the general 
welfare, there is no greater virtue than implicit obedience 
to its just commands, and in the precision of this obedience 
as to the mode of execution, and its promptness as to time, 
will be found the guarantee of those advantages which 
accrue to the individual and to the body. 

The spirit of that obedience which the Gospel incul- 
cates destroys that pride which is the great root of iniquity ; 
it produces that humility which the Savior invites us to 
learn of Him, and without which we cannot expect His aid 
or His countenance ; in a particular manner it subdues that 
delusive and fallacious arrogance which is by the world 
styled an independence of mind, but which is altogether 
incompatible with that charity which the apostle describes. 

They, however, who describe the government of the 
Ursuline order as a despotism, are necessarily ignorant of 
either the meaning of the word or of the administration of 
the institute. The superior must indeed be obeyed, respect- 
fully, cheerfully, promptly, and with precision; not from 
fear, but from principle ; however, in issuing her orders she 
must be obedient herself. She governs not by caprice, but 
according to the provisions of a written rule, and her 
authority is defined by the enactment of a written con- 
stitution and copies of this constitution and of those rules 
are in the possession of the members of this community ; it 
is a part of their obligation to study them and to be in- 



28 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

timately acquainted with their letter and with their spirit ; 
and their obedience is vowed to the observance of what 
they have thus precisely unfolded to their contemplation 
before they are permitted to undertake the bond; their 
obedience is required to the authorities duly constituted 
under these documents and with whose mode of practical 
administration they are well acquainted ; because they must 
have lived under that administration for years previously 
to being admitted to pledge their promise. The exercise of 
this authority is also subjected to the control of a clergy- 
man, in whose selection those who are governed have a 
principal share; and one of the most pressing duties of 
the Bishop is to make visitations for the purpose of seeing 
that the laws of the society are properly observed. If this 
be a despotism, our definition of the word has been 
hitherto, I apprehend, quite erroneous. 

Nor are those rules vague, indistinct, and liable to 
such a construction as would leave the letter seemingly un- 
touched, whilst the whole spirit had been deserted. Four- 
teen hundred years have elapsed since St. Augustine, the 
great Bishop of Hippo, penned that rule, which today 
forms the basis of the Ursuline observance. And during 
that long period a variety of questions have arisen which 
procured decisions and explanations from authorized 
tribunals free from the influence of self-interest or of 
party spirit, not made in the moments of excitement 
nor by the management of those who originated the dis- 
cussions. Reduced to practice in several nations, during 
centuries, under varied circumstances, they exhibit the 
characters of accuracy and of permanence. The provisions 
of the constitution, written several centuries later, are 
equally defined and similarly tested. If obedience to such 
a government be slavery, then what shall I call our civil 



DISCOUBSE CONCLUDED. 29 

subordination? The objects to be attained, the means by 
which they are to be secured, the officers who are to govern, 
the duties and authorities of each are all distinctly, pre- 
cisely and accurately known, as are also the duties to be 
performed by the several members of the community; but 
the will of each individual must submit to that of the body 
at large, expressed by its proper organ, the superior or 
other officer in order that the general good might be at- 
tained ; and the advantage of each individual is secured by 
the prosperity of the whole; and the obedience which is 
given in submission to the will of God tends to the sanctifi- 
cation of her who makes the sacrifice. 

Permit me also to remark that this constitution em- 
bodies the essential principles of well-regulated republican- 
ism. The superior and other principal officers are elected 
by the free suffrages of those whom they are to govern. In 
this election, one who would directly or indirectly seek for 
an office is disqualified from serving ; canvassing is a crime, 
cabal or intrigue or influence would be the most atrocious 
enormity; to seek in any manner the discovery of how an 
individual voted at the ballot-box would be as unpardonable 
as it would be useless. This is the conservative principle 
of freedom, and without such a spirit and such precautions, 
no true liberty can exist. The terms of office are limited. 
At the end of her term the superior descends from her 
place ; she is personally accountable for her administration, 
though whilst it continued, the assent of her council chosen 
by the community was necessary for the validity of many 
of her acts. There is a rotation in office she is not in- 
definitely re-eligible; when certain periods arrive she must 
retire to the midst of her sisters, and obey where she has 
directed. This is her greatest relief, because her office 
brings to her only more care, more responsibility, and 



30 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

more labor. If a community, then, are under a capricious 
despotism it must be found, not in the Ursuline order, nor 
in any other with which I am acquainted. How needless, 
then, my dear child, is that expression of sympathy which 
escapes from the deluded and tender-hearted beings who 
lay down the work of fiction to weep over the misfortunes 
to which you are subjected by their obedience ! Alas ! I 
would ask those who have studied the book of daily life 
whether it would not be more easy to find amongst those 
who are said to preserve their freedom some victims more 
worthy of compassion? 

The special object of that order into which you desire 
admission is the education of female youth. Particularly 
devoted to training in science virtue, and the accomplish- 
ments that befit your sex and their station, those who are 
likely to move in the front of society, and to exercise an 
influence over their numerous families and servants; it 
will be for you, should you be admitted, to continue un- 
remittingly assiduous in acquiring for yourself that which 
you must impart to others. Religion sanctifies the elegan- 
cies and the refinements of life by guarding them against 
the blandishments of vice and habituating them to an al- 
liance with virtue. Today it would be easy to point out 
some of the ladies most conspicuous for what the world 
admires in their sex and station, dignified but unobtrusive 
leaders in the way of Christian perfection; persuasive ad- 
vocates of the cause of holiness ; beings who show that even 
where they are in a great measure exposed to the con- 
tagion of the world, yet by the aid of heaven they can 
purify the atmosphere by which they are surrounded, and 
by the power of winning example lead numbers who had 
determined to rest upon the enjoyments of earth, to exert 
themselves for obtaining more lasting and purer happiness 



DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 31 

and better glory. In every age such has been the case. 
The refinements of society, the accomplishments of a lady, 
are far from being necessarily allied to that spirit of the 
world which is censured by the Gospel. That spirit may 
predominate in a hovel ; it may rage in rags. An elevated 
station is one lawful, but it is dangerous, and therefore 
it is the more necessary to have it well protected. This 
is the charitable object of that society in which you have 
been trained up, and in which you seek to dedicate your- 
self to the service of your God. 

Its object is not proselytism; it openly proclaims its 
principles, its practice is perfectly in keeping with them. 
It asks no person to commit a child to its charge, but it is 
not free to decline receiving those to whose improvement 
it has devoted its service. It contemplates receiving no 
child who is not to be instructed in religion equally as in 
worldly science, and it would consider the principal part of 
its duty neglected were it to omit that instruction. It pro- 
claims that the Saviour of the world did not establish con- 
tradictory creeds, but that He sent forth His apostles to 
spread -to every nation and to perpetuate through every 
age that religion which the members of this community 
profess. It knows no other, it has no connection with any 
other, it can teach no other. Should a sufficient number of 
children to be thus educated, a number fitted for the in- 
struction here bestowed, and sufficiently numerous to en- 
gross the attention of the community, offer themselves to 
its care, there is no choice left ; they must devote their time 
exclusively to this charge. Should they, however, not have 
sufficient applications of this description, they feel it to be 
their duty rather to fulfill a portion of their obligations 
than to omit the whole. To them it would be a matter of 
regret to feel themselves precluded from giving religious 



32 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

instruction to any one placed under their care; but if the 
natural guardian of that child will positively prohibit its 
communication, the responsibility for their silence no 
longer rests upon the members of the community ; they will 
feel themselves bound by every principle of honor and 
good faith to abstain from what they will have been pro- 
hibited to undertake, and they believe the bonds of con- 
science and of true honor and good faith to be identical. 
They will not decline doing a partial good because they 
cannot do all that they would. They invite no one, they 
depend not for their support upon any income which may 
be derived from the services they may render. They are 
ready upon the principles here exhibited to fulfill the duties 
which they have undertaken; but they neither solicit nor 
invite. To unite your efforts with theirs in this most 
meritorious occupation ; to devote to prayer, to the reading 
of the Holy Scriptures and of other approved books, to 
meditate upon the law of the Lord, and to make it a rule 
of your conduct and at the proper time to be occupied in 
those other duties this is your desire and should you be 
admitted, this is your obligation. 

But I have detained you too long ; it is time that these 
observances should be brought to a conclusion. I shall only 
remark upon the ceremony that its object is not to create 
any bond upon you, nor to make it less easy or less delicate 
for you to retire, after having received the habit of the 
Order than it was before. You sought not a public ex- 
hibition of your desire to be associated with this sisterhood, 
neither did you decline it; but the full extent of that ex- 
pression goes no farther than to declare that such is your 
present earnest wish, which you may yet find good reason 
to retract; and should you, upon due reflection, be per- 
suaded that you are not called to this state of life, or that 



DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 33 

you will find more happiness outside the precincts of the 
convent, it would be your duty to retire; nor would your 
standing in the communion of the church, nor your re- 
spectability in society, be even indirectly impaired by such 
a change of purpose properly carried into execution. To- 
day, therefore, you seek to be admitted as a novice; two 
whole years must elapse from that admission before you 
can be permitted to make any vow of the order, be your 
own desire as ardent as possible, and the disposition of the 
community as favorable as can be imagined. You have 
besought that in private which you present yourself now 
openly to demand. That light which I have placed in your 
hand is an emblem of the edification which you are ex- 
pected to give. The change of your vesture shows your 
desire to renounce the world, and to essay how far you may 
be able to fulfill the duties of the cloister. You blend 
therein the active duties of charity, with the occupations 
of a contemplative. You this day lie prostrate before the 
altar, to beseech in earnest supplications of humility the 
aid of the Holy Ghost to fortify you by the effusion of 
divine grace for the practice of virtue and fidelity to the 
God of your affections. We, too, my dear child, will unite 
with you in beseeching the Father of Mercies, the God of 
all consolation, the bestower of every good gift, to pour 
forth abundantly upon you, this day, His choicest blessings. 
Amongst the friends by whom we are surrounded there are 
numbers who differ from us in religious belief; who may 
not approve of the choice that you make ; who do not per- 
haps agree with me in all the principles I have adduced, 
nor coincide in approving the conclusions that I have 
drawn; but I know them sufficiently to say that amongst 
them many an aspiration will also be sent forth, praying 
for a blessing upon you, whilst they who are united with 
3 



34 DISCOURSE CONCLUDED. 

us in faith will, as our ceremonial proceeds, unite in our 
joint petition, that your Father, who from His high throne 
this day regards you as His child, may strengthen you for 
the discharge of the duties that you undertake, may fill 
your mind with that knowledge which you seek, may direct 
you in that path in which He calls you to walk, may deco- 
rate you with every virtue that becomes your state, may fill 
your soul with that peace which the world cannot give, 
may lead you to perfection upon earth, and bring you to 
the enjoyment of His glory in the realms of eternal day. 

MOTHER JOSEPH. 

Each diamond has its flaw, they say; 
Our idols all their feet of clay; 
The fairest flower some crumpled leaf, 
Some tears in every golden sheaf; 
Some minor through the music borne, 
Some cloud across the fairest morn; 
And something always, always mars 
The light of our most perfect stars, 
To make us feel how vain each thing 
, Eound which our love would climb and cling. 

I 'Tis false. I've known for many a year 

One face, nor knew a single sneer 
To mar its sweetness, never heard 
From those dear lips an unkind word, 
Nor ever found the faintest trace 
Of aught affection would efface. 
What rarer tribute can we pay 
To one who walks earth's trying way? 
Let cynics sigh, I am content 
To know one flawless blessing sent. 

Calla Harcourt. Class 1885. 




MOTHER MARY JOSEPH WOULFE, 
Foundress of Springfield Ursuline Convent. 



CHAPTER IH. 

PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

The Religious alluded to in former chapter who 
came from the Ursuline Convent of Black Rock, 
Cork, were all women of superior attainments and 
deeply religious character. 

Mother Charles Molony had been among the 
foundresses of the Ursuline Convent of Thurles. 
For a time she was most reluctant to assume the 
charge of Superior to the new foundation, as her 
health was not sufficiently good to warrant her in 
engaging in so onerous a charge. Superiors, how- 
ever, overruled her scruples by showing her that it 
was the guiding mind more than the robust body that 
was needed. Her sister, Mother Mary Francis, 
joined her at a later date. 

Mother Borgia McCarthy, niece of Rt. Rev. 
Florence McCarthy, co-adjutor to Rt. Rev. Dr. Moy- 
lan, Bishop of Cork, was a -woman of rare mental en- 
dowment and most charming personality. To her is 
due the compilation of the well-known Ursuline Man- 
nal, many parts of which, notably the treatise on the 
Predominant Passions, are due to her pen. Mother 

35 



36 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

Antonio Hughes was no whit behind her companions. 
She seemed to partake of the forcible and heroic 
spirit of her brother Et. Eev. Hughes, of Gibral- 
tar, who deserved from Eome the honorable title of 
Defender of the Faith. Miss Harriet Woulfe, the 
subject of our sketch, was indeed a young subject of 
rare promise, as the sequel will show. 

Two subsequent visits made by the Et. Eev. Dr. 
England to Cork, resulted in reinforcing the com- 
munity by the addition of Mother Angela Delaney, 
sister of the Et. Eev. Dr. Delaney, of the See of 
Cork, and several most promising postulants, among 
whom were : Miss Dignum, afterwards Mother Ur- 
sula, who passed to her eternal reward some years 
ago from the Ursuline Convent of Valle Crucis, S. C., 
full of merits before God and man, for her long 
service in the Master's vineyard. The Misses Cole- 
man of Dundalk were also induced to accompany the 
Missionary band of Ursulines. One of these ladies, 
feeling she had no vocation to the religious life, re- 
turned to Ireland, where she married a most esti- 
mable gentleman and died at a ripe old age, sur- 
rounded by many sons and daughters. The other 
Miss Coleman persevered and became the lovable 
and highly respected Mother De Sales, so well known 
by the old pupils of the Springfield Ursuline Com- 
munity. Another postulant was Miss Norah Eng- 



PROSPEROUS DATS. 37 

land, the Bishop 's own niece, and greatly beloved by 
him. 

In the first of these visits the Et. Eev. Bishop 
was accompanied by Mother Charles Molony, who 
died in 1839, while holding the office of Superior of 
the Charleston Convent. She was succeeded in her 
charge by Mother Borgia McCarthy, who accom- 
panied the Bt. Rev. Bishop on his second trip to 
Cork for reinforcements for his cherished Ursuline 
foundation. 

Upon the arrival of the first band in Philadel- 
phia, they were met by the Rt. Rev. Doctors Eccles- 
ton and Kenrick, the latter of whom most urgently 
begged Rt. Rev. Dr. England to relinquish his right 
to the colony and allow the Nuns to devote them- 
selves to educational work, in the already flourish- 
ing diocese of Philadelphia. This Bishop England 
refused point blank and they accordingly continued 
their journey to Charleston, where they arrived on 
the 10th of December, 1834, after a journey of over 
two months' duration. 

The diocese could boast little of material wealth, 
but the Ursulines were more than willing, they were 
eager, to share the privations and trials of their great 
and holy Bishop. 

As soon as it could possibly be done, the Ursu- 
lines were comfortably and suitably housed, a legacy 



38 PKOSPEROUS DAYS. 

from the Cork Community enabling them to make 
such repairs and additions as were deemed necessary 
for the carrying on of their work. 

Being Irish ladies and of the old school, it is 
scarcely to be wondered at that they were deficient 
in business methods. In God's design this proved 
later a means of fulfilling purposes not foreseen in 
the beginning. 

Bt. Eev. Dr. England's great fatherly heart and 
all-embracing zeal for God's glory in the salvation 
of souls, rendered him incapable of understanding 
the importance of business methods among persons, 
all aiming at one great end. While he lived, his 
clergy and religious orders formed one great family 
well content to abide by his decisions, trusting im- 
plicitly to his wisdom and ability to direct all their 
concerns. 

While the Ursulines were thus comfortably set- 
tled the Bishop's Seminary was facetiously called 
Castle Eack Bent. Some of the most able clergymen 
that have rendered illustrious the annals of the 
Catholic Church in America were its inmates. The 
names of Doctors Corcoran and Baker, will, for many 
a year to come, add glory by their companionship, to 
that of the great John England himself. 

The Ursuline Schools fulfilled most satisfactor- 
ily all that had been expected of them, as is amply 



PEOSPEEOUS DAYS. 39 

proved by the multiplied testimonies found scat- 
tered throughout the works of Bishop England. 

In due course of time Miss Harriet Woulf e pro- 
nounced her perpetual vows under the name of Sister 
Mary Joseph De Sales, or, as was the custom of the. 
times, Mrs. Mary Joseph Woulfe. 

Having received a finished education t according- 
to the standards of the time and having moreover 
enjoyed the advantages of travel and residence in 
France, she was a most valuable acquisition to the 
young Community. Her musical ability was of such 
order as was rarely met with in America in those 
days. For several years she was organist of St. 
Finbar's Cathedral. It is to her able management 
of its "excellent organ" that Eev. Dr. J. J. O'Qon- 
nell, O. S. B., alludes in the passage of his <<: Catn- A 
olicity in the Carolinas and Georgia," when he 
speaks of its "solemn music responsive to the touch 
of cloistered hands," in that frail Cathedral where 
the great Bishop sat surrounded by a circle of priests 
and levites, each one of whom, according to Bishop 
Persico's words, was worthy of wearing the mitre 
himself. 

During her early religious life, the young Nun 
developed and unconsciously exhibited qualities 
which marked her out as one destined to accomplish 



4:0 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

great things. God, however, had His own designs 
and the circumstances of her life were already shap- 
ing the course He intended her to pursue. 

It is not to be supposed that the establishment 
of a religious body of women would meet with favor 
in the midst, nay, in the very stronghold of bigotry, 
such as Charleston then was. 

It has often been remarked that the intolerant 
views of Massachusetts and of South Carolina on 
Catholic questions were very similar in those days. 
There existed in both an almost unconquerable anti- 
pathy for all things Catholic, especially for what was 
regarded as the most objectionable feature in its 
workings Monasticism. 

It is due entirely to Bishop England's inspira- 
tion and personal influence that the disgraceful 
scenes of Mount St. Benedict in Charlestown, Mass., 
did not have their counterpart in Charleston, South 
Carolina. So well was this recognized at the time, 
that when the madness of bigotry and intolerance 
had sufficiently subsided to leave men's minds clear 
and open to reason, a deputation of many intellectual 
and prominent citizens waited on Bishop England to 
thank him for having saved their city from the ever- 
lasting obloquy it would have incurred by acts of 
injustice and vandalism, but for his undaunted atti- 
tude and compelling dignity and wisdom. 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 41 

It will surprise no one who reads these annals 
to be told that during the years of stress and storm 
that marked the beginnings of the Ursuline founda- 
tion, grave doubts were entertained in the Convent 
of Cork as to the advisability of leaving their mem- 
bers longer in such an unpromising field of labor. 
It was almost impossible for the citizens of Charles- 
ton to believe that a Bishop and a body of teachers 
who strove to minister by religious and other aids 
to the spiritual wants of the slaves, could be any- 
thing better than disturbers of the peace in a society 
where the status of the slave was little better than 
that of an animal. 

Zeal was not lacking in the Nuns of Charleston 
or of Cork, for many of the latter were willing, 
throughout it all, to give themselves to the holy task, 
but Superiors felt very reluctant to further promote 
the undertaking and frequently were moved to re- 
call to the House of their Profession those members 
at least who had made their vows before coming to 
America. 

Besides all these considerations, it was feared 
that the spiritual ministrations so necessary for sus- 
taining the fervor of spirit required in those who 
commit themselves to the higher life in the seclusion 
of the cloister, could not be sufficiently regular in 



42 PROSPEKOUS DAYS. 

so extended and benighted a diocese as that of Bishop 
England then was, and so the recall of the Nuns be- 
came at times a very urgent question with Superiors. 
Once before, a colony had been recalled from New 
York because the Nuns could not enjoy the benefit of 
daily Mass. 

It had ever been the desire and design of Bishop 
England to furnish to his Ursulines every possible 
spiritual assistance ; but at times this was a difficulty 
which even he could not overcome. 

In the course of time, however, prejudice was 
lessened for the people of Charleston were both 
straightforward and chivalrous and so open to con- 
viction that from personal enmity toward Monas- 
ticism in the abstract, they became admirers and 
valuable friends of the Nuns themselves, whose use- 
fulness in the Community became convincing when 
they saw the results of their teaching manifested in 
the culture, refinement and high moral standards of 
the pupils entrusted to their care. 

Before Bishop England's death he had the con- 
solation of knowing that in the Ursuline foundation, 
he had put the right people in the right place, for 
they were respected and beloved by all. 

But, alas! for things of earth! Scarcely had 
these happy results been achieved 'ere relentless 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 4:8 

death approached, seeking a shining mark for his 
arrows. 

Having returned from his last visit to Borne, 
near the end of the year 1841, the Bishop was able 
to participate in the Xmas solemnities, but he was 
even then rapidly failing from the effects of an ill- 
ness contracted during the long and boisterous voy- 
age across the Atlantic. "Soon after Xmas, in the 
beginning of 1842, he took to his bed, never more to 
rise from it," says the venerable historian of the 
Carolinas. 

On the 10th of April his beloved Ursulines were 
allowed to gather around his death bed, to receive 
some words of encouragement and advice, to kiss 
the venerable hand that had so often been raised in 
benediction over them, to receive once more that 
benediction from that dying hand on whose alabaster 
whiteness still gleamed the jewelled brightness of his 
Episcopal ring, but which was now so feeble that his 
life-long friend, Father O'Neale, had to raise and 
support the arm during the brief ceremony. On the 
following morning, April llth, the heroic soul of the 
great John England passed to the judgment seat of 
its Creator as a last cry for "Mercy" issued from 
the trembling lips that had so often and so well pro- 
claimed to others that the Mercy of God seemingly 
surpasseth all His other attributes. His body was 



44 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

interred in the Cathedral of St. Finbar, where had 
rested for a few years that of the Venerable Mother 
M. Charles Molony, foundress and first Superior of 
the Ursulines of Charleston. 

Upon the occasion of Bishop England's funeral 
the city went into mourning; the shippings in the 
harbor and the public buildings lowered their flags 
to half mast; business was suspended, the bells in 
all the Protestant Churches were tolled, the entire 
Community was desolate and mourned as for a 
common father ; the tears of the widow and of the or- 
phan, mingled with those of strong men, once power- 
ful adversaries who now wept over his bier in sin- 
cere regret. The lips that never spoke without 
striking at the heart of a big thought, awakening 
new ideas in all that listened, were now sealed in 
death. Like a conqueror taking his rest, around him 
lay the fruits of his labors and the trophies of his 
victories. Archbishop Kenrick came from Philadel- 
phia to deliver the funeral oration. Mother Mary 
Joseph Woulfe presided at the organ whence issued 
the solemn music of the Requiem Mass over the re- 
mains of him whose square and massive firmness, 
simplicity and purity of character stand monumental 
even to this day, in the annals of the Catholic Church 
in America. 

I do not think I exaggerate in saying that all the 



PBOSPEBOUS DAYS. 45 

outward, secular demonstrations of the occasion were 
but little more than a faint echo of the overwhelming 
grief which filled the hearts of the religious men and 
women of the diocese to whom the saintly Bishop 
had ever been a most loving father and enlightened 
guide. 



CHAPTER IV. 

GREAT CHANGES. 

The great Bishop was dead, but he had sown too 
deeply in the hearts of all, that strong faith which 
accepts all earthly sorrows as coming from the hand 
of God, for His beloved daughters the Ursulines 
to mourn as those who have no hope. 

Rev. Dr. Baker was left as administrator of the 
widowed diocese. He was a man of great ability and 
of deep religious nature. Bishop England had, upon 
his deathbed, recommended him as the most com- 
petent and the best calculated priest of his diocese 
to continue his own work. To quote Rev. Dr. J. J. 
'Council: "Coming from so respectable a source 
and under such circumstances, a higher recommen- 
dation for worth and merit, no man living could 
receive. ' ' 

Perhaps never in the annals of the Catholic 
Church in America did such a galaxy of brilliant- 
minded and religious-hearted men shine, in more 
sombre skies than those of the almost unknown Dio- 
cese of Charleston. 

Rev. Dr. Baker continued to the Ursulines the 
fatherly care they had received under Bishop Eng- 

46 




FIRST URSULINE CONVENT, CHARLESTON, S. C. 



GREAT CHANGES. 47 

land, who, notwithstanding his varied and enormous 
labors, was ever most anxious to provide them with 
every possible means for attaining the religious per- 
fection to which they were pledged by their vows. 

During the two years ' administratorship of Rev. 
Dr. Baker, the Convent grew in favor and usefulness 
among the people of Charleston. No word, except 
in praise of their work, was ever spoken of them. 
All the storms and trials of the pioneer days seemed 
to have passed away ; the Convent was the abode of 
sweet peace and zealous labors A. M. D. G. under che 
mild sway of Mother Mary Borgia. 

Those who have made a study of God's usual 
way of dealing with His best beloved, will readily 
understand that the Cross cannot long be absent from 
any undertaking which bears the mark of His divine 
approval. 

On the feast of St. Joseph, March 19, 1844, Et. 
Rev. Dr. Reynolds was consecrated Bishop of 
Charleston, S. C., by Archbishop Purcell in St. 
Peter's Cathedral, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

The learned Author of Catholicity in the Caro- 
linas tells us that the acceptance of the See of 
Charleston was an heroic act of self-immolafion on 
the part of Rt. Rev. Dr. Reynolds. True, the prog- 
ress made in Catholicity under his gifted predecessor 
and so ably continued under Rev. Dr. Baker was 



48 GREAT CHANGES. 

phenomenal from any point of view, spiritual or 
material, but there was a little to show for it, in com- 
parison with other dioceses. 

The Ecclesiastical Seminary upon which so 
much time and ability had been expended and which 
had given such satisfactory results was, as to build- 
ings, of the most primitive style. It afforcled the 
barest necessities of a home and was absolutely de- 
void of comfort as of any claim to elegance. 

In contemplating the wide field which lay before 
him, Bishop Reynolds became convinced that his 
first efforts must be directed to giving the institu- 
tions of his diocese suitable buildings. 

The erection of a new Cathedral was imperative. 
A better building for a Seminary, and an Episcopal 
Residence were likewise of absolute necessity, for 
while Rev. Dr. Baker had managed the monetary 
affairs of the diocese in a masterly manner, paying 
off an indebtedness of $20,000 during his adminis- 
tratorship, he had undertaken nothing new, limiting 
himself simply to keeping existing buildings in re- 
pair. 

Among the general dilapidation of church prop- 
erties, the two Convents were notable exceptions. 
Rt. Rev Bishop Reynolds set himself to work most 
resolutely to ascertain the best means of accomplish- 
ing what he intended to do. After due deliberation 



GREAT CHANGES. 49 

and investigation he concluded that the Sisters of 
Mercy founded by his predecessor, having a larger 
range of activities than was permissible to the re- 
ligious of a strictly /teaching order, were better 
suited to a diocese so poor in resources as that of 
Charleston. In accordance with this view, he felt 
that the services of the Ursulines might me dis- 
pensed with. 

The Ursulines had been canonically established 
in the diocese, much of their own private income and 
a legacy of $5,000 from a member of the Black Eock 
Convent had been expended in rendering their Con- 
vent comfortable, commodious and attractive, but 
they had not a scrap of paper to offer in evidence of 
their claims, so, when Bishop Eeynolds asked them 
to vacate their Convent, which he wished to use for 
a Seminary, on the ground that all diocesan property 
belonged to the Bishop, to be administered as he 
judged best for the interests of religion, they simply 
bowed to his decision, but refused to accept what he 
offered them instead, and chose the alternative of 
seeking elsewhere a field for their labors. 

In speaking of the affair, Rev. Dr. J. J. O'Con- 
nell, 0. S. B., writes: "The Convent having become 
endeared to the community by many and sacred as- 
sociations, their removal was unpopular, and the 
measure was regretted by all the faithful, especially 



50 GBEAT CHANGES. 

as the former ill-will against the Convent had sub- 
sided in the city and the inmates had grown in favor 
with the Charlestonians. Bishop Reynolds' motives 
were good, doubtless; none questioned the purity of 
his intentions, while his course was regarded as in- 
judicious and the policy at fault." 

There seems to have been a special blessing of 
Heaven on all the measures inaugurated by Bishop 
England, and, notwithstanding all the vicissitudes of 
time, including a disastrous war, the institutions he 
founded still exist in a flourishing state. Later the 
Ursulines returned to the diocese and are now in a 
prosperous condition. 

In accordance with the wishes of the discarded 
Ursulines, the Bishop secured their entrance into the 
arch-diocese of Cincinnati, where, after a residence 
of some months in Covington, they took up their 
abode in the Convent of the Assumption, Bank 
street, Cincinnati, of which Mother Mary Joseph 
Woulfe became first Superior. In accordance with 
the constitutions of the Order, the professed who had 
come from Europe, returned to their Mother House 
of Black Rock, Cork. 

Mother Joseph had in her community all those 
who had made their vows in Charleston, besides two 
promising Novices, who accompanied them: Miss 
Mary Malony, of Charleston, S. C., known in Spring- 



GREAT CHANGES. 51 

field as Mother Charles, and Miss Lynch, also of 
South Carolina, whose brother afterwards occupied 
the See of Charleston. 

The new foundation met from the very outset 
with great success. An agreement was entered into 
with Rev. Edward Purcell, the Archbishop's broth- 
er, that the sum of $20,000 was to be paid for the 
property which they occupied, in such sums as were 
most convenient to them, and with a very small in- 
terest, and that when the amount was entirely paid, 
they should receive the deeds. 

Mother Joseph was but thirty-two years old at 
the time, totally unacquainted with business methods 
and left without the counsel or assistance of the 
elder Nuns upon whom she had been accustomed to 
rely. It required great courage and trust in God 
to undertake such a task. Recalling the examples 
and virtues of the elder Nuns by whom she had been 
formed to the religious life, she endeavored to tread 
in their footsteps and to adhere closely to their 
teachings. 

The schools were well patronized by some of 
the most prominent people of the city and of Louis- 
ville. Staunch friendships were formed which con- 
tinue even to this day. Peace and prosperity seemed 
the reward of submission to the will of God as mani- 



52 GEEAT CHANGES. 

fested by those acting in His name. For seven years 
the Ursulines of Bank street were loved and re- 
spected by all who knew them. 

Archbishop Purcell would gladly have incor- 
porated the community with that of St. Martin's in 
Brown County, one of the most flourishing houses in 
the United States, to the interests of which he was 
deeply devoted, but he left the Nuns at perfect lib- 
erty to choose for themselves and was ever their 
most faithful friend and protector ; he appointed his 
own brother, Very Rev. Edward Purcell, their eccle- 
siastical superior. The Archbishop always mani- 
fested a great esteem for Mother Joseph, and at the 
return of the New Year, until the very last, he often 
began his response to her previous festal greetings 
by saying, "To you, Mother, I pen my first lines of 
the New Year." 

After seven years of fruitful labors, certain dif- 
ficulties arose of such nature as made recourse to 
the Rev. Archbishop impossible, at least such was 
the opinion of the saintly Convent confessor, Rev. 
David Whalen, brother of Rt. Rev. Richard Whalen, 
Bishop of Wheeling, Va. 

As no subjects were presenting themselves for 
admission, they signified to the Most Rev. Arch- 
bishop their desire to discontinue their labors in 
Cincinnati. He was very much grieved, and used 



GREAT CHANGES. 53 

the words: "Do you realize, Mother Joseph, that 
by abandoning your field of labor you are pulling 
down a part of the bulwarks of Heaven?" He con- 
sented, however, to their wishes, which he felt certain 
were the result of prayerful consideration; he sug- 
gested affiliation with his well-beloved St. Martin's 
Ursulines of Brown County. 

Here I turn to the interesting annals of the 
Brown County Ursulines: " During the vacation of 
1854, Mother Joseph Woulfe and Mother Baptist 
Lynch made an eight days' visit to their sisters of 
Brown County, with a view of making some decision 
in a most important matter. It had long been the 
wish of the Most Reverend Archbishop that the Ur- 
sulines of Bank street should unite with those of 
Brown County, and form but one Community, as 
there ,was a question of the dissolution of that of 
Cincinnati. Both Communities desiring to accede to 
the wishes of the zealous prelate, who was loth to 
lose the services of these talented and eminently re- 
ligious ladies, for the work of the education of youth 
in his young diocese. It was finally agreed that such 
of their number as would so desire, should make 
their future home in Brown County. Accordingly, 
about the end of October, Mother DeSales Coleman, 
Mother Ursula Dignum, accompanied by Sister 
Catherine Pohlman, Sister Johanna Rowland, Sister 



54 GKEAT CHANGES. 

Monica Coffee and Sister Teresa Lamb, affiliated 
themselves to the Brown County Community, while 
Mother Augustine England, Mother Baptist Lynch 
and Sister Veronica O'Keefe sought the celebrated 
Ursuline Convent of New Orleans. Early in the 
Spring of 1855 Mother Joseph Woulfe, Mother 
Charles Malony and Sister Agatha Klee, having re- 
turned from the Ursuline Convent of Sligo, Ireland, 
were joined on their way by Mother Baptist Lynch, 
and together proceeded to Brown County. They ren- 
dered great services to the community, as accom- 
plished teachers and most edifying Eeligious until 
they were called to other fields of labor in the cities 
of Springfield, 111., and Columbia, S. C." 

During their seven years' stay in the city of 
Cincinnati, Mother Joseph had paid in arold a sum of 
about $17,000 on the property. Unbusinesslike 
methods again prevailed; yet by advice of Father 
Whalen, she entered in a private account book the 
amounts paid, with dates, but never asked for any 
receipt in aclmowledgment thereof. This mode of 
procedure may appear most extraordinary in a per- 
son like Mother Joseph, so noted in after years for 
her great prudence and business capacity. Subse- 
quent events which have passed into history will con- 
vince any one knowing them that it was altogether in 
keeping with the time, place and persons concerned. 



GREAT CHANGES. 55 

Perhaps in no event of her life was the watchful care 
of Providence more clearly discernible than in this, 
her deeply religious abandonment to and an implicit 
trust in those placed over her. Mother Joseph's 
businesslike qualities were the outcome of painful 
experience. She was one of those to whom present 
failure is but a stepping stone to future success. 

The stay of two years in the excellent Commun- 
ity of Brown County made by the Bank street Ursu- 
lines was of much benefit to them in many ways and 
during that period a bond of lasting friendship was 
formed which proved of incalculable benefit later 
on. The ways of God are wonderful and who can 
fathom them? 

Before bringing this period to a close I will re- 
vert to an episode in the disgraceful Know-Nothing 
Riots, while Mother Joseph and her Community were 
in Bank street Convent. 

It is extremely hard to realize in the present 
days of peace and brotherly feeling, that only half 
a century ago, in a city so representative as Cincin- 
nati then was, such ignorant intolerance could exist 
as to endanger the life of an eminent Ecclesiastic 
who came from Borne in the sole interest of his own 
church. The friendly visit of the saintly Monsignor 
Bedini to the Venerable Metropolitan of Cincinnati, 
was made the occasion of a fiendish outburst of 



56 GBEAT CHANGES. 

satanic hatred against the Catholic Church. At one 
point when the Eiots were endangering not only the 
property, but the very lives of the Catholics, the 
Germans barricaded St. Mary's Church, offering 
therein a refuge to those whose homes lay on the 
route of the lawless mob. Word was sent to M/xther 
Joseph to have her household ready to depart at a 
moment's notice; accordingly each one made a small 
bundle of such apparel as would be absolutely neces- 
sary, and stood prepared to vacate their quiet clois- 
tered abode. Happily the insane paroxysm passed 
away before the terrified Nuns were compelled to 
seek refuge outside their own enclosure. The mem- 
ory of the thing remained indelibly impressed on 
Mother Joseph's mind and she often remarked that 
it was a strange return for the unselfish devotion of 
a Lafayette, a Eochambeau, a Barry and a Kos- 
ciusko. 

As in Boston, as in Charleston, the respectable 
and representative men of Cincinnati hastened to 
repudiate the actions of a party constituting them- 
selves representatives of American feeling which 
they in reality outraged by their indecent ruffianism. 



CHAPTER V. 

BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

Here I turn with a sense of relief to the Annals 
of the Springfield house, as penned by Mother 
Charles. No longer is there paucity of detail, end- 
less consulting of time-worn diaries and letters, etc. 

After the consecration of Bt. Rev. H. D. Junker, 
April 26, 1857, for the Diocese of Alton, Illinois, he 
with the Most Rev. J. B. Purcell of Cincinnati, and 
Rt. Rev. J. M. Young of Erie visited the Ursuline 
Convent of Brown County. The Religious were all 
assembled to do honor to their distinguished guests, 
and in the course of conversation the subject of the 
foundation of new houses came on the tapis. Bishop 
Young, who held Mother Joseph in very high esteem, 
turning to her suddenly asked : ' * Would you, Mother 
Joseph, be willing to undertake such a work?" 
Though surprised by the suddenness of the question, 
according so perfectly with her desires, she answered 
smilingly: "That, Bishop, would depend entirely 
on circumstances." The subject was then dropped. 
Bishop Junker, however, had heard and taken note 
of both question and answer. A few months later 
he applied through the Most Rev. Archbishop for a 

57 



58 BEGINNINGS IN SPEINGFIELD. 

filiation ; the latter having consulted with the Mother 
Superior and her councillors of the Community of 
Brown County decided that Mother Mary Joseph 
should accept the mission and be given a small band 
of helpers. Any and all of her Bank street Com- 
munity would have been glad to be taken, but being 
under obedience, they could not choose. 

On the 18th of August, 1857, five Ursulines, in- 
cluding Mother Mary Joseph, Mother M. DeSales, a 
professed Religious of Brown County, and a Novice 
of the same community with the saintly Sister Ag- 
atha Klee, left St. Martin's, where they had ren- 
dered valued services, accompanied by the good 
wishes of all and amid the heartfelt tears of many. 
Arriving in Cincinnati they were joined by the Sis- 
ters Veronica and Martha. They proceeded to the 
Archepiscopal residence, where they were met by 
Rev. P. K. McElhearne, who had been sent by Rt. 
Rev. Bishop Junker to accompany them to their new 
abode in the Capital City of the great Prairie State 
of Illinois. 

Having received the parting blessing of "the 
Archbishop, rich only in their courage, high pur- 
poses and God's blessing, they faced an unknown 
field of labor. On the 19th of August they left Cin- 
cinnati and arrived in St. Louis the following morn- 
ing. Having heard Mass and been strengthened by 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 59 

the reception of the Holy Eucharist, they remained 
at the Virginia Hotel until the train for Alton was 
due. Arriving in that city and finding the Bt. Rev. 
Bishop absent, their Eev. escort conducted them 
to the good Sisters of Charity, where, though alto- 
gether unexpected, they were most heartily wel- 
comed and hospitably entertained. They made no 
delay, for God, through the voice of their Superior, 
had called them to ' * Springfield, ' ' and they were lov- 
ingly eager to obey the summons. To labor for God 
and the spread of His Kingdom on earth are a joy 
and a privilege those only can fully appreciate who 
have dedicated thereunto every physical and intel- 
lectual faculty of their being. 

On Friday, August 21st, feast of St. Jane 
Frances de Chantel, the small band under the leader- 
ship -of Mother Mary Joseph first set foot 
in the Capital City. With a grateful sigh of relief, 
she breathed forth: "Here, O Lord, is the place of 
my abode ; I shall remain peacefully herein, because 
Thou hast chosen it for me." From that moment 
until the day of her death she loved Springfield, and 
was always deeply interested in any movement that 
tended towards its progress. 

They were taken to the Saint Nicholas, wbere 
they remained until a suitable dwelling place could 



60 BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

be procured. A little incident connected with their 
short stay was often laughingly alluded to later. 

While waiting in the parlor for the arrival of a 
gentleman with whom certain business arrangements 
were to be made, they unobstrusively took their 
places at some distance from a very gay coterie of 
ladies and gentlemen. One of the former was asked 
to give the company a little music; this, after much 
persuasion, she consented to do. Little dreaming 
that the poorly garbed, quiet group in the corner had 
among them musicians of such rare ability as Mother 
Joseph and Mother DeSales, she gave herself airs of 
superiority that were very amusing to her auditors. 
Rev. Father McElhearne, with true Celtic wit, was 
enjoying the joke, when he suddenly thought: "These 
Nuns are here to open an academy ; if I could induce 
them to play what an advertisement it would be!" 
He approached Mother Joseph to make his request. 
At first she was horrified at the thought of doing any- 
thing so conspicuous, but obedience had become the 
habit of her life and so with Mother DeSales she 
took her seat at the instrument and drew from it such 
sounds as possibly it had never given forth before. 
One burst of enthusiastic applause from the com- 
pany greeted the performance. The lady who had 
preceded them was the first to express her generous 
admiration. From all parts of the house guests 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 61 

hurried to the parlor and even the domestics clus- 
tered in the doorway, and the question flew from 
mouth to mouth, * ' Who are the ladies 7 ' ' 

In consequence, on the opening of school, the 
Convent was crowded with pupils desirous of learn- 
ing that delightful art which ' ' hath charms to soothe 
(even) the savage breast." 

At a later hour the Rt. Rev. Bishop called to wel- 
come the Nuns; unfortunately, they were absent, 
having gone with Rev. Father McElhearne to visit 
the "Hotel" which the Bishop had engaged for 
them at a rental of $600 per annum. Hearing the 
term "Hotel" applied to their future abode, they 
had fancied a somewhat imposing dwelling. What 
was their amazement to find the reality dwindling to 
the aspect of a ''way side tavern," but for Nuns 
poverty has no terrors ; the Divine Master had only 
a stable for His earthly abode. Cheerfully they 
drew from their slender purse of $391.38, the first 
month's rent of $50, and on the following day entered 
into possession of the * ' Farnsworth House, " as it is 
named in the Annals. 

Bare walls with not one article of furniture, 
greeted them. They spent the next day in procuring 
such articles as were of absolute necessity, the good 
Bishop having given them a loan of $800, which, with 



62 BEGINNINGS IN SPBINGFIELD. 

the assistance of their Heavenly Father, they repaid 
in a short time. 

Meanwhile, His Excellency, Governor Bissell, 
and his wife having learned of the arrival of the 
Nuns, sent his beautiful daughter, Miss Rhoda, and 
her cousins, the Misses Kinney, to invite them to 
take up their abode at the Mansion. Ill-health pre- 
vented Mrs. Bissell " doing herself the honor of a 
personal visit." The invitation, though deeply ap- 
preciated, was courteously declined, and that night 
the tired missionary band found needed repose on 
straw mattresses placed upon the floor. 

Will any one who has studied the annals of re- 
ligious institutions doubt that the Springfield Con- 
vent was destined to succeed when founded on such 
a base of Holy Poverty! 

As soon as the Catholics of Springfield became 
aware of the presence of the Nuns among them, they 
hastened to offer every assistance in their power. 
How many names have since been held in grateful 
remembrance! There was not a Catholic family in 
Springfield at the time that did not show eagerness 
to assist, although, like the Nuns themselves, many 
of them were pioneers and possessed little worldly 
wealth. To give a list of them would be to include 
every Catholic in the city, and yet we cannot for- 
bear mentioning Mr. J. Carmody, Mr. Kavanaugh, 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 63 

Mr. LaBarthe, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Corneau, Mr. Fitz- 
gerald, Mrs. Giblin, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Cunning- 
ham, Mr. Conners, Mr. Dennis, Mr. Martin Rafter, 
Mr. Bretz, Mrs. Trotter, Miss Murphy, Mr. Cahill, 
and Mrs. Carrigan at whose house, sewing parties 
met to make such things as were absolutely necessary 
to household furnishings. How many others would 
claim the grateful tribute of record in these pages! 
Surely God has rewarded them and their names are 
written in the Book of Life, for according to St. 
Gertrude, God always bestows a special blessing on 
all who assist on earth His consecrated Spouses. 
Many among those have continued in themselves, or 
in their children our life-long friends. It would be 
a surprise for us not to receive the offering of flow- 
ers for the altar on St. Joseph's Day from Mrs. E. 
C. Steele, the Misses Mary and Ellen Fitzgerald and 
Miss Maggie Hickey and others besides. 

School opened on September 7th, eve of the 
Nativity of our Blessed Lady, 1857. From the very 
first the patronage received was of most encourag- 
ing character. The elite of the city sent their daugh- 
ters. The Nuns expected from the first the apprecia- 
tion of their Catholic friends, they were grateful, 
but not surprised to receive it ; but the patronage of 
those who, not knowing the incalculable advantages 
of religious training, seek only secular knowledge in 



64: BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

schools, was to them a visible sign of the Almighty's 
blessing upon their labors. In looking over the old 
records how many names of more than local fame 
are inscribed thereon. General McClernand was 
ever a kind friend and patron. Mr. Lanphier, Mr. 
Hearst, Mr. Herndon. For how many favors from 
Mr. W. Herndon, Lincoln's law partner, from Dr. 
Lord, who gave his services free for nearly twenty 
years, from Mr. Chatterton, Mr. Jacob Bunn, and a 
host of others do the Nuns still feel a grateful in- 
debtedness. 

Again I feel that I would gladly search out and 
make public mention of the many who rendered pos- 
sible the success of those pioneer Nuns. 

On the 29th of September feast of the glorious 
Archangel, St. Michael, the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass was off ered on the poor little altar of that first 
chapel. It was only on the llth of the following 
October that the Blessed Sacrament could be re- 
served. After that, no hardship seemed unendur- 
able, no anxiety perplexing. God dwelt among His 
well-beloved, His watchful eye noted their most in- 
ward thoughts; His Divine Heart repaid them in 
spiritual consolations, unnowkn to the carnal-minded, 
for every sacrifice. Peace and joy were the living 
atmosphere of their lowly abode. 

On October 21st Sr. Aloysia O'Connor, belong- 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 65 

ing to the Brown County Community, left Spring- 
field, to return to her own, and in exchange Mother 
Mary Charles Maloney, in answer to fervent prayer, 
was permitted to replace her. She arrived on the 
5th of November, and needless to say, she was wel- 
comed by her former teacher and superior, Mother 
Mary Joseph, with open arms and grateful heart. 
Her other companions of Bank street Convent were 
equally pleased to greet her and now the Community 
found itself composed exclusively of Mother Jo- 
seph's former subjects. Here again I quote directly 
from the Annals: "Rev. Doctor Lynch, administra- 
tor of the Diocese of Charleston, knowing the great 
good done there by the Ursulines, had always held 
Mother Mary Joseph Woulfe in highest esteem and 
had resolved, if it were ever in his power he would 
restore, them to the diocese. He had obtained a 
sacred promise from the Venerable Archbishop of 
Cincinnati that in case the Charleston Nuns were 
called for by any Bishop within the limit of two 
years, he would not give his consent to their accept- 
ing the call. The two years had just expired when 
Rev. Doctor Lynch himself was appointed to the 
vacant See, and fearing loss of time, even before his 
consecration, he hastened to Cincinnati to prevent 
his Nuns undertaking any other mission. It is easy 
to judge his bitter disappointment upon learning 



66 BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

that just two hours before they had left for Spring- 
field. 

Wonderful indeed are the ways of God, for had 
he met them, they would never have been permitted 
to proceed to Springfield. 

Early in 1858 the generous Sisters of Providence 
of Vigo County, Indiana, sent the poor Ursulines of 
Springfield a large box of articles for the altar. 
This timely donation was most gratefully received, 
for their entire altar furnishings consisted of three 
vestments, one alb, one surplice, two altarcloths, a 
few corporals, purificators, amices, finger towels, a 
Missal, a crucifix, a set of altar cards and a pair of 
glass candlesticks, all of which had seen their best 
days. No doubt the heartfelt supplications arising 
from grateful souls have had a share in drawing 
down on St. Mary's a few of the many blessings it 
has received. 

On May 22d a little girl, Christina Muir, was 
baptized in the Convent Chapel. 

May 23d Miss Louisa Kinney, who afterwards 
married General Smith of Chicago, made her First 
Communion. 

On July 16th, 1858, the first Commencement and 
distribution of premiums took place. We here ap- 
pend the program. Strange as it is delightful, we 
are privileged to greet after over fifty years the 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 67 

Salutatorian and the Valedictorian of that far away 
day. Mrs. D. O'Crowley and Mrs. C. W. Thomas, 
the president and honorary president of our Alum- 
nae, are the two charming girls of 1858 Miss Mary 
Kavanaugh and Miss Ehoda Bissell. 

The first "Exhibition," as it was called, was 
given on the Convent grounds, which were filled with 
visitors; carriages crowded the street outside, and 
many witnessed the proceedings from the top of the 
fence surrounding the grounds. The praise bestowed 
upon the elegant appearance of the students and the 
graceful manner in which they performed their parts 
was universal, thanks to Our Blessed Lady of Mount 
Carmel, whose feast was celebrated that day. 

DISTRIBUTION OF PREMIUMS. 

AT 

THE ACADEMY 

OF THE 

URSULINE CONVENT OF ST. JOSEPH 

SPRINGFIELD, JULY 16TH, 1858. 

PROLOGUE 

SPOKEN BY 

Miss R. BISSELL, 
Academic Honors. 
"Mountain Bell" Duett. 

Pianos Misses Kinney, Carpenter, M. Carpenter, Phillips, 
Bissell, and R. Bissell. 



68 BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

Conversation in compliment to the Bt. Rev. Bishop. 

"Faingloy" 

Sung by Miss McGinnis and played by M. McClernand. 

" William Tell "-Duett. 

Pianos Misses Logan, Kelton, Hurst, McClernand, Car- 
penter and McConnell. 

"Old Folks." 

Sung by Misses McGinnis, Barret, E. Barret, Stover, Uhler, 
McClernand, McConnell and McClernand. 

PREMIUMS. 

Christian Doctrine, Rhetoric, Chemistry, Mythology, 
Ancient and Modern History, Philosophy, Astronomy, 
Familiar Science, Ancient and Modern Geography. 

ADVANTAGES OF EARLY AND RELIGIOUS 
EDUCATION. 

PERSONAGES. 

Miss Belle Morton (an heiress) Miss McGinnis 

Miss Helen Morton Miss McClernand 

Bridget (servant) , Miss Kavanaugh 

Mrs. Clinton Miss Stover 

Miss Clinton Miss Kinney 

Madam Pompous (mantua maker) Miss Herndon 

Mrs. George and Miss George .... Misses Maxcy and Taylor 

Mrs. Trullo and Miss Trullo 

Misses Woodman and Carpenter 

Francis (Miss Morton's page) Miss Lanphier 

Ladies at the Ball. .Misses R. Bissell, Phillips and E. Barret 
Mrs. Stone (a sick lady) Miss Stadden 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 69 

Sister of Charity Miss E. Barret 

Widow Blake Miss Rafter 

Darby (son of widow) Miss Kavanaugh 

Mr. Snooks Miss Quigley 

Mary Blake (daughter of widow) Miss McConnell 

' ' Grand Concert March ' ' 

Piano Miss Uhler. 

"Old Woman" 

Sung by Misses Lanphier and McClernand. 
4 'Queen's Own" 

Piano Misses Mattison, Carpenter and Logan. 
"Juvenile Chorus" 
Sung by Misses Hurst, Eddy, Adams, Meyers, Dennis and 

Schriefer. 
' ' Say, Will Summer Roses Bloom ' ' 

Sung by Misses E. Barret and McGinnis. 
"Victoria Quadrilles" 

Pianos Misses Stover, McGinnis, Kinney, Taylor, 
McClernand and Lanphier. 

PREMIUMS. 

Botany, Orthography, Reading, Composition, Gram- 
mar, Arithmetic, French, Music, Embroidery, Drawing and 
Painting. 

ELEMENTARY CLASS. 

"Matrimonial Sweets" 

Sung by Misses Lanphier and McClernand. 
"Changes of the Bell" 

Sung by Miss Stadden. 
"Rainbow Schottish" 



TO BEGINNINGS IN SPKINGFIELD. 

Pianos Misses Stover, Phillips, Kinney, Dennis, Mc- 

Clernand and Stadden. 
"Hazel Dell" 

Pianos Misses Bissell, McClernand; Guitars Misses 
Phillips, Kavanagh, Stadden and Dennis. 

Farewell Address Spoken by Miss Kavanaugh. 

PROLOGUE. 
SPOKEN BY Miss RHODA BISSELL, JUNE 16, 1858. 

Reverend Clergy, Respected Friends: For the 
first time in our beautiful Capital City have you 
been invited to assist at a Convent Exhibition, and 
I am honored by being chosen to wish you welcome. 

Did I not know the sympathetic spirit of those 
here assembled, I would feel my privilege dearly 
bought indeed, but knowing, I rejoice in the honor 
conferred. 

We do not expect to dazzle you with flights of 
eloquence, nor with brilliant musical performance, 
but we will feel disappointed if at the close you do 
not spontaneously confess you have been pleased 
and entertained. 

I appeal to each person of this large and very 
distinguished audience, to go back to his or her early 
years and to erect, as standard of the excellence 
expected of us, that by which he or she would have 
wished to be judged. 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 71 

We have studied very diligently during the past 
year, needless to say our Instructresses have been 
most painstaking and patient, and, 'with sjuch a 
combination competence on the one hand, willing- 
ness on the other results could not fail to be satis- 
factory. 

To those unacquainted with the educational 
methods of the Ursuline Nuns it may be a revelation 
to hear that the pupils regard them more as mothers 
and loving guardians than as mere imparters of 
knowledge. Herein lies precisely the vast advan- 
tage of Convent training. The confidence the pupil 
reposes in the Instructress creates a certain bond 
or tie that enables the latter to enter into her in- 
most dispositions, and so mould her character as to 
make. her not only an ornament, but also a benefit 
to society in her maturer years. This we have fully 
experienced and I tremblingly hope we may, during 
our program, give evidence by our proficiency, of 
the truth of what I have asserted, for I must con- 
fess we are most anxious to deserve your approba- 
tion. Meantime I bid you a most hearty welcome. 

VALEDICTORY. 

SPOKEN BY Miss MARY KAVANAGH, JUNE 16, 1858. 

Venerated Bishop, Respected Clergy: In this 
parting hour my heart gratefully responds to all 



72 BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 

your unwearying kindness. Standing, as it were, 
on the verge of a new life, I almost tremble at its 
unknown dangers and trials, but thanks to the holy 
teachings I have received, I can say confidently : "I 
know that my Redeemer liveth, ' ' and I will go forth 
with a calm hope, that amid the trying scenes of 
life your precepts and those of my beloved In- 
structresses may never be forgotten or neglected. 
The world lies before me with all its wonders and 
delights, but with prophetic sorrow my soul feels 
that all its pleasures can never bring the calm hap- 
piness that has been mine within the shade of my 
Convent home. I hope the future may not hold a 
more bitter pang than this parting brings today, 
when my young life first tastes the bitterness of the 
word Farewell. Never before have I felt the in- 
adequacy of words to express the deep emotions of 
which the human heart is capable. 

Looking around at the faces of companions ren- 
dered dear by all the ties of association and whom 
perhaps I shall never meet again, I would fain 
breathe to each and all how dear they have become 
to me. 

Since leaving my father's roof a ceaseless care 
has guarded my steps, an untiring and devoted love 
has surrounded me, making the bright hours brighter 
and imparting even to those of pain and sorrow a 



BEGINNINGS IN SPRINGFIELD. 73 

soothing sympathy which none but holy hearts can 
give. Hours of study have been tended so patiently 
that long ago they ceased to be toilsome and were 
only delightful. And now, for all this affection, for 
all your loving patience, dear Ursuline Mothers and 
Instructresses, I have but one word " Thanks." 

Young companions, cherished friends our paths 
diverge. In your peaceful Convent home I Jeave you 
almost envying the years that must elapse ere you 
are called on to breathe in mournful tones a long, 
a sad farewell. And oh! even in my own cherished 
home how often shall I miss 

* ' Your tones of dear delight, 

Your morning's welcome and your sweet good- 
night." 

Some of us, perchance, in after years may meet, 
and if we do, how we will love to linger o 'er the past, 
to recall each incident that made or marred our joy. 
Aye, every nook and corner of dear Saint Joseph's 
Convent will be revisited; time and absence instead 
of bringing forgetfulness will but endear to us the 
more its calm retreats and gentle inmates. 

Dear friends, how I have lingered o'er these 
parting words, striving to make them less painful 
to you, less bitter to myself, but the task is vain and 
with aching heart and trembling tones I say- 
Farewell Farewell. 



CHAPTER VI. 

PEOSPEEOUS DAYS. 

How I would like to linger over each event of 
those first years, so minutely recorded and so inter- 
spersed with expressions of thankfulness to God for 
each manifestation of His paternal care, but I must 
simply choose a few culled here and there, events of 
comprehensive type, red letter days, and pass on. 

Aug. 18th, 1858, marks the beginning of tile first 
Annual Eetreat given by the dear, good Bishop 
Junker himself. On the evening of the 23d during 
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Mother Mary 
Joseph slipped out of the chapel to answer the door 
bell. Amazement ! There stood Et. Eev. Dr. Lynch, 
Bishop of Charleston, accompanied by the saintly 
John Timon of the See of Buffalo. They were unex- 
pected, but they received a thrice hearty ' * Caed Mille 
Failtha." The Bishop came to urge his claims to 
the services of the "Bank street" Nuns. He said 
that as Charleston had been their first field of labor, 
they should return ; the people of his Episcopal City 
had never forgotten them. He pleaded most elo- 
quently for Mother Mary Joseph to re-organize her 

74 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 75 

community as its Superior. The Springfield Nuns 
loved the "Sunny South," its refinement, its hos- 
pitality, its appreciation of their labors, but Mother 
Joseph refused. Bishop Junker would not have 
given his consent. He made this very manifest, but 
Bishop Lynch declared his own claim was prior and 
such permission would not be needed. However 
much Mother Joseph's preferences might induce her 
to choose Charleston, she said: "I know the Al- 
mighty wants me here in Springfield ; we already feel 
at home, we are needed, and so dear, kind Doctor 
Lynch, you must believe it is principle and con- 
science that compel me to refuse you." He was 
deeply disappointed, but his opinion of Mother Jo- 
seph 's worth was only heightened by her honesty of 
purpose and strength of character. He left the next 
day, bearing with him the ever grateful hearts of 
"his own Nuns." Upon his return to Cincinnati, he 
was met by the little colony of Mothers Mary Bap- 
tist Lynch (his own sister) as Superior, Mary Ur- 
sula Dignum and Mary Augustine England, with 
Sisters Agnes Coffee, Teresa Lamb and Loretta (all 
Mother Joseph's Novices). They were the re-foun- 
dresses of the Charleston Ursuline Convent, in Co- 
lumbia, S. C. They remained there until their removal 
to Valle Crusis after they had been driven from 
house and home by the burning of their Convent dur- 



76 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

ing Sherman's March to the Sea. The burning of 
the Convent was a mistake, much regretted by Gen. 
Sherman, who had given orders for its protection. 

The Saturday following Rt. Rev. Dr. Lynch 's 
visit, Bishop Junker, by the advice of General Mc- 
Clernand, bought a quarter block containing a more 
roomy dwelling place, Mother Joseph pledging her- 
self for the sum of $7,000, at 6 per cent interest, when 
she did not possess one cent over and above the nrst 
installment. The Nuns moved into the house August 
30th, and the following day the first Mass was cele- 
brated beneath its roof. An ever-watchful Provi- 
dence enabled the Nuns to meet their obligations 
fully as they became due. Monday, September 6th, 
they opened their school and pupils flocked to their 
class rooms from all parts of the city. Wednesday, 
Sept. 8th, Miss Marv Rafter entered the Novitiate 
as the first Choir Novice. Here a little explanation 
may be in place. The Ursuline Order being a strictly 
educational organization, no other work is ever, un- 
der ordinary circumstances, undertaken; therefore, 
all who enter must necessarily be employed directly 
or indirectly in educational work. It is obvious that 
none but young women of good education, or capable 
of receiving it, and of such age as to be abl^ to make 
due return for time so expended, can be received as 
choir or teaching members. Others lacking these re- 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 77 

quisites may be admitted as helpers in the many de- 
partments that are required in such establishments, 
such as housekeeping, sewing, care of the sick, etc. 
Besides, the Ursulines being a mixed order, where 
the duties of the contemplative and active life are 
imposed, they must take part in the public and daily 
office of the church, by the recitation of the office, and 
other "Choral duty. Unless they had such co-laborers 
they could not fully accomplish their calling. Many 
other Orders are differently constituted and are al- 
lowed to embrace a wider range of activities. God is 
glorified in all, but each Order is bound to maintain 
its distinctive spirit and practice, and is not at lib- 
erty to adopt any other. 

Feb. 24th, 1859. The Convent was incorporated 
under, the name of the "Springfield Ursuline Con- 
vent of Saint Joseph." The act of Incorporation 
was approved the same day by His Excellency Gov. 
W. H. Bissell, of Illinois. March 19th, 1859, Miss 
Mary Rafter was received to the Holy Habit of the 
Ursuline order a ceremony in which the garb of a 
nun is assumed by the young lady. It was per- 
formed in the class-rooms having folding doors ; the 
smallness of the Chapel precluded its use, as many 
friends had implored the privilege of being present. 
"Rrt. Rev. Bishop Junker performed the ceremony 



78 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

and the sermon was preached by the great and holy 
Lazarist, Father Stephen Vincent Eyan, consecrated 
Bishop of Buffalo in 1868. Benediction of the 
Blessed Sacrament terminated the religious ser- 
vices, all of which made a profound impression on 
the audience, composed largely of non-Catholics. 

May 15th a new member, Mary Eyan, asked for 
admission. May 16th, the Most Eev. Archbishop 
Purcell said Mass in the tiny Convent Chapel. What 
a contrast to Peter's Dome, 'neath which he had 
but lately stood; but what mattered it? The same 
sinless Victim was offered as a propitiation for the 
sins of men. He visited the class rooms, dormitories 
and refectories, giving each apartment a special 
blessing, and before leaving presented the scantily 
supplied library with Father Faber's beautiful 
work, Spiritual Conferences, new from the author's 
London publishers. On the day before the Arch- 
bishop had consecrated the Cathedral of Alton. 

May 25th. The Et. Eev. Bishop called with 
dear, saintly Father Janssen, now occupying the See 
of Belleville. This was the beginning of a friend- 
ship which was destined to be the source of many 
blessings. Only the pioneers of the Diocese of Alton 
can fully realize all that " Father Janssen" meant 
to the interests of religion in these days of poverty 
and struggle. 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 79 

May 29th. Another member presented herself 
Eliza Houlihan. She had nursed Mrs. William 
Corneau in her last illness and had promised her 
she would not cease to care for her baby son until 
he was old enocgh to be entrusted to other hands. 
Faithful to this promise, she had deferred carrying 
out her desire of entering the Convent for over a 
year. 

Mr. Irwin Corneau, as a little lad, afterwards 
as a young man, for as long as she lived, never 
failed to show her the affectionate regard her un- 
selfish devotion deserved. 

July 2d. The second school closing took place. 
The exercises were held in the open air. More than 
a thousand persons attended. Here I will quote one 
newspaper notice of the event. There were several, 
all equally commendatory: "The writer of this was 
on Thursday the delighted witness of the second 
annual Exhibition at the Ursuline Academy, and the 
only regretful circumstance connected therewith was 
that all his fellow-citizens were not present upon the 
occasion, as they could have had a good opportunity 
of having removed from their eyes, the cobwebs of 
prejudice which at all times will influence many in 
fearing to entrust the instruction of their children 
to the educational orders of the Catholic Church. 
The exercises of the " Exhibition" yesterday were 



80 PBOSPEROUS DAYS. 

most creditable to the institution. The pupils of the 
minim department were most interesting and 
showed all the proficiency to be expected from chil- 
dren of their age. The young ladies of the Board- 
ing and Seminary Departments are to be congratu- 
lated on their great success. It would be difficult to 
imagine anything more full of grace than the man- 
ner in which they took the parts assigned them, or 
showing more of excellent teaching in the various 
departments of which specimens were given, than 
was made apparent in the performance of their 
several roles. Parents and guardians may feel very 
certain that while the intellectual and moral facul- 
ties of their daughters and wards are fully de- 
veloped, the graces that should soothe and ornament 
social life are not neglected in a school under the 
able management of 'Mother Joseph.* " 

May 18th. Miss Cleary, niece of Mr. Cleary 
of Jacksonville, applied, through the Et. Rev. 
Bishop, for admission as a choir Religious. She is 
a most desirable subject, being of exceptional talent 
and having enjoyed the benefits of an excellent 
Convent education. 

Aug. 18th. Exercises of the Annual Retreat. 
Sept. 5th. Opening of the Academy for the 
third year. 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 81 

On the 12th of the same month the Marine Fire 
Insurance Bank lent, without interest, the sum of 
$1,290 to pay last instalment on the property. The 
non-Catholics of Springfield have always shown 
themselves most appreciative friends of the Insti- 
tute and the Nuns never fail to remember them in 
their daily prayers. 

April, I860. Feast of the Patronage of St. 
Joseph. The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin was 
established. The Et. Eev. Bishop presented Mother 
Joseph with a valued relic of her Holy Patron; it 
was carried processionally, with lighted tapers and 
holy Canticles through all the apartments of the 
house which the Bt. Rev. Bishop dedicated anew to 
our Holy Father and Patron. 

March 13jth, 1861. Margaret Donovan, our well 
known Sister Camilla, still living, entered as a postu- 
lant. On the same day a note was received from 
William D. Power, Judge of the County Court of 
Sangamon County, 111., informing the Nuns that all 
their back taxes for state and county had, by order 
of the court, been remitted, and that in the future 
such taxes would not be levied. 

March 18th. Three sisters, first Ursulines of 
Illinois, were received for Holy Profession. 

March 19th. Feast of our great and holy 
Patron, the Et. Eev. Bishop celebrated Mass, 

6 



82 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

preached, exposed the sacred relic for veneration, 
took dinner, visited the pupils and gave his Episco- 
pal blessing to all before leaving for Alton. 

April 10th, 1861. Paid back $1,290 so kindly 
lent by Marine Bank, and thanks to God and His 
Holy Mother, the Convent, with splendid prospects, 
stands clear of debt. 

May 13th. Eev. Father Janssen, the present 
venerable Bishop of Belleville, gave the holy Scapu- 
lar in the Convent Chapel to two young men. One, 
Captain W. Cleary, gave his life for his country 
during the civil war, returning to his uncle's home 
in Jacksonville to die at the early age of 25. The 
other, Mr. J. J. Kafter, still lives, a prominent 
lawyer in East St. Louis. 

July 12th. Annual Retreat given bv Rt. Rev. 
Bishop, terminated on the 21st by Renewal of Vows 
and followed on the 22d by the pronouncing of the 
Perpetual Vows of the Order by four young Nuns 
Mothers Mary Stanislaus Rafter, Mary Austin 
Cleary and Sisters Martha Rowland and Isidore 
Houlihan. 

Sept. llth. The two lovely daughters of the late 
Governor Bissell Misses Josephine and Rhoda Bis- 
sell were baptized by the Rt. Rev. Bishop in the 
Convent chapel. The next morning they, with Mrs. 



PROSPEROUS DAYS. 83 

Bissell and her niece, Miss Kinney, received Holy 
Communion. They took breakfast with the Bt. Eev. 
Bishop, and at nine o'clock he administered Con- 
firmation to a class of five, including Misses Joseph- 
ine and Rhoda Bissell, Miss Bonnie Kinney, Miss 
Ella. Joyce and Miss Bridget Smith. 

Upon this visit the Bt. Bev. Bishop brought a 
young lady, Miss Clifford, belonging to a prominent 
Catholic family of Alton, who desired to enter the 
Novitiate. She had enjoyed the advantages of a 
good education and was musically gifted. She died 
in 1869, as Sr. St. Angela, on the feast of her holy 
patroness, at the early age of 26. B. I. P. 

I think I have given details enough to show how 
God showered His blessings on the institution; how 
carefully its spiritual needs were supplied by its 
kind Bishop and father; what devoted friends had 
risen up both among Catholics and non-Catholics. 
The Annals of these first ten years are copious and 
my pen lingers lovingly upon them but it is im- 
possible, unless I would make the book a quarto 
volume, to chronicle all those interesting details in 
which God's Providential care is so manifest. 

One more incident before closing the chapter. 

May 14th, 1862, Col. Wier, of a Kansas regi- 
ment, called to see his daughter, who had been placed 



84 PROSPEROUS DAYS. 

at the Convent by her paternal uncle with strict in- 
junctions not to make a Catholic of her. Her father, 
whose field duties had prevented him from coming 
earlier, was much pleased with everything, expressed 
his entire satisfaction and wished his little daughter 
to remain for several years longer. In leaving he 
said: "Mother Joseph, make a good Catholic of 
her." Rev. Mother Joseph, supposing he was jest- 
ing, replied: "Have no anxiety, Colonel, we are 
strictly honorable in never interfering with the re- 
ligious principles of our pupils." She was very 
thankful to God for his serious reply: "I am not 
jesting, Madam, I do indeed wish you to make her a 
good woman, and if Catholicity will make her like 
you, and she should desire to embrace it, I will not 
object." A short time after she was removed by her 
uncle, but not before her inquiring mind had ob- 
tained much information from good Sister Isidore, 
who attended to the wants of the pupils. She did 
not become a Catholic at the Convent, but in course 
of time she sought instruction, married an eminent 
lawyer of Saint Louis and her Jesuit son, Rev. 
Father Albert Wise, of the Creighton University, 
facetiously signs himself our "Adopted Grandson." 



CHAPTER VII. 

MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 

Such was the ability displayed by Mother Jo- 
seph in the management of the affairs of the house, 
that she was regarded by the business men of the 
city with whom she had dealings, as possessed of 
very high and unusual qualifications in all such 
transactions. She never, however, attributed any 
such powers to herself but always ascribed all wis- 
dom of action and all success to the Divine Assist- 
ance. Many of the best results were obtained with- 
out planning or forethought. "God will always 
take care of His own," were the words she often 
uttered. An incident, however, which took place 
about this time was credited to her far-sightedness 
and business acumen, it became somewhat widely 
known and added not a little to her reputation for 
shrewdness. 

The last few lots in the half block upon which 
the Convent stood could, Mother Joseph learned, be 
obtained, as the owner intended to sell. Mr. Meyers 
negotiated for their purchase. He reported the sum 
required, first payment of $600 and incidentals of 
the minutest kind, all to be paid in gold when it was 

85 



86 MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 

at a premium of 6 per cent and going up daily. Not 
having the coin on hand, it was to be borrowed from 
the bank, for Mother Joseph was determined to 
secure the full half block. 

As gold was advancing in value daily, she of- 
fered her creditor full payment before the stipulated 
time had elapsed, so as to save the interest. The 
acceptance of her proposition would have been re- 
garded as a great favor, but it was refused. The 
investment was considered too safe and too profit- 
able to the creditor for any change in the first ar- 
rangement. Meanwhile Treasury Notes were de- 
clared legal tender at par, and to be accepted for all 
payments. Messrs. Irwin and Corneau were de- 
lighted to settle with the Springfield Shylock in 
Greenbacks, on the very day the money was due, 
nor did it lessen their gratification that through the 
vicissitudes of war, gold rose again and soon, to an 
exorbitant premium. 

This transaction became widely known in the 
city at the time and created much amusement among 
men who confessed that it was the first time the 
grasping creditor had met his match. 

As will be seen, Mother Joseph had nothing to 
do in planning the result, nevertheless she was from 
that incident considered capable of coping with any 
business matter that might arise. 



MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 87 

June 18th, 1862. Mr. William Corneau brought 
the deed of the entire property now clear of debt, 
transferring it from Mother Joseph Woulfe, who had 
held it in trust, to the corporate body of the Spring- 
field Ursuline Convent. This "Britton" property, as 
it was called, situated at the corner of Mason and 
Sixth streets, is still used for religious and educa- 
tional purposes, although it passed long since from 
the ownership of the Springfield Ursulines. 

During the early years of the Nuns' residence 
in Springfield, the religious instruction of the Catho- 
lic children was a purpose very dear to the heart of 
Mother Joseph. She and her associates were bound 
by a special vow to the religious instruction of 
youth. The Convent had, of course, to be placed on 
a safe financial basis, means of livelihood had to be 
secured, but upon the opening of the second scholas- 
tic year a school corresponding in a measure to the 
present splendidly equipped Parish schools was 
opened. Precisely the same teachers as were in the 
Academy, employed part of their time in this school. 
The pupils who could pay did so, according to their 
means; those who could not were gladly received. 
The same consideration and courtesy were shown to 
every pupil who was taught in any and every de- 
partment. It is the child's immortal soul that is of 
paramount importance in the eyes of every religious 



88 MOTHER JOSEPH'S CABES AND ANXIETIES. 

teacher. The buildings were poor; it could not be 
helped; the furnishings were of the most primitive 
type, but the teaching in St. Angela's School was 
good. The common branches now taught in the 
schools for the first eight grades formed the curri- 
culum, but lessons in Christian knowledge and de- 
portment were also important subjects. Here I will 
quote the words of an eminent ecclesiastic of the dio- 
cese fully acquainted with the subject, published in 
the New World some years ago: "Attached to the 
Academy was a parochial school for girls where the 
attendance during its last five years averaged one 
hundred fifty. For ten years the Ursulines, although 
struggling and in poverty, provided the building, 
fuel and teachers for the children, receiving no 
fixed remuneration but such trifling sums as pioneers 
are usually able to pay for educational purposes. 
No pupil was ever refused because of inability to 
pay, and many who attended that early school are 
among the most esteemed and valued friends of the 
Nuns today. During those early years up to 1867 
Saint Angela's was the only Parish school for girls 
in the city." 

We have now entered on comparatively pros- 
perous days. The spiritual needs of the community 
were as well supplied as could be expected when 
priests were so scarce in the diocese. The assistant 



MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 89 

priest at the Immaculate Conception did duty as 
Chaplain, at a salary of $150 per annum, celebrating 
three Masses per week at the Convent. For how 
many extra spiritual favors do the Nuns owe a debt 
of gratitude! Never will they forget the services, 
friendship and good will of these pioneer priests, 
Fathers Costa, FitzGibbons, Zabel, Stick, Clifford, 
Jacques, Mangan, Vogt, Hinssen, and many others 
whose deeds are recorded on a brighter page. When- 
ever a clerical visitor came to the city the charitable 
Fathers at the old Immaculate Conception managed 
to utilize his ministrations for the benefit of the 
Nuns, and many an unlocked for Mass was offered 
up on the poor little altar of the dear old Chapel. 
Here I fall into a reminiscent mood. That chapel 
from which most faithfully ascended daily the chant 
of the Office, rises upon my mental vision. What a 
contrast to our present beautiful place of worship; 
but is the daily service more acceptable to God? Not, 
at least, because of more commodious and elegant 
surroundings. 

A tiny room about twelve by nine feet and nine 
feet high was shut off from an enclosed porch by two 
doors ; this was the sanctuary, the altar was in keep- 
ing with it. A shelf at either end upheld statues of 
Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. We have them 
yet. The porch was enclosed by windows ; they still 



90 MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 

are in use as doors for our cabinet enclosing appar- 
atus used in teaching Physics. Outside of the win- 
dows was a trellis, over which wandered a blossom- 
laden vine. Two long and low benches of pine served 
as chair stalls ; prieu-dieus at each end were used by 
Mothers Joseph and DeSales. For Mass and choir 
duty the folding doors were opened; at other times 
they were closed and the Nuns' choir served alter- 
nately as class-room or the young ladies' refectory. 
A magnificent Mason and Hamlin organ, with 
double-manual and pedal key boards had been pre- 
sented to Mother Joseph, purchased by friends at a 
cost of $600, as a surprise gift. It was placed in the 
parlor, there being no room in the chapel, and the 
glorious tones it gave out under her skillful manipu- 
lation traveled over a somewhat tortuous path before 
reaching their destination, but indeed it was real 
music, "by distance made more sweet." That little 
chapel was really and truly often most beautiful. 
The gleam of the twinkling tapers amid the sur- 
rounding gloom (there were no windows in the sanc- 
tuary), the rich odor and brilliant coloring of the 
floral, votive offerings which supplemented the poor, 
array of paper lilies and roses had a beauty, all their 
own. She who pens these lines had then, and since, 
has knelt before earth's most gorgeous shrines, but 
never can she forget that darling little sanctuary, 



MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 91 

where Heaven's glorious King dwelt with delight, 
sharing the poverty and privations of His well-be- 
loved. As the Nuns' resources increased, the Chapel 
was the first place to feel it. 

The course of events moved smoothly on in the 
tranquil life of the Convent. Yearly ceremonies of 
First Communions, receptions of the Children of 
Mary, Annual Retreats, Receptions and Professions 
of the Nuns and all the activities of a very cloistered 
Educational Order followed each other in undis- 
turbed tranquillity under the competent guidance of 
Mother Mary Joseph. 

Oct. 10th. Rev. Father J. Janssen dedicated the 
Novitiate to God under the patronage of the angelic 
St. Stanislaus, and began a Novena with the Com- 
munity, to obtain candidates worthy to bear the name 
of Ursulines. About this time the Rt. Rev. Bishop 
presented the Nuns with a magnificent oil painting, 
which once belonged to Cardinal Antonelli and which 
had passed into his hands. It is a Nativity, but the 
artist is not known ; it is very old and very fine. It 
was lent to the Chicago Art Exhibit and received 
much praise. 

On record for April 22d, 1863, I find : Seventeen 
children of St. Angela's Parochial School began their 
retreat for First Communion; it was conducted by 



92 MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 

Mother Mary Joseph, assisted by Sister Mary Stan- 
islaus. 

Sept. 15th. A magnificent ciborium, solid silver 
and heavily plated with gold, was presented to the 
Nuns by their old friend, Very Eeverend Edward 
Purcell, V. G., of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. It 
is still in use, having never needed re-plating. 

July 22d, 1864.-Bev. F. Stick left Springfield 
for Mount Sterling, and on the 29th Kev. Dr. Zabel 
left for Illinoistown. 

On the records now appear the oft-repeated 
item: "No Mass." The loss of these two excellent 
clergymen who are still living, shows conclusively 
that much of the spiritual assistance afforded the 
Nuns was due to their devotedness and zeal. It 
shows also that the diocese was growing and that it 
was hard for the Bishop to supply its needs. 

Aug. 10th. Father Anselm, a Franciscan from 
Quincy, came to supply the religious needs of Spring- 
field until some priest was appointed. 

About this time Mother Joseph determined to 
build on a larger scale. 

With the Bt. Bev. Bishop's permission, two 
Nuns went to investigate the advantages of several 
pieces of property that were for sale. They offered 
$18,000 for the Loose property, but the owners re- 



MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 93 

fused to sell under $21,000; it afterwards became 
the property of the Rt. Eev. Bishop. 

As < * Greenbacks ' ' were depreciating at a fearful 
rate, Mother Joseph was most desirous to invest in 
land. Not being able to find any building suitable 
for school purposes, she secured through Mr. Doyle 
a splendid ten-acre piece of property in the western 
part of the city for $6,000 cash, the property being 
sold for debt. Just as she was about to write to 
the Bishop for advice and permission, he appeared 
at the Convent, at an unusually late hour, on his 
way to Cincinnati, and only came to ask the Nuns if 
they were in need of funds, and he promised to ob- 
tain what was needed from Very Rev. Edward Pur- 
cell. He willingly gave his permission for the pur- 
chase of the land. 

At this time Miss Anna Laux, sister to the well- 
known hotel men of Decatur, who had been a boarder 
at the Institution, applied for admission to the 
Novitiate. She rendered great services to the Con- 
vent and many years later succeeded Mother Joseph 
as Superior of the Institution, as Eev. Mother 
Teresa. 

Again a long record of "No Masses." These 
spiritual deprivations were later a source of many 
blessings, verifying the saying that "All things work 
together for good unto those who love God." They 



94: MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 

became the moving power in making all manner of 
sacrifices to procure the service of a private Convent 
Chaplain. 

Mother Joseph's energies were now bent on pro- 
curing a suitable site for the erection of a real Con- 
vent and Academy. A fine Academy now occupied 
by the Lutheran College was to be sold for $15,000. 
Messrs. Corneau and Divilbliss accompanied Mother 
M. Joseph, Mother Charles and old Sister Agatha to 
the place, but it was found to be unsuited to their 
requirements. 

June 30th, 1865. School having been dismissed 
at noon, Mothers Charles, Stanislaus and Austin with 
good Sister Agatha, visited the ten-acre lot pur- 
chased the year before but never seen, until the Rt. 
Eev. Bishop insisted on the present inspection. They 
were delighted with the beautiful orchard planted 
under the direct supervision of His Excellency, Gov. 
Mattison, to whom the property had formerly be- 
longed. They then drove to Major Allen's property 
on North Fifth street (where the Convent now 
stands), and were very much pleased with it. On 
returning home they met Major Allen, who had pre- 
ceded them, and agreed to purchase ten acres for 
$3,000, to suit themselves as to the first payment and 
pay ten per cent on the others. 

The bargain was considered finished, no change 



MOTHER JOSEPH'S CARES AND ANXIETIES. 95 

to be made on either side. Meanwhile Rev. Father 
Busch and Mr. Bretz asked to buy a part of the prop- 
erty on Sixth street to build the German Church 
thereon. In consideration of the purpose for which 
it was to be used, it was sold to the German Congre- 
gation for two hundred dollars less than it had cost. 

After endless delays and variations, for Major 
Allen was a very weather-cock in his veerings, by 
the advice of General McClernand, Mr. W. H. Cor- 
neau, Mr. Martin Eafter and other kind friends, the 
Major's conditions were accepted and six and a half 
acres were purchased. Mr. Lane drew up all neces- 
sary legal papers for the transfer of the property, 
but would accept no fee for his services. When all 
was concluded, the Nuns collectively drew a sigh of 
relief and breathed a heartfelt "Deo Gratias." 

July 18. Mothers Mary Joseph and Mary Aus- 
tin went to Allen's Grove to select a spot upon which 
to erect the large building which is the monument of 
Mother Joseph's untiring zeal and energy for God's 
greater honor and glory, in Springfield. 

In the evening Rev. Father Costa came to call, 
to impart the welcome intelligence that as there was 
a second priest at the Immaculate Conception, the 
Nuns would have daily Mass. Good Bishop Junker 
sent from Cincinnati, through Mr. W. H. Corneau, 
his full approval of all that had been done, but urged, 



96 MOTHER JOSEPH 's CAEES AND ANXIETIES. 

nevertheless, that only the basement should be under- 
taken, because wages and material were higher than 
they were expected to be in the following Spring of 
'66. 

This was a disappointment, but to Mother Joseph 
the Bishop's voice, being that of a Superior, was the 
voice of God. 

On the 15th of August, feast of the glorious As- 
sumption of Mary into Heaven, Mr. Martin Rafter, 
a patriarchal old friend, removed the first shovel of 
earth for the foundation. This was to him a religious 
duty and a pleasure, as it was the beginning of a 
permanent home for an Institution dedicated en- 
tirely to promoting the knowledge and love of God, 
among the rising generation of Springfield. Mr. 
Enos staked off the ground and on the following 
Wednesday, August 16th, 1865, the excavation was 
begun. 

Plans and specifications had been submitted and 
approved and Colonel Schwartz was engaged as 
architect, all being placed under his superintendence. 




COLLEGE. PLAYGROUND. MONASTERY. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE NEW CONVENT. 

To the dwellers within the sacred shelter of 
Convent walls, every little happening out of the or- 
dinary routine of the tranquil, daily life becomes im- 
portant enough to chronicle, and as I wish to make 
this, perhaps too Boswellian record, a living picture 
of Convent workings I must here mention that a 
visit of five weeks from the Alton Ursulines was 
very much enjoyed and has left lasting memories. 
One of those dear Nuns who edified all by her sin- 
cere and simple piety is still living, and doing valued 
service in the Alton Convent. Later, Mothers Mary 
Joseph and Charles, being obliged to obtain special 
surgical help which Springfield could not supply in 
those days, had recourse to the great and good 
Doctor Gregory of St. Louis. They never forgot 
dear Sister Winifred, so devoted to the poor sol- 
diers, whether of the North or South. She would 
take in payment for all her care of our Nuns, only 
such things as would help her sick boys, whether 
in blue or grey. Accordingly, upon their return, 

our Mothers obtained for her from their Springfield 

7 97 



98 THE NEW COFVENT. 

friends dainties enough to fill a large dry goods box. 
Among these ' l dainties ' ' tobacco and pipes were not 
forgotten. On the return trip from St. Louis they 
stopped in Alton and enjoyed the hospitality of 
their Ursuline Sisters for a few days. A later visit 
cemented the ties thus formed, and most cordial re- 
lations existed between the Alton and Springfield 
Ursulines during all the years that elapsed between 
those distant days, and the blessed movement known 
as the Canonical Union of the Ursulines, when they 
became one body. 

Events were moving rapidly and money was 
needed to push them along. The Rt. Rev. Bishop 
advised a loan from Very Rev. Edward Purcell, and 
that the Nuns should go to Cincinnati to negotiate 
it. Rev. Mothers Joseph and Charles, dressed as 
seculars, proceeded to Cincinnati and obtained all 
the money they needed, at the legal rate of interest, 
to be paid back whenever it was convenient. No 
security was required. 

The erection of so large a building for the pur- 
poses of a private school and by ladies, in a city of 
Springfield's resources in 1866 was considered rash 
by men of known business ability. When Mr. J. 
Williams was approached for a donation, he laugh- 
ingly remarked: "I will give $100 when the roof is 
on, which will be never. ' ' When called upon to make 



THE NEW CONVENT. 99 

good his promise, less than two years later, he was 
as surprised as he was pleased to do so. 

Many means besides teaching were resorted to 
by the Nuns for obtaining funds, and a great help 
at the time was embroidery in gold bullion done for 
the army officers. General McClernand had kindly 
placed in their way this means of augmenting their 
resources. 

The Nuns were expert artists with the needle, 
and rich embroideries in chenille, bead-work, gold 
and silver bullion, and silk, were much in demand. 
What free time they had, and it was little, they gave 
to the making of the magnificent tapestry pictures 
which still adorn their walls. 

Mother Joseph had inherited from her father a 
deep horror of incurring debt without a well secured 
foundation of being able to meet her obligations as 
they came due. She had, however, to offset this, a 
profound reliance on the Providence of God and a 
firm belief that since He, through the voice of her 
Superiors, had placed her in Springfield, He would 
assist her in all the difficulties that might arise. It 
seems scarcely necessary to state that the Poverty, 
to which Nuns pledge themselves by vow, was car- 
ried to a far greater renunciation of the conven- 
iences and comforts of life than was of strict obliga- 
tion. The boarders, however, felt nothing of all this 



100 THE NEW CONVENT. 

self-denial which seemed imperatively demanded of 
the Nuns, by the conditions in which they were 
placed. It is the cry in France that Beligious Orders 
are too wealthy and this cry is sometimes taken up 
by badly informed or thoughtless persons. All good 
things may, of course, be abused, and doubtless in 
many cases are, but whatever may be the conditions 
in countries where Monasteries have large legacies 
and endowments from the dowries of the Nuns 
themselves, or from the generosity of wealthy bene- 
factors, it certainly is scarcely applicable to the 
struggling Orders of America. 

What is the Vow of Poverty? Well, it is prac- 
tically to renounce all personal ownership of worldly 
goods, possessed at the time of pronouncing it, or 
which may be inherited later. In return, the plain, 
simple necessaries of a Nun's life are guaranteed 
by the Order, with devoted care in sickness and 
prayerful remembrance after death. As she could 
claim nothing for herself in life, so the Nun can 
dispose of nothing when she leaves this vale of tears. 
Whatever of increase in the property of the Order 
may have come to it, through her exertions, remains, 
to continue through others, the work in which she 
was engaged. Thus it is apparent that the value 
of the Convent's belongings can make no difference 
in the individual life of the Nun. Conventual Pov- 



THE NEW CONVENT. 101 

erty is not parsimony, it is not economy even, as St. 
Ignatius plainly signified when he refused to pur- 
chase better cloth, although it would last longer, 
' ' because it was such as was out of the reach of the 
poor. ' ' A world that does not understand the things 
of God will say : Cuibono? The only answer is to 
be found in the asceticism taught by the Saints who 
regard the imitation of Christ as man's highest 
privilege and duty. He had not whereon to lay His 
head. He died upon a cross bereft of all, and His 
very tomb was due to the charity of favored Joseph 
of Arimathea. Love's greatest tribute is imitation. 

Were it not for this vow of Poverty made by 
the teaching Orders of the Church, it would be im- 
possible to carry on the great work of the Parochial 
schools, where the salary paid the Sisters often 
barely supplies their very frugal needs. 

A concrete example often elucidates a thing so 
much better than many words : One of the boarders 
presented Mother Mary Joseph with a black cash- 
mere apron, already made, on the feast of her 
glorious Patron ; the other Nuns were wearing calico, 
when not engaged in Choral duty. .At first Mother 
Mary Joseph demurred at being different from the 
others, but she was prevailed upon to keep it. With 
great care and frequent darnings, it lasted her the 
rest of her life twenty-five years! Who that knew 



102 THE NEW CONVENT. 

Mother Joseph will not say that in her dignified 
humility she would have been saluted as a peer by 
a princess f Yet she gloried in the livery of Christ- 
Holy Poverty. 

Colonel Schwartz was pushing work on the 
house, and in March, '67, it was already under roof. 
The street cars to Oak Ridge Cemetery were in op- 
eration and the Ursulines were shareholders. In re- 
turn, they had a free pass for two, until the line 
passed into other hands. How many of the dear ' ' old 
girls " remember with amusement, how they were 
accustomed to go down town in pairs, with the large 
green pass securely hung around the neck of the 
more trustworthy. Dear, old days! I wonder if 
they have left a legacy to the present generation 
equal in value to the refined simplicity of long ago ! 
I think they have. I am no Icmdator temporis acti, 
and I believe the Convent girl of today is just as 
sweet as those of yore; she is not so unconsciously 
simple; ergo. She must have inherited an equiva- 
lent. 

The ten-acre lot was sold, at double its value, 
for cash and in gold. 

The writer of these memoirs having entered the 
Novitiate in January, 1867, and not having yet re- 
ceived the holy habit, was utilized to go out and see 



THE NEW CONVENT. 103 

the new Convent. None of the Nuns had seen it yet. 
Good, patriarchal Mr. Martin Rafter, father of one 
of the Sisters, acted as their representative and made 
frequent reports to Mother Joseph. The postulant 
and the boarders walked out on the very sparsely 
populated Sixth street, but could not get in. What a 
splendid building it did look on the outside ! and oh ! 
the questions that were asked and the descriptions 
given at evening recreation! Sister Angela was 
afraid she would get lost in its pictured vastnesa. 
Mother Joseph was so pleased and happy as she un- 
rolled the plans and showed location of each apart- 
ment! The building was to be heated by air 
and there were four rather cavernous receptacles in 
the basement ready to receive the furnaces. Some 
visitors going through, were very much shocked that, 
in our 'enlightened times, the citizens of Springfield 
would permit poor, benighted Nuns to be placed in 
dark cells, as was practiced in the Middle Ages. 
They had seen the cells, and seeing is believing. So 
much for their logic and their knowledge of the 
Middle Ages which gave us our marvels of stained 
glass windows and Gothic architecture! 

A new set of friends and benefactors were aris- 
ing and I now find Mr. Daniel 'Crowley frequently 
mentioned. From that day to this our first Valedic- 



104 THE NEW CONVENT. 

torian's noble, Christian husband has been a valued, 
devoted and most helpful friend and adviser. 

One event which drew the eyes of the world on 
the little corner occupied by the city of Springfield, 
was the burial of the immortal Abraham Lincoln on 
May 4th, 1865. All the houses along the route of 
the funeral cortege were draped in mourning. 
Feeling was intense and some persons foolishly 
thought that the Ursulines, being from the south, 
even South Carolina, would not show sufficient 
sympathy in the nation 's woe. General McClernand 
therefore sent word to the Convent to have the 
house extra heavily draped. This was done. Little 
they knew, these ardent Abolutionists, how even Con- 
vent walls could not prevent the tears of anguish 
flowing from the Nuns' eyes at every battle lost or 
won during that awful War of Brothers. Politics and 
war were forbidden subjects of conversation. It 
was only to the silent watcher in the Tabernacle that 
the anguish of imagining a father or brother lying 
cold and dead on the silent battle-field, or languish- 
ing in some loathsome prison, was told. Nothing 
but prayer could help. Party issues were forgotten 
when the telegraph wire flashed or the daily paper 
told of one who would answer the roll call, never 
again. After the war Mother Charles 's mother and 
her nieces found in the Convent the home and shelter 



THE NEW CONVENT. 105 

from which they had been driven by "battle's fierce 
alarms." Oh! those dark days! What a price was 
paid for the blessings we enjoy under that starry 
flag which stands for Liberty and Union! I antici- 
pate, but the subject naturally suggests itself here. 
When Lincoln's statue, crowning his monument in 
Oak Eidge Cemetery was completed, a committee 
of gentlemen waited on Mother Joseph to tender 
her the honor of unveiling it, Oct. 15, 1874, in recog- 
nition of the valued services rendered the country, 
in its hour of trial, in the hospitals and on the battle- 
field, by the Sisterhoods of the Catholic Church. 
Poor Mother Joseph ! She appreciated the offer, but 
she was dismayed beyond measure, for after her 
long, cloistered life, she could not bring herself to do 
anything so conspicuous. With thanks she declined, 
and told the gentlemen that other sisterhoods whose 
life work lay in the direction of public services of 
charity in a word, some sister who had actually 
stood and served where shot and shell had made a 
wide swath of death and destruction, would be 
better suited. Such Sisters were found. 

At last, the new house was ready for occupancy. 
In the vacation of '67 the Nuns and Sisters 
went each morning to do the scrubbing and 
general cleaning. Mrs. Giblin's house on the corner 
of Fifth and Miller streets was their shelter while 



106 THE NEW CONVENT. 

waiting for the car, for they could not become accus- 
tomed to standing on a street corner. School opened 
on the first Monday of September, 1867, in the ' ' old 
house, ' ' but by the twenty-fourth, feast of our Lady 
of Mercy, when the last load of furniture, the last 
pupil of the Boarding School and the few young 
Nuns who had remained to do the teaching were 
gone, Mr. Edward Rafter locked the door, handing 
the key to Mother DeSales, who, with old Sister 
Agatha, and Mother Austin in an almost dying con- 
dition, were waiting in a closed carriage at the gate. 
This was the first time since she had entered at that 
gate, nearly ten years before, that Mother DeSales 
crossed it. They drove up Fifth street and many 
were the exclamations of wonder that the great im- 
provement in the city drew from the lips of the car- 
riage 's occupants. One little incident comes forcibly 
to my mind, in connection with the last day. Rever- 
end Father Hinssen was expected every moment in 
the afternoon, to come and remove the Blessed Sacra- 
ment to the German Church. Some decorations were 
on the altar, such as tapers and paper flowers. The 
two Novices were quite young and rather too prac- 
tical, so when the last load of furniture was ready 
to start and the priest had not yet arrived, they 
thought it would be a good idea to pack the precious 
paper flowers in an empty box and place them on the 



THE NEW CONVENT. 107 

departing wagon. Mother Austin found out what 
was being done, and although extremely weak, tot- 
tered to the door and caught the two young Sisters, 
flagrante delicto. Of course the poor flowers were 
restored to the denuded altar, as the dear sick Mother 
said: "How could you deprive the lovine: Prisoner 
of the Tabernacle of the least bit of honor, it is in 
our power to offer Him f The riches of Heaven are 
HiSj but He is. pleased with what we can give Him 
out of the 'Riches of our Poverty.' " That saintly 
soul knew Faber's works almost by heart, and when 
three months later, she lay on her death bed speech- 
less, her eyes lit up with joy when some one said: 
"Sister Austin, you will meet Faber in Heaven." 
He had died the year before. The good, holy, humble 
Bishop Junker went to his eternal reward Oct. 2, 
1867, just two months before our saintly Sister. 

Sept. 25, 1867. Eever end Father Hinssen said 
the first Mass in the new Convent and the Blessed 
Sacrament was reserved in the Tabernacle. From 
that day to this the Canonical hours have been re- 
cited daily, without an intermission. 

We read in the Holy Bible that Abraham's 
prayer obtained from God that He would spare the 
five great and wicked cities of the plain, if ten just 
men could be found in them ; they could not, and to- 
day the Dead Sea occupies the site of Sodom and 



108 THE NEW CONVENT. 

Gomorrah. Think then what a protection it is to any 
city and to any people, to have the voice of prayer 
ascending daily and almost constantly to Heaven in 
its behalf. One of the chief duties of Nuns is to 
pray for the world. Each altar upon which the 
Divine Victim is offered is a centre of Mercy. The 
saintly Dr. James O'Connor of the See of Omaha 
once said to the writer: "I regard every religious 
Community of my Diocese as a lightning rod nulli- 
fying the anger of a God outraged by the sins of 
men. ' ' 



CHAPTER DC 

BUILDING UP THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. 

The first event of 1868 that arrests our atten- 
tion is the burning of the old Convent, January 25th. 
Unfortunately the building was not insured. A good, 
old Irish couple had been left in charge and by 
some accident the place caught fire. News of the 
calamity was brought to Mother Joseph early in the 
following forenoon and her characteristic comment 
was : ' l May the holy will of God be done, and thanks 
to Him, we have another roof.'* 

This year was very prosperous and gratifying 
in the number of day pupils who continued to attend 
the Academy ; it was a very busy year also, for much 
had to be done, to put things in comfortable con- 
dition ; friends continued to be exceedingly kind. As 
the distance from the city, although bridged by the 
street car service, was considerable, spiritual aids 
were somewhat lacking and indeed it was only the 
great zeal and charity of the priests of the old Im- 
maculate Conception that rendered the situation tol- 
erable. However, it seems to me, that just in propor- 
tion to the lack of the most vital and essential re- 

109 



110 BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. 

ligious services did Mother Joseph try to supply by 
renewed fervor for such privations. The following 
words were frequently on her lips: " Remember, 
Sisters, you are Nuns first and teachers next, and 
just in proportion as you keep alive in your own 
hearts love of God and zeal for His glory, will you 
be able to do good to the young souls entrusted to 
your care. ' ' Mother Joseph was by temperament a 
disciplinarian; of all things, she required straight- 
forwardness and earnestness in those over whom she 
had charge, whether Nuns or pupils. Fidelity to 
duty was the test she applied to all professions of 
piety. She cared little for fair words, deeds were 
imperatively demanded. She had the highest es- 
teem for the Ursuline Nuns of Black Bock, Cork, 
by whom she had been tutored, and whenever she 
wished to express to a Novice that her interior 
fervor did not manifest itself in a very praiseworthy 
exterior manner, she could find nothing more severe 
and more effective to say than: "What would a 
Cork Nun think of such conduct ! ' ' Mother Joseph 's 
governing powers were very apparent in her deal- 
ings with the pupils; her simple presence among 
them created and mantained order. I do not think 
any one could imagine Mother Joseph raising her 
voice, or speaking in an unkind or rude manner to 
any one. She belonged most decidedly to the old 



BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. Ill 

school of gentle courtesy. All old timers in Spring- 
field must remember Ann Gleason, servant in Abra- 
ham Lincoln's household, and Jimmy O'Donnell, 
that preux chevalier, with the soul of a Brian Boru 
beneath his poor habiliments ; to all the world they 
were "Crazy Ann" and "the Governor" or 
"Jimmy;" to Mother Joseph they were always 
"Miss Grleason and Mr. O'Donnell." Possibly this 
courtesy, which was but the flower of her charity, 
and the florescence also of that spirit of faith which 
sees in the individual the image of God, was the cause 
of the return of deference she elicited from others. 
I have read many works on Pedagogy, giving di- 
rections and hints as to the best methods of preserv- 
ing order in the class ; I have never known anything 
superior to Mother Joseph's living example. Al- 
though I know it is a cardinal point when dealing 
with others, to bide one's time for correcting faults, 
in Mother Joseph's case this did not seem necessary. 
She let nothing pass and such was her ascendency 
that persons seemed to consider whatever she said 
was law and gospel, not to be questioned, much less 
criticised. While of very serious disposition her- 
self, she loved to see those around her cheerful and 
happy. "God's service," she would say, "is one of 
love, one of willing obedience, why therefore should 
we be sad?" She liked the American character 



112 BUILDING OF THE SPIBITUAL. EDIFICE. 

greatly because of a certain fearlessness which made 
one straightforward, although the children often 
amused her by trying to avoid blaming themselves, 
when acknowledging that they had done wrong. "I 
think," she said one day, "that the passive form 
of the verb was made especially for the American 
child, since one can therewith express the action 
without naming the agent, actor or doer. If a child 
breaks a glass or tears her frock, she will acknowl- 
edge it, saying: " Mother, the glass was broken," 
or * * My frock was torn, ' ' but never is the inculpating 
form of "I broke or I tore" used. Anything like 
cant she held in special abomination, and when she 
spoke of God or spiritual things, it was as one chary 
of revealing secrets or sentiments too higrh and too 
holy for ordinary conversation. I am well aware 
that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh," and I do not mean to imply that she 
avoided spiritual subjects or phraseology, for this 
would be untrue. She had the beautiful Irish cus- 
tom of adding, "God rest his or her soul!" if she 
ever spoke of the dead. "Glory be to God," or 
"Thanks be to God," would spontaneously come to 
her lips whenever she was surprised, shocked, sad- 
dened or pleased; but that exuberance of pious ex- 
pression which is so often found among some per- 
sons, without apparently any corresponding re- 



BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. 1 13 

ligious feeling, at least as expressed in deeds, was 
very distasteful to her. I remember hearing her say 
once: "Do you realize that you are expressing sen- 
timents that would do honor to a seraph, and yet 
your conduct in this matter, would shame an ordinary 
Christian?" 

I do not know why it has always seemed to me 
that Mother Joseph belonged more to the type of 
Saints of the Old Law than of the New a Judith 
the strong woman of the Bible, loyal to her 
God as to her Creator and her King. A woman 
of action, of deeds, who counted no difficulties when 
duty called. She would have died for a cause, but 
she would not have said much about it. She never 
sanctioned encouraging the pupils to act from a 
spirit of honor. She would say: "Honor is a nat- 
ural, pagan virtue; sanctify honor by making it 
obedience to God's will as manifested in those who 
have a right to dictate what our conduct shall be; 
by acting thus we glorify God and gain merit. It 
is such a loss of time to do things except for Gocl, 
who deserves all our homage, not only because He 
loves us so much, but because it is from Him we hold 
all we possess." Children were not to be reasoned 
with, but taught to obey because God has given a 
Fourth Commandment : ' ' Honor thy father and thy 
mother. ' ' 



BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL, EDIFICE. 



Sometimes one got glimpses of a deep and ten- 
der spirituality. Mother Joseph had almost to be 
surprised into talking of herself. One day some of 
the Nuns were speaking about which of the fourteen 
Stations of the Cross inspired most piety. When 
Mother Joseph was asked she answered instantly: 
"I always love the Fourth; it is so pitiful; at the 
Sixth I ask for the grace of having God always in 
my mind, and I am so relieved at the Thirteenth, be- 
cause the ^gentle, patient, loving Mother must have 
felt a sad, but real consolation to know her Divine 
Son's suffering was over forever." Here let me 
add that for the last thirty-five years of her life, she 
never failed to make daily the Way of the Cross as 
a work of supererogation. 

The school attendance for '68 and '69 was par- 
ticularly good, many young ladies coming from the 
South; so that for the next ten years the list of 
boarders represents pupils from Louisiana, Ala- 
bama, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky. As 
far as it was prudent to do so, the Nuns gave reduced 
rates to their friends in the South whom the war had 
stripped of their possessions. Being people of the 
class that place education above most natural bene- 
fits, these Southern patrons denied themselves in 
every way to procure its blessings for their children. 
Sometimes they could not pay in cash, and it is thus 



BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. 



that the Convent came into possession of its magnifi- 
cent harp, as also of its plate, china and glass. 
Mother Joseph was an expert harpist. 

On March nineteenth, eighteen sixty-nine, Miss 
Enright was received to Profession under the name 
of Sister Mary Augustine. Hers was the first cere- 
mony of the kind performed in the new Convent, 

Mother Joseph felt that her Community rested 
on a good financial basis and while she had never 
allowed the importance of the material to 
dwarf its spiritual interests, her comparative 
freedom from business worries left her greater 
liberty to bend her energies to increasing its num- 
bers and forming her Novices to more monastic cus- 
toms than had been possible, in the narrow quarters 
of the ''old house." She knew Canada to be the 
nursery of religious vocations, so she determined to 
go there for subjects. Bishop Junker was dead and 
his successor had not been named, so she asked the 
Ecclesiastical superior appointed by Bishop Junker, 
and who was Pastor of the German Church, to get 
her the canonical permissions required. He did so, 
obtaining the duly signed letter of recommendation 
from the Most Reverend Archbishop Kenrick, Met- 
ropolitan of St. Louis. 

Several Novices accompanied the Nuns back 
from Canada, but as their views, customs and ideas 



116 BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. 

were foreign to the spirit of America, only one per- 
severedSister M. Guyart, who was a graduate of 
the famous Ursuline Monastery of Quebec. 

The best result of this trip was the acquaint- 
ance then begun with the Religious of this great 
monastery, founded by the Venerable Mother Mary 
of the Incarnation, called in history the Theresa of 
New France. This friendship was destined to be of 
incalculable service to the Springfield house in later 
days. 

Mother Joseph still, however, felt great anxiety 
about the 1 1 debt ' ' on the building. The younger por- 
tion of the Community who had heard of the money 
paid for the Bank street house in Cincinnati, for 
which they thought no adequate equivalent had 
ever been received, asked why it should be 
deemed necessary to repay the loan made from Rev. 
Father Edward Purcell. In well organized religious 
communities the young Nuns are generally very 
silent partners. However, Mother Joseph's prac- 
tical good sense was struck by the justice of the ob- 
servations made; Mother Charles accordingly asked 
him to give the matter some consideration; this he 
did, but without acknowledging any obligation, as he 
had acted in the matter as was covenanted at the be- 
ginning. This was strictly true. So he presented 
Mother Joseph with the amount still due as a mark 



BUILDING OF THE SPIRITUAL EDIFICE. 117 

of his appreciation for the great work she had done 
for God and His Church. Was not the finger of God 
in this most timely proceeding? 

Poor, misunderstood Father Edward Purcell! 
A tear falls upon the page that records the tragedy 
which broke his noble heart. He died Jan. 20th, 
1881. Awaiting the glorious resurrection, he rests 
in the grave beside his mother, in the cemetery of the 
Ursulines of Brown County. 

The only legacies ever left to the Springfield 
Ursulines came from a good old Irish Catholic Mr. 
J. Locke whom they had never seen but who, ap- 
preciating what a boon Christian education is, left 
$1,200 to the Ursulines because they are religious 
teachers, and $500 from Mr. Brady. May they rest 
in peace ! 



CHAPTER X. 

PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 

Rt. Rev. Bishop P. J. Baltes, D. D., was conse- 
crated Jan. 23d, 1870. With his administration began 
a new era for the Ursuline Convent. During the 
earlier period, from the organization of the Diocese 
in 1857 up to the present, there had been so much 
to do in providing for its most essential needs that 
the subject of Catholic education had occupied a 
subordinate position; but the West was awaking 
to the imperative need of educating the rising gen- 
eration in Catholic doctrine and practice, if the Faith 
were to be preserved; this was pre-eminently the 
work of the Parochial School. Private Academies 
were good in their way, but they could not reach 
out to the masses. The new Bishop was in position 
to insist on the erection, support and patronage of 
Catholic Schools; he did so, and very radically. 
There were but few religious orders in the Diocese. 
When Father Mangan of Mattoon determined to 
procure Nuns for his parish, his fellow priests told 
him it would be useless to apply to Springfield, as 
those Nuns were fitted for teaching the higher classes 

118 




REV. T. COWLEY, 
First Resident Chaplain of the Convent. 



PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 119 

only. He knew better, he knew the Irish Ursulines 
and he knew that, like the Soggarth Aroon, the faith 
of their fellow countrymen was too dear to their 
hearts for them not to strain every nerve for its 
preservation. 

No Nun of the Convent today can imagine the 
strange sensation it was to those who had so long 
been accustomed to the seclusion of the Cloister, to 
have it relaxed, so as to permit them to fulfill suc- 
cessfully their new duties Ursulines teaching boys! 
I suppose such a thing had not occurred in the tri- 
secular period of the Order's existence. Mattoon 
was the first Mission. Mother DeSales, the Super- 
ior, was accompanied by four Sisters. Here I again 
quote the New World. In speaking of the saintly 
Father Mangan the following occurs: " After try- 
ing lay teachers for a time, he secured the services 
of the Ursulines of Springfield to teach in the Pa- 
rochial schools. They achieved phenomenal success, 
being patronized by all classes." They taught in 
Mattoon for eight years, and upon several occasions 
have been requested to resume their work there. 
These Parochial schools were accepted in Jerseyville 
and Petersburg also. The arrangement was to remain 
for ten months, then return to the Mother House for 
the Retreat and vacation. The Sisters were liable 
to be changed each year. While on the Mission they 



120 PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 

took charge of the Sanctuary in the Parish Church, 
helped to prepare the children for the Sacraments, 
especially First Communion, accompanied them to 
the Church and watched over them during Divine 
Services ; all this outside of the regular teaching of 
at least six hours per diem. Sunday was generally, 
as it still is, the busiest and most fatiguing day in 
the week. The education given in the Parochial 
School proper is that of the Grammar Grade called 
the Eighth. At present, magnificently equipped 
schools are in operation in the Diocese, where even 
branches of the High School are taught. In the 
early seventies Mattoon enjoyed these advantages, 
although the buildings were poor. The acceptance 
of these schools at the time was a grave mistake, as 
Mother Joseph saw later. She had given up that 
in Springfield itself, where it would have been most 
natural to continue a work already begun. Again 
some of the younger American Nuns saw the mis- 
take and proposed using the "old house" before 
it was burned, but neither their pleadings nor 
their suggestions prevailed. They were Nuns, their 
first duty was obedience 

"Theirs not to make reply, 
Theirs not to reason why." 

Out of the Mattoon schools came many vocations. 
Two of the boys of those days are now Priests, and 



PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 121 

quite a dozen of the girls are Religious in various 
Orders. In 1881 the Springfield Ursulines gave up 
the work except in their own city where they con- 
tinue to teach at St. Joseph's Parochial School, 
which has proved a nursery of ecclesiastical and 
religious vocations. 

When the missions were first undertaken the 
Academy was in a most flourishing condition; there 
was a well patronized Day School, a fine Boarding 
School, for the times, a large music class and a most 
promising special French class, among the pupils 
of which was Abraham Lincoln's niece. 

In 1871, or thereabouts, a community of Fran- 
ciscans of Munster, Westphalia, fearing expatria- 
tion under the unscrupulous sway of Bismarck, ap- 
plied for admission into the Diocese of Alton, that 
they might have a home in case the threatened blow 
should fall! Their work was Hospitals; they were 
most joyfully welcomed in Springfield, and while 
waiting for the purchase and remodeling of a house 
they were the guests of the Ursulines, where they 
rendered many services in sewing and mending ; they 
also studied very diligently the English language 
and made marvellous progress. There were six 
under the superiority of Mother Ulrica. There are 
now eighty-nine sisters in the Springfield Mother- 
house, which has seventeen dependent houses in 



122 PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 

America. Among their members they number some 
Ursuline pupils. Up to this day they hold, in all- 
too-grateful remembrance, the services God was 
pleased to do us the favor of being in position to 
render them. 

At last a private chaplain is secured! Rev. 
Father Cowley, "who never made an enemy and 
never lost a friend." He was too delicate to do 
parochial duty and as the Bishop knew he would be 
well cared for by the Nuns, he was appointed to the 
Chaplaincy. Ever since, the great blessing of daily 
Mass, with many other spiritual favors, has been 
ours. A pretty and convenient cottage was bought 
on Sixth and Eastman for Father Cowley 's accom- 
modation. There he passed in peace and comfort 
the last six years of his short life. Owing to his very 
amiable disposition his cottage was the rendez-vous 
of all the priests who came to the city; they were 
always welcome to the Convent then as they 
are now. Father Cowley was most zealous 
in the discharge of his duty, especially in 
his Catechetical instructions to the pupils. On 
the Feast of the Epiphany, 1881, as he was com- 
ing to dinner with a poor Missionary from Lapland, 
he was suddenly seized with a violent pulmonary 
hemorrhage. The priests of the city were notified, 
the last sacraments were administered, even before 



PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 123 

he could be placed on his bed. He lingered, how- 
ever, for a week and expired in the apartment then 
called the Library, Jan. 13th. His remains were 
interred in the centre of the Nuns ' Cemetery and the 
priests of the Diocese placed a handsome head-stone 
over him. Seventy priests, headed by Very Eev. 
Father Janssen, V. G., assisted at his funeral. Al- 
though the body had been kept several days, owing to 
snow blockades on the route, his mother arrived too 
late from Wisconsin to assist at the funeral. With 
true Celtic faith, however, she felt fully consoled for 
her great disappointment when she heard on all sides 
the testimony rendered to the sanctity and priestly 
life of her ''curly-headed little lad who had been a 
saint from the cradle." 

With his death, Mother Joseph seemed to lose 
her touch with the younger generation. All the 
old Nuns, the companions of her earlier days, were 
gone; particularly did she miss Mother Charles. 
New ideas, especially in educational methods, were 
in the air. Novices had come from different parts 
of the country, many of them eminently qualified to 
urge on the work, as to methods and branches of 
study, but Mother Joseph was of the old school and 
all authority was in her hands. With a sweet humil- 
ity she often expressed the fear that perhaps she had 
not given attention enough to the religious formation 



124 PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 

of the rising generation of Nuns, while on the con- 
trary, the waning fortunes of the Academy were due 
chiefly to her clinging so tenaciously to her oft- 
repeated apophthegm: "You are Nuns first and 
teachers next." This really was intended to mean 
that the Nuns were distinctly religious educators 
in its broadest sense; that the development and di- 
recting of the mental powers, while keeping the moral 
side in strict and loving conformity with God's re- 
quirements of His creatures, as expressed in His 
Commandments and by the voice of the Church, was 
the aim of all education. Surely she was right, 
but she failed in details. There was nothing 
incompatible in the new, if properly used, with this 
broad and sound view. Of course there was fad- 
ism, and that was avoided ; but the school was daily 
losing in reputation as an "educational" centre, 
especially in the minds of those who incapable of 
judging for themselves, thought novelty was prog- 
ress. The physical care of the children was of strict 
obligation. Cleanliness, fresh air (how Mother 
Joseph did love it!), exercise and good substantial 
food were never lacking; these were pretty good 
substitutes for the fads of today. A game of Prison- 
ers ' base played with the vim of those days, although 
it entailed torn clothes, quickly worn-out shoes and 
such minor evils made the blood course with health- 



PAROCHIAL, SCHOOLS. 125 

ful rapidity through young veins and brought every 
muscle of the body into play. A constant teaching 
of Mother Joseph was that an Ursuline should love 
her pupils sincerely and wisely, but always as a 
mother, never as a companion. ' ' Familiarity breeds 
contempt" served frequently as a text for the Sun- 
day instructions she was wont to give her novices. 
"You must not only win the children's good will in 
the present, you must compel their respect in the 
future, when, with mature judgment, they will look 
back and find that the love of their young hearts was 
given to persons worthy of it. ' ' It was little short of 
a crime for the Sisters to encourage sentimentality, 
softness or effeminacy in those committed to their 
charge. She certainly in this respect practiced what 
she taught, and today her memory is held in venera- 
tion by hundreds of old pupils who find in her re- 
membrance incentives to higher things. Mother 
Joseph was very punctilious in matters of good 
breeding, table manners, passing salutations, offers 
of service to elders. Woe to the girl who would put 
her arms on the table while eating! Who would sit 
in an unrestrained manner without pulling 
her dress modestly down over the knees! 
She used to say, that if the Blessed Virgin 
could blush in Heaven, it would be to see one of her 
daughters on earth lacking in that sweet virtue, of 



126 PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 

which she is the model and the queen. A certain 
deference of manner was the constant object of her 
instructions it had its root in unselfishness, in self- 
denial, in respect for elders. If a Sister complained 
that the pupils were difficult to govern, unpunctiial, 
careless, she would be very apt to hear: "Govern 
yourself, my dear, and you will govern others," or 
"Be the children's model in the virtues you strive 
to inculcate; you are responsible for their souls." 
No pupil would have failed in standing aside in hall 
or on staircase to let a Eeligious pass, nor allowed 
her to carry an article without offering assistance, 
nor to open or close a door she standing by, or would 
she sit in a more comfortable chair than the presid- 
ing mistress. It is only the other day one of the 
Alumnae of many years ago said to me: "Do you 
remember how we had to carry a piece of board or a 
shingle around to sit on, when we went to distant 
parts of the grounds where there were no benches, 
lest we should take cold by sitting on the bare 
ground ! " I did remember, as also the head boards 
that had to be worn at certain times, to insure up- 
right carriage of the body. Recreations were very 
gay, but the Nuns' vigilance never relaxed. Those 
recreations were a school of correct expression, of 
courteous and Christian forbearance. Woe to the 
girl who said : * ' I should have went, " or " she seen ' ' 



PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 127 

or ' 'he done it. ' ' Some of the best stories in prose or 
verse of the English language were told b the girls, 
or by them, to their companions at recreation. It 
goes without saying, slang was tabooed,, but oh! 
think of Romeo and Juliet told, with the love left out, 
by a young Mistress on week, to her charges ! 

The wisdom of the teachings of the members of 
Religious Orders is not always a thing of personal 
equipment ; it is a tradition, the comprehensive form 
of all that is handed down through the centuries, a 
crystallization of a thousand experiences. I hope I 
will be pardoned if again I use a concrete method of 
illustrating what I say. 

I am sure I will be sustained by all who have 
experience in the direction, that a young girl engaged 
to be married is an unmitigated pest in the class- 
room. She has passed the portals of childhood, her 
experiences are essentially interesting to every 
young girl; but oh! how antagonistic to the calm, 
peaceful atmosphere of student life. It is not in the 
nature of things that when the strongest emotions of 
which the heart is capable, are clamoring for the out- 
let, at least of expression to some sympathetic lis- 
tener, they should have to be kept pent up ; it is more 
than human nature can endure. Then think of a 
lot of youngsters whose curiosity and interest are 
stimulated by the novelty of the thing and judge 



128 PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 

how hard it is for the poor teacher to keep them 
down to uncongenial tasks. Well, such was the con- 
dition of things when a young Nun went to Mother 
Joseph, saying: "Oh, Mother, I don't know what 
to do with Miss so and so; I wish you'd send her 
away. She just upsets the children, and when I am 
doing my best, she passes down a sample of her 
wedding trousseau to some one in the class, and the 
girls just laugh at my evident annoyance. ' ' Mother 
Joseph couldn't help smiling as she replied: "Why, 
dear child, should I send her away ! Because you have 
been privileged to choose the Immaculate Lamb for 
your everlasting inheritance is no reason why every 
one else should; it is no harm to be engaged to be 
married, surely." "Oh, but Mother, she is so friv- 
olous and such a detriment to the other girls ! This 
morning I was giving a lesson in Geology, and be- 
cause one of the formations had her young gentle- 
man's name, all the girls giggled, and I could do 
nothing." Of course Mother Joseph smiled, but, 
seeing the evident distress of the young: Nun, she 
said: "Now, I think this is a splendid opportunity 
for you to do good to Miss - . Call her pri- 
vately and give her a little talk on the sacredness and 
seriousness of the great Sacrament of Matrimony. 
You will often be called on, later in life, to console 
and counsel, for no one, except a confessor, knows 



PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS. 129 

more of the woes of life than a Nun, to whom old 
pupils often come for comfort in their darkest hour. ' ' 

Well, the poor little Nun, only four years older 
than her pupil, sought for such information on the 
subject as could be got in a Convent Library. Armed 
with this, she called the young lady and beginning 
with Adam and Eve in the garden of Paradise and 
ending with the wedding of Cana in Galilee, she 
really made such an impression of the sacredness, 
seriousness, dignity and responsibility of the mar- 
ried woman that the young lady was moved to tears 
and said, "Why, getting married that way, seems 
almost as holy as being a Nun! I never thought of 
it in that light. I'm going to be just as good as I 
can be, but may I not talk to the grown girls about my 
trousseau!" This concession was made to human 
weakness and the half hour of collation was set apart 
for the confidences. 

The young lady graduated in June and imme- 
diately after, in her graduating gown, accompanied 
by two of her companions as bridesmaids, drove 
down with Reverend Father Brady to her aunt's 
house, where the nuptial ceremony was performed. 



9 



CHAPTER XL 

CHANGES. 

Mother Joseph was no longer young, the oner- 
ous duties of superiority weighed heavily on her; 
times were changing, and what was demanded in the 
education of young girls in the past was no longer 
acceptable; therefore placing younger persons in 
positions of responsibility seemed the proper thing 
to do. She offered her resignation to Rt. Rev. 
Bishop Baltes. It was accepted and in the election 
that followed Mother Teresa Laux succeeded Mother 
Joseph. This rotation in office has been in full force 
ever since, the following Religious filling the place 
either in terms of three or of six years, except where 
death or resignation called for a substitute to fill out 
the term: SUPERIORS: Reverend Mothers Teresa, 
Ste. Croix, Ursula, Ignatius, Paul. The year after 
the first election a Foundation was made in Dakota 
under the saintly Bishop Martin Marty's auspices. 
Our acquaintance with this Bishop was made years 
before, when Mother Joseph was anxiously search- 
ing for a Chaplain. In reply to a request for a 
"good, old Monk who would be greatly appreciated 

130 




CHAPEL. GROTTOES. 



CHANGES. 131 

and kindly treated," the Bishop wrote Mother 
Joseph : 

"Dear Reverend Mother : Nothing would please 
me better than to accept the position for myself, for 
I am getting to be an * * old Monk, * ' although, I fear, 
not a very good one ; but I cannot, although there is 
no one here who could be better spared. However, 
I shall keep an eye out, and if I can serve you, I 
will." At this time the Bishop was mitred Abbot 
of St. Meinrad's, Indiana. 

A Polish priest of Detroit, wishing to 
form a congregation of women to devote them- 
selves to educational work among their own people, 
asked the Springfield Ursulines to undertake the 
training of them. They in turn applied to the Ur- 
sulines of Quebec for some Nun of experience in 
such work, and Rev. Mother Ste. Croix Holmes, a 
relative of our own Oliver Wendell, a convert her- 
self to our faith, a gifted authoress and artist, was 
sent, accompanied by a saintly professed Novice, 
Sister St. Dominique. The Polish Novitiate did 
not succeed, and the young women returned to De- 
troit, where the zealous clergyman undertook the 
formation of the new congregation himself. 

It was extremely gratifying to Mother Joseph to 
hear from Mother Ste. Croix that many of the Cus- 
toms of the Springfield Community were more in ac- 



132 CHANGES. 

cordance with the original ones of the Paris Congre- 
gation, than were those of Quebec itself. This was 
easily accounted for. Mother Borgia McCarthy had 
been the Novice of the Mothers from Rue St. Jacques, 
Paris, who founded the House of Black Eock, Ire- 
land. Mother Joseph, in turn, having received her 
education in Black Bock, and been formed to the 
religious life by Mother Borgia, had preserved, with- 
out admixture, the traditional customs; whereas 
the Quebec House having been founded from Tours 
and of that Congregation, had only grafted on to 
their rule that of Paris, to which they became aggre- 
gated some three hundred years ago. Mother Ste. 
Croix made a very kind and most acceptable supe- 
rior. She was recalled during her first trien- 
nial, to her own house, just as the community was 
beginning preparations for Mother Joseph's Golden 
Jubilee of Profession in 1887. 

The Quebec Nuns were most generous in their 
helpfulness and were not willing to accept any re- 
muneration for services rendered, nor even traveling 
expenses to and from their distant home. 

Their memory is held in highest respect, and 
they will be handed down to future generations as 
valued benefactors. Mother Ste. Croix is now past 
ninety years, but never forgets us, and her beautiful 
letters are ever read with appreciation and gratitude. 



CHANGES. 133 

This Jubilee was made the occasion of many 
expressions of the high regard in which Mother 
Joseph was held by all her old friends and pupils of 
Springfield. She was exceedingly gratified, but 
with her distaste for anything like public praise, she 
begged that the panegyric usual upon such occasions 
would be omitted. Her wishes were respected. 
Seven of the oldest priests in the Diocese were in the 
Sanctuary for the Solemn High Mass. The Diocese 
was without a Bishop, Bt. Rev. P. J. Baltes having 
gone to his eternal reward the year before, and his 
successor not having yet been appointed. 

The number seven had figured largely in Mother 
Joseph's life and it was noticeable that seven priests 
were at her funeral. A much larger number would 
have been present but for the day, October thirty- 
first, vigil of a feast of obligation, when they could 
not be absent from their parishes. Mother Joseph 
made her vows in '37, went to Cincinnati Diocese in 
'47, came to Springfield in '57, completed and moved 
into new Convent in '67, celebrated her Golden Jubi- 
lee in '87 ; there was even a longer list than this, but 
it is now forgotten. 

Now peaceful, holy, happy days came to crown 
Mother Joseph's life of self-sacrifice. As long as 
she lived, she was a power in the house she had 
founded. She was surrounded by every comfort she 



134 CHANGES. 

would accept. Think of that long life of fifty years 
of self-sacrificing devotion to a holy cause! Little 
ruses were resorted to in order to cheat her into less 
severity towards herself. It was only after it had 
been made manifest to her from the wording of the 
Constitutions that " Foundresses " were entitled to 
some relaxation of discipline, that she consented to 
place her hour of rising at five-thirty instead of five 
o'clock, as had been her life-long custom, and who 
had ever known Mother Joseph to be absent from a 
regular observance without some imperative call! 
She had transacted much business, met many people, 
but the sound of the meditation or office bell, was the 
signal for giving any one, except a superior, his or 
her cong6. 

Those who know the difficulty of the constant 
and monotonous routine of the religious life will 
understand what that punctuality and regularity 
meant. She would sometimes say laughingly: "My 
father was a military man, so self-discipline is an 
inheritance with me, and I deserve no praise ; besides 
my first duty is good example." 

Mother Joseph's mental activity, clear sighted- 
ness and business capacity never waned; her physi- 
cal powers only, became less as she grew older The 
gentler side of her character revealed itself. She 
showed great love, especially for little children. The 



CHANGES. 135 

dignified bearing which had erected something of a 
barrier between herself and the members of her own 
Community even, mellowed into a gracious tender- 
ness. Mother Joseph in her old age became more 
pleasing than she had ever been. Her musical talents 
seemed to suffer no diminution, she remained organ- 
ist until her death, not because she desired it, but 
because really there was no one who would not have 
felt she deprived God of a more perfect praise by 
taking her place. She kept a class of music 
pupils until ten days before her death and 
was as punctual to time of giving and duration 
of lesson as if she had been a young nun. It is 
almost impossible to picture Mother Joseph un- 
employed. Much time in her declining years was 
spent in the Chapel; it was her place of rest. She 
spoke 'to God of sinners, of the needs of the poor, 
for whom she always had had a tender feeling ; of the 
trials and needs of the Church ; of the Holy Father ; 
of the souls in Purgatory; of the old pupils none 
of whom she forgot, and of the "needs of the 
House" good Nuns, numerous pupils." Those 
needs of the House she confided especially to her be- 
loved and trusted St. Joseph. As long as she lived, 
on every available occasion, his statue was decorated 
with a grand marshal's silken sash, worn across the 
shoulder and fastened with a fine jewel, the wedding 



136 CHANGES. 

brooch, I believe, of the mother of one of the Nuns. 
On his head he wore a ducal crown which Mother 
Joseph herself had manufactured, at the very busiest 
period of her life. She delighted in making antepen- 
diums for poor altars. These, though of poor ma- 
terial, were really most artistic, a border of raised 
golden grapes and wheat on a white background and 
a monogram in the centre. 

Emerson, I believe it is, that says : ' ' We often 
find in the living subject qualities which theoretically 
are incompatible." Is not this verified in Mother 
Joseph? Almost masculine self-reliance, coupled 
with childlike simplicity. The laws of Nature typify 
those of the moral world and perhaps the vis vita* 
of organic bodies is the symbol of this apparent 
contradiction. 

Mother Joseph had all her life had a particular 
dread of death, a certain physical shrinking which 
all her Faith, and it was of the Celtic brand, could 
not overcome. Death was indeed the punishment 
an omniscient God had imposed on sin; she could 
not look upon it as a short dark passage to never- 
ending joys. Sometimes she used to say: "I shall 
simply die of fright when I come to the point, but 
you must tell me, for I would not wish to avoid a 
knowledge that would benefit my sinful soul." 



CHANGES. 137 

What happy years were those three last of 
Mother Joseph's life! Owing to her malady, she 
had almost completely lost all appetite or power of 
assimilating any sustenance, but even then she did 
not realize the hour was about to strike, that would 
finish her earthly career. At last about the feast of 
St. Ursula, the Patroness of the Order, extreme 
weakness compelled her to take to her bed. Dr. 
Walter Kyan, in whose skill she trusted greatly, and 
who had been a valued friend, rendering his eminent 
services free of charge, was summoned. Judging 
from the gravity of his looks that there was 
danger, she said: "Tell me, Doctor, am I 
going to die?" Her lips trembled and his 
kind heart prompted him to evade an answer, 
but she was insistent, so he said: "Yes, 
Mother, you probably have but another week to 
live." She closed her eyes and her lips uttered that 
"Fiat" which makes of awful necessity, heroic sac- 
rificethe humble acceptance by the weak creature 
of the decree of a just God, Who strikes in loving 
mercy. With the acceptance, all terror passed away. 
She thought only of "making hay while the sun 
shone," gaining merits and Indulgences by almost 
constant prayer. Every spiritual assistance was 
given her, by her own Nuns, the Confessor and the 
Convent Chaplain. She seemed to suffer little or no 



138 CHANGES. 

pain, and on the twenty-seventh she fell asleep and 
so slept until she passed away, without waking, 
October twenty-ninth, 1890. So gently did the end 
come, that the Rosary she held in her hands was not 
disturbed, and it was only by the cessation of her 
breathing that those kneeling around her for many 
hours in relays, watching for any moment of con- 
sciousness, knew that at last her angelic soul had 
passed to the Judgment seat of the Spouse she had 
so deeply loved and so loyally served during a stain- 
less life of seventy-five years. Even applying the 
microscope of criticism to all the actions of her life, 
it will be found that her faults were those into which 
the Holy Ghost tells us, even the ''Just Man falls 
seven times a day." To many who knew her inti- 
mately and long, she appeared never to have lost her 
baptismal innocence. 



CHAPTER XII. 

CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 

Mother Joseph was dead ! Those accustomed to 
depend for a long time on the same person can un- 
derstand the utter desolation that filled the hearts of 
those who had loved and relied on her as on a mother ; 
but she had trained her daughters too well in that 
resignation to God's holy will which she herself had 
so faithfully practiced, for them to mourn as those 
who have no hope. 

Before closing this period of the history of the 
Convent, a little word about the co-foundresses may 
not be 'amiss. 

Mother De Sales! who that knew her did not 
love her! As she rises before me I think what a 
theme her wonderful personality would be for a 
Chaucer a teller of interesting tales, but here only 
a few lines can be spared. As I remember her, and I 
do, so vividly, it appears to me that her distinctive 
characteristics were: 1. Zeal for God's glory. 2. 
Extraordinary charity in word and thought. 3. 
Musical talent of very high order. 

When the Nuns first came to Springfield it was 

139 



140 CO-FOUNDKESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 

her delight to gather around her on Sundays, young 
women who compelled to earn a livelihood, had no 
free time except on Sunday. What wonderful in- 
structions she gave them on their duties to their 
employers; there was perhaps sometimes a slight 
tinge of the spirit of caste, but who could blame 
Mother De Sales, that she could not fully enter into 
what is sometimes considered distinctively American 
a democracy that carries equality to the verge of 
Socialism. She had been born and raised in Ireland, 
where social status is as fixed as the laws of Draco. 
What processions in honor of the Immaculate 
Mother of God they made in the enclosure of the 
grounds on Sixth and Mason! What Litanies they 
sang ! What prayers they recited ! 

We were once speaking of Mother DeSales after 
her death, and some one said: ''Did you, Sister, 
ever hear her utter an unkind word of any one, or 
do an unkind act?" After a slight pause, given to 
retrospective thought, the reply was: "I declare I 
never did, but I never thought of it. I wonder if 
any one else ever did! I'm going to investigate. 
The community was duly canvassed, and wonderful 
to relate, no one could recall one single instance of 
lack of kindness; the only thing approaching such, 
was that once she had said that a very sleepy looking 
pupil reminded her of an owl. This incident is true 



CO-FOUNDEESSES WITH MOTHEE JOSEPH. 



and just stop and think what it means! What St. 
James says of him, who does not sin by the tongue ! 
Dear Mother De Sales ! She was what would be 
considered more ornamental than useful, if we do 
not take into account those immaterial forces which 
defy analysis, but which influence and educate 
through the subtle power of conduct that is inspired 
by love of God. Surely her kindness was not a mere- 
ly natural virtue, for she was too keenly alive to 
beauty and perfection not to detect its absence, but 
she was too deeply impressed withlier obligation of 
loving her neighbor as herself, to hurt or pain any 
living creature. 

It was a liberal education to live with Mother 
De Sales. She had been in the world, and of the 
world, .when Europe was in the dawn of the Victor- 
ian age. She had known personally many of its 
celebrities. With her father and sister she had, in 
Dublin Castle, heard Moore sing his immortal Melo- 
dies to the accompaniment of Sir John Stevenson; 
had been of those who went round asking: "Have 
you read Byron's new poem the ----- -? 

a gasp, a cough, for no one knew how to pronounce 
GIAOUK ; had watched eagerly for each new volume 
of Lingard's England, as it issued from the press. 

But her musical capacity was phenomenal. When 



142 CO-FOUNDBESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 

Technique was almost an unknown art, she was 
among the few who executed with precision and bril- 
liancy the arabesques of Thalberg, whom she called 
a " wicked fellow" for setting humanity such a task. 
Even the difficulties of Liszt found her mistress still 
of the piano through her brilliancy, precision of 
touch and marvellous velocity of execution. The 
dramatic fervor and grace of Chopin found in her a 
competent interpreter; she had been the pupil of 
Herz. 

To any pupil desirous of learning style and in- 
terpretation she was a boon, but the music of her 
day in America was not that of the present, and she 
was often "pinned down" to woful mediocrity. 

In those early days the objective point of the 
St. Patrick's parades was the Convent, where the 
sons of Erin always found a Caed Millia FaMtha, the 
harp all decorated in green standing on the front 
porch, the vibrant tones of St. Patrick's Day, played, 
as it can and ought to be played, floating through 
the open windows. Mother De Sales would always 
leave to Mother Joseph the honor and pleasure of 
bringing out all the pathos of the history of the 
Celtic race and country as expressed in its Melodies, 
which pass with such sudden and unexpected rapid- 
ity from the gloom of despondency to the very ex- 
uberance of joy. 



CO-FOUNDEESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 143 

Erin the tear and the smile in thine eyes 

Blend like the rainbow that hangs in thy skies. 

Mother De Sales had left the world and dedi- 
cated herself to God at a somewhat mature age. 
When thirty-two she made the sacrifice of home and 
family and country to obtain, as she often said, the 
release of her father's soul from Purgatory, where 
she hoped God in His mercy had admitted him, for 
while an honorable gentleman, he had not been a 
practical Catholic and died with little time for prepa- 
ration, from a fall from his horse when out hunting ; 
he received the last Sacraments, but she never felt 
sure that he was conscious at the time. Mother 
De Sales died at the age of 68 in 1876, R. I. P. 

Mother Charles ! How the girls of long ago did 
dread incurring her displeasure. What a contrast 
to Mother De Sales ! When she entered a class room, 
pandemonium reigned, but when Mother Charles 
was sighted a mile off, the girls became angels of 
decorum; why, I never could fathom, for she was 
a sweet, southern lady. It must have been the 
" Black Book" which she read publicly, once a month, 
and every backsliding was duly announced with name 
attached, unless it were too bad, and then "a certain 
young lady," whose name was not mentioned, but 
whom everybody knew, was substituted; if the of- 
fence were still graver, a suffocating mantle of 



14:4 CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 

silence reduced the offender to despair. Mother 
Charles saw and knew everything or guessed it, or 
even dreamed it. She was omniscient, she was 
ubiquitous. Espionage formed no part of her method 
of governing, however. People didn't talk about 
telepathy in those days, or such her powers would 
have been dubbed. And, oh! of all things, she was 
Mother Joseph's right hand; how loyally, how effi- 
ciently she served her, effacing herself absolutely. 
She never was strong, but her energy was indom- 
itable and her resourcefulness inexhaustible. She 
had been Mother Joseph's pupil in Charleston, her 
novice in Bank Street, her companion to Ireland and 
her second self in Springfield until the end. She 
died at the age of 52, in 1880, R. I. P. 

Sister Agatha ! She died three years ago at 
the advanced age of 91, R. I. P. She had celebrated 
her Golden Jubilee three years before, upon which 
occasion a special blessing had been obtained for her 
from His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII. What a joy it 
was to her ! For about 15 years she had had no re- 
sponsibility and while somewhat childish, she re- 
membered most distinctly the old pupils, for whom 
she prayed constantly. 

What services she had rendered the community 
in its days of poverty and unremitting labor! For 
twenty-five years she was the cook, and Mother 



CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 



Joseph relied on her implicitly. Woe to any one in 
the house who did not reverence Sr. Agatha. 

It was a beautiful, pathetic sight to behold that 
good old sister, though crippled and deformed, drag- 
ging herself daily from Station to Station in her 
contemplation of Christ's Agony and praying for 
mercy for a world that was forgetting its God. A 
dismantled wreck on the shores of time, waiting, 
waiting, to be towed into the safe harbor of Eternity ; 
she used really to complain lovingly to God, that He 
took so many young Nuns and forgot her! but she 
always added with Christian humility: Well, well, 
I'm not fit company for the angels yet. 

Sister Veronica! She came of a remarkably 
holy, old, Irish family of Cork. After her mother's 
death, her father became a Capuchin; her brother 
was Father J. O'Keefe of the Cleveland Diocese, 
and her sister was a religious in the Order founded 
by Mother Seton. She loved the little ones and the 
''Quality," as she called the older boarders, equally 
well. She had old-time ways, a strong fervent spirit 
of faith, and was a true daughter of Erin. She died 
while on the Mattoon Mission, but was brought 
"Home" for interment, Sept. 14, 1872. 

Sr. Martha! She died on the same day (April 
10th, 1896) as the saintly Bishop, Stephen F. Ryan 

of Buffalo, who gave her the Veil. 
10 



146 CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 

How well all the old pupils remember her and 
how they loved her ! Just one instance of the broad- 
mindedness that comes from charity, will describe 
her, as the stroke of the artist makes the canvas live. 

She was a German and never spoke English al- 
together easily, mistaking the import of many a 
word. She was exceedingly kind to the "Tramps," 
and when on the mission in Mattoon and having 
charge of laying in the provisions, she always made 
a certain allowance for the ' ' Tramps. ' ' In her allot- 
ment, however, she added sugar for one set, and 
when asked why she did so, she answered with a 
simplicity that would have done credit to some of the 
followers of St. Francis of Assisi: "Oh, yes, the 
sugar is for the Irish Tramps; they are good, soft- 
hearted, poor people ; but the Germans ! oh ! no, they 
are tough, I give them no sugar; meat and bread 
are good enough for them. ' ' 

I must not let my pen run away with me. What 
a joy all those dear, old Sisters, so simple, and so 
holy, were to me, in my young days ! What a mem- 
ory they are now, and how their intercession for the 
community they loved must avail before that sweet, 
heavenly Spouse who is no accepter of persons, but 
loves with a love of predilection the little ones of 
earth. Peace be to them! their memory is a bene- 
diction ! 



CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 



Thinking over those old days I recall so many 
incidents full of interest and containing so many 
lessons! A new series of friends arose every ten 
years or so, while others yielded a golden harvest 
to that Reaper whose name is Death. I can but men- 
tion a few : the kindly, holy Driests who helped us on 
the heavenward path. Father Kane of St. Joseph's, 
still living. After Father Cowley's death and be- 
fore the Bishop could replace him, Sunday after Sun- 
day, Father Kane would bring his whole congrega- 
tion over, that the Nuns might not be deprived of 
Mass, and to make up for the discomfort entailed to 
people paying pew rent for proper seating, he would 
tell them what a privilege it was to put foot inside 
of the sacred enclosure of a Convent, and would ap- 
peal to them to acknowledge that such a wonderful 
boon could never have been theirs in the land of 
Saints and of Scholars. Father Levy, the saintly 
Pastor of the German Church, and Confessor at the 
Convent. Father Brady served and guided the 
house to the best of his ability. Father Weis, 
Father Pennartz, Father Hinssen, Father Clifford, 
Father Mohr, Father Biesen, Father Clancy. I 
must not forget old Father Winterhalter, who made 
our first tabernacle, and last, though not least, V. 
Rev. Mgr. Hickey, our present Vicar General. Who 



148 CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 

that knows him does not revere him? The Ursulines 
of North Fifth are no exception. 

Then how kind our Chaplains were ; how punct- 
ual and faithful in the discharge of duty. To all we 
owe a debt of gratitude. 

I find on our list many new friends added to 
the old. Each day after Mass special prayers are 
offered by the Community for all benefactors, living 
and dead ; among whom we rank the kind doctors who 
have served us free of charge from Dr. Lord to Dr. 
Ottis. 

The good they have done, the help given, will 
go on when we and they lie mouldering in our graves, 
for their benefactions are for the foundation and 
success of an Institution bound by every law to pro- 
mote God's honor and glory, through the diffusion of 
Christian Education. 

We know that "those who instruct others unto 
justice shall shine as stars for all eternity," and 
surely those who make this dedication of self possible 
to the chosen few, by their co-operation, encourage- 
ment and generosity, must share in the reward. 

Man's noblest calling is to co-operate in the 
salvation of souls, to follow that standard whereon 
is inscribed the motto : 

Thy Kingdom Come! 



CO-FOUNDRESSES WITH MOTHER JOSEPH. 



EXTRACT FROM LINES WRITTEN AT THE GRAVE OF 
SR. AUSTIN, OVER WHICH A BRIGHT STAR WAS SHINING : 

I thought of solemn words that once were said, 
Sweet Jesus! by those sacred lips of thine, 

"Whoe'er to Justice these little ones shall lead" 
"Like stars for all eternity shall shine." 



Sleep on, sleep on, thou heavenly dreamer, 
My tears shall ne 'er again bedew this sod. 

1 11 hope, that as they spirit, than crystal purer, 
I too may shine beneath the throne of God. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

UPWARD AND ONWARD. 

The frequent deaths recorded and the lack of 
vocations reduced the Convent to dire straits. St. 
Joseph's Parochial School was taught by seculars; 
because there were no Nuns to take it. 

The Rt. Rev. Bishop James Ryan was conse- 
crated in 1888. From that blessed day to this, the 
Ursulines have had a true and valued friend. 

Mother Ignatius succeeded Mother Ursula in 
the office of Superior. The first act of her ad- 
ministration was to try and procure help from 
some house of the Order. The Bishop was appealed 
to, and he gave all necessary permissions, making 
but one condition the assistance should come from 
a Community in the United States ; foreign countries 
do not generally understand our spirit or customs 
and, consequently, are not acceptable in our schools. 
Two of the Nuns visited some of the Houses 
of the Congregation of Paris, but Nuns are 
hard to get, there are too few everywhere 
for the needs of the times. Ursuline Communities 
are not generally very numerous, owing to their 

150 




RT. REV. J. RYAN, D. D., 
Bishop of Alton. 



UPWARD AND ONWARD. 151 

special organization of independent houses, and to 
that spirit of seclusion rather than of real cloister 
which distinguishes them, and which is considered 
too austere. 

Finally they turned their steps to their old-time 
friends in Brown County, the reputation of whom 
as teachers was then, as always, very great. 

At last arrangements were entered into and 
conditions laid down, in virtue of which Springfield 
became affiliated to Brown County. Several most 
edifying and capable Sisters were sent to Spring- 
field, viz: Mothers Agnes, Gabriel, Sebastian, De 
Pazzi and Evangelista. Mother Ignatius had died 
two months after her election to the superiority of 
the house, she was replaced by Mother Paul. When 
Brown County took over the Community, Mother 
Ursula Dodds of Brown County appointed Mother 
Paul in her place a locum tenensto continue in 
charge of the Community of Springfield. 

By this arrangement Father Ryan's School at 
St. Joseph's Church was kept and it was through the 
kindness of the Brown County Nuns that this was 
accomplished. 

The arrangement entered into between Brown 
County and Springfield was to have a trial of three 
years. 



152 UPWARD AND ONWARD. 

Things were moving on slowly but in a quite 
satisfactory manner and the Brown County Nuns 
gave themselves heart and soul to the work. Among 
Nuns, especially of the same Order, the ' ' Mine ' ' and 
"Thine" do not figure largely. 

Meanwhile, through the intercession, no doubt, 
of the Community members in Heaven, God smiled 
on the Springfield Ursulines, sending two very de- 
sirable young ladies as Novices; both had been 
pupils and were capable of rendering most valua- 
ble services. The term agreed upon between the 
Houses of Brown County and Springfield having ex- 
pired, it was decided by Springfield to return to the 
original status of an independent establishment, as 
with the aid of the two young Nuns just professed 
and two others who had entered, the Parochial 
School could be carried on without outside assist- 
ance. 

Never will the timely aid of the Brown County 
Nuns be forgotten nor the many kindnesses received 
from the venerable Mother Ursula Dodds especially. 
A very magnificent vestment, richly embroidered by 
her own deft hands in chenille on heavy white satin, 
recalls her memory on the chief solemnities of the 
year when it is worn in the celebration of the Holy 
Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Visiting the Chicago Exposition, one of the 



UPWARD AND ONWARD. 



Nuns who had been among the foundresses of the 
Dakota House, being near her old and cherished 
home, paid it a hurried visit and was saddened in- 
deed by the many vacant places she found in the 
Community. Death had been busy in its ranks. 

The following year, 1894, the building of the 
beautiful chapel was begun. Meanwhile the Superior 
of the Ursuline Community in Dakota, founded 
from Springfield, using the privilege guaran- 
teed in the Constitutions of the Paris Congregation, 
of returning to the house of Profession, with Rt. 
Reverend Bishop Shanley's permission and ap- 
proval, resigned her charge and with three compan- 
ions reached Springfield Jan. 1st, 1895. These four, 
added to the young professed spoken of above, soon 
told in school work. Little by little the Convent 
grew to its former educational status. More 
workers really meant better work as more time 
could be given to special Departments. The Com- 
mercial Course was added ; the Art Studio placed in 
better quarters, resumed operations, and the trend 
has ever since been upwards and onwards in all that 
makes for improvement in the Schools, until today 
the old Convent stands equal to any in the land of 
similar scope, and wears the honors of a College, in- 
cluding the right to confer the B. A. Degree, with 
all privileges therein implied. 



154 UPWARD AND ONWARD. 

Here I digress and return to a very important 
and most wise arrangement made by our devoted 
Bishop. The congregation of St. Joseph was in- 
creasing, an Assistant was needed and it was decided 
to allow that Assistant to do duty as Convent Chap- 
lain; thus the burden of extra salary was lessened 
for the Congregation by being shared by the Con- 
vent. The same services continued to be rendered 
and now comes a long list of clerical friends who 
claim our gratitude for, to every single one, it is 
due for services cheerfully rendered over and above 
what was obligatory. 

Novices began to seek entrance, and best of all, 
they were our own pupils, half trained in the ways of 
Ursulines before beginning their religious life. The 
beautiful Chapel was dedicated in June 1895. Many 
of our best friends seemed to think it was imprudent 
to build on so large a scale. Today the enlarging 
of it is an imperative need. The wood carving done 
by the Sisters themselves is much admired by all 
who visit the chapel; the brass railing is the gift 
of old pupils and the colored glass windows bear 
record of the many kind friends who helped the Nuns 
to give the Lord and Master a somewhat fitting 
home. The living and the dead are recorded there. 
A marble tablet at the entrance of the Sacristy asks 
the alms of a pious remembrance for the soul of 



UPWABD AND ON WARD. 155 

Mother Mary Joseph. Mr. Thos. Armstrong, father 
of one of the Sisters, presented the High Altar. 

The statue of the Sacred Heart over the High 
Altar, those of the adoring Angels, of Sts. Ursula 
and Angela, of Our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, 
of St. Michael the Archangel, and of Blessed Mar- 
garet Mary are all donations from pious friends. So, 
also, are the fine Stations of the Cross, the chan- 
deliers, candelabra and vases that ornament the 
dwelling place of Jesus in the Tabernacle. Could 
money be better spent? When the donors are busy 
in the affairs of life, forgetting perchance in its 
stress and strain the Giver of all goods things, He 
from the silent Tabernacle is looking upon their gifts 
and blessing them for the love that prompted them, 
for He loves us all and His " Delight is to be with 
the children of men." The chapel is a little heaven 
in its remoteness from the noise incident to the af- 
fairs of life, in the beauty of its architectural design, 
and in the soft religious light that streams through 
its colored windows. Nothing need be said of the 
delights and consolations which there flow into the 
soul from that ' ' Beauty ever ancient and ever new, ' ' 
whom the great Augustine sorrowed so, for having 
loved too late. 

Of course the Chapel is the centre of every re- 
ligious house; it is its raison d'etre, it is all that mat- 



156 UPWARD AND ONWARD. 

ters, for it is the abode of God Himself, Who is our 
first beginning and our last end. Thank God, it is 
seldom entirely vacant. At almost any hour, some 
silent watcher is there, for many of the old Nuns, 
incapacitated for work by years or illness, spend long 
and happy hours praying, praying always and for 
everyone, waiting to be called Home, but peacefully 
happy in accomplishing God's will whatever it 
may be. 

One would think we had learned wisdom by past 
mistakes, but in following the counsel, "Be ye wise 
as serpents," one sometimes appears to be just the 
reverse, for the Folly of the Cross is after all the 
highest wisdom. Once before we had weakened the 
main house by taking on missions or allowing foun- 
dations to go forth. 

One evening an unexpected telegraphic message 
was received announcing the arrival of some Ursu- 
Jines of whom we had never heard. They were 
warmly welcomed and when they had detailed their 
sorrows and trials and asked for the aid of a few 
subjects, they were listened to and two Sisters were 
sent to Laredo for a few years. Really it was not 
prudent, but Charity prevailed. Strange to tell! 
that year, though minus two efficient teachers, the 
schools were most flourishing in point of numbers 



UPWARD AND ONWARD. 157 

and in satisfactory results of study. God had 
vouchsafed a visible reward for Charity. 

Again, one of our chaplains having been ap- 
pointed to a promising parish, begged for a small 
colony of Nuns. Circumstances were such that the 
request could scarcely be refused and the mission of 
Granite City was taken. A little later Eev. Father 
Bannon of East St. Louis came seeking Nuns. 
Mother Paul, who was Superior, asked for a delay 
to consult the Community and Bt. Rev. Bishop 
Janssen, in whose Diocese East St. Louis is, but 
Father Bannon pursued his object so strenuously 
that, at a great sacrifice, a colony of six were given 
him without further delay. So well are the boys of St. 
Joseph's parish in East St. Louis doing that the 
Jesuit Fathers will receive them into their St. Louis 
college without examination, if recommended by 
their Ursuline teachers as having passed the Eighth 
Grade. The Ursulines of Springfield at the present 
writing have about eight hundred children in their 
schools. They have lately risen to the rank of Col- 
lege and teach all the branches usually taught therein 
to pupils prepared to receive such teaching. 

In the Spring of 1907 the Alumnae Association 
was organized. By a unanimous vote of the first 
members this was broadened to include all pupils 
whose stay at the Convent was of sufficiently long 



158 UPWABD AND ONWARD. 

duration to entitle them to be regarded as * * Convent 
Girls" by the training given, the spirit imbibed and 
the loving memories left. 

The Association has been a source of much 
pleasure, affording the members happy reunions and 
many opportunities of helping their Alma Mater, and 
thereby sharing in the noble and meritorious work of 
Christian education. The Nuns are always happy 
to greet the dear, old pupils, to share in their joys 
and sorrows, to sympathize, or congratulate, or con- 
sole, as the case may need, ever keeping in mind that 
a prayerful interest is a duty they owe to all whom 
God has made them instrumental in influencing. 

In the Fall of 1907 the Convent Magazine, en- 
titled "St. Ursula's Quarterly," was started. After 
the first issue a printing press and all that belongs 
to an up-to-date printing office were installed and 
the Magazine is entirely a home product. What a 
source of pleasure and profit it has become ! What 
an aid it is in acquiring the almost lost art, of good 
English composition. The pupils themselves do all 
the work of the Magazine. In 1908 the Sodality of 
the Blessed Virgin was affiliated to that of Rome, 
and the Portiuncula Indulgence was granted for 
seven years. 



UPWARD AND ONWARD. 159 

Who reading this record can deny that the In- 
finite Goodness of God is manifested in a wonderful 
manner in the history, vicissitudes and present en- 
couraging outlook of the Old Ursuline Convent of 
Springfield. 

Deo Gratias ! 



CHAPTER XIV. 

UNIFICATION. 

In 1900 a far-reaching movement was inaugu- 
rated in the great, old Ursuline Order founded by 
St. Angela of Brescia. So far as it affected the 
Springfield Convent it will be here recorded. 

When the Roman Ursuline Convent in Via 
Vittoria, after two hundred years of existence, 
was on the verge of extinction from confis- 
cations, death and lack of subjects, the Nuns 
appealed to the flourishing Community of Blois 
in France for help; this was granted, but it was a 
great burden and at one time the French Superioress 
thought of returning to her own Community and 
virtually, thereby, ending the Roman branch. When 
she went to consult one of the Cardinals he said: 
"0, Mother! do not allow the lamp of the Ursulines 
to be extinguished at Peter 's Tomb. ' ' That decided 
her stay. Every religious Order having a repre- 
sentative house in Rome keeps a lamp burning at the 
Tomb of the Great Apostle; its symbolism is easily 
understood. However, Blois could not, according to 
the Canons, keep the Roman House as a dependency 

160 




MOTHER M. JOSEPH, 
General Assistant. 



MOTHER M. DE ST. JULIEN, 
General. 



UNIFICATION. 161 

the sanction of the Bishop, m this case, 
the Pope himself. So when His Eminence Cardinal 
Satolli, Protector of the Ursulines, applied for the 
necessary permissions for a grouping of the three 
houses of Borne, Blois and Calvi, the Holy Father 
de motu proprio, remarked, "Why not extend this 
affiliation to all the Houses throughout the world!" 
and then and there he gave necessary powers to set 
in motion the ecclesiastical machinery for bringing 
about this change. 

In May of 1900 a letter from the Congregation of 
Bishops and Regulars, of which Cardinal Vanutelli 
was Prefect, came to Et. Rev. Bishop Ryan of Alton. 
Through Very Rev. Mgr. Hickey, V. Gr., its contents 
were made known and acted upon by the Spring- 
field Community, who by a unanimous vote accepted 
the conditions proposed, Mgr. Hickey 's advice being 
strongly in favor thereof. 

A General Assembly of Ursulines was deter- 
mined upon, to meet in Rome, under the Presidency 
of His Eminence, Cardinal Satolli, Nov. 8th, 1900. 

This was a remarkable gathering. After a very 
thorough examination of all points, by an eminent 
Canonist of the Congregation of Bishops and Regu- 
lars Mgr. Battandier, Prothonotary Apostolic, and 

many consultations with Rev. Father Lemius, 
11 



162 UNIFICATION. 

0. M. I., representative of his Order in Borne, a satis- 
factory basis of agreement was reached. 

Finally, on Nov. 28th, 1900, the Canonical Union 
of the Ursulines was an accomplished fact, with full 
verbal approval of the Holy See ; a more formal one 
was delayed on account of the attitude of France at 
the time. One of the last official acts, if not quite 
the last of the illustrious successor of St. Peter, Pope 
Leo XIII, was the formal approval by special decree 
of the Canonical Union of the Ursulines. 

Acting on a summons to them personally by 
cablegram over the signature of Cardinal Satolli, the 
Springfield Ursulines, at the last moment, deter- 
mined to send a Delegate to the Assembly convoked. 
The Assistant of the Community was chosen and in 
the company of Mother Lucy, Superioress of Alton, 
both empowered to act for their respective houses, 
she left Springfield Oct. 21st, 1900. It is true, ad- 
hesion to this Union was not a formal command, but 
only a strongly expressed wish of the Holy Father. 
But when did disaster ever follow those who take the 
direction pointed out by the hand that wears the 
Fisherman's Ring? 

Mother Marie de St. Julien was chosen first 
General of the Order. She is a woman well versed in 
Canon Law, speaks English well and has a broad 



UNIFICATION. 163 

grasp of national spirit, requirements and capabili- 
ties ; it is only the accident of birth that prevents us 
from calling her an American, in all that the best 
sense of the word implies. A residence of seven 
years in Quebec, where her father held the Chair of 
Law in the Laval University, has brought her into 
close touch with the English speaking nations. Her 
Institute embraces Houses in every part of the 
world. Some Ursulines feared entering the Union 
because of foreign Headship. Even if this were a 
valid objection, the fear would be on a par with a 
Catholic's fearing to submit to the Pope's Suprem- 
acy because he is generally an Italian. But while the 
head of the Order is a Frenchwoman today, there 
is no knowing when an American may be chosen. 
The Union is so organized that the naming of Pro- 
vincials is in the hands of those who are inhabitants 
of the region, over which they are to preside. 

After the Delegate 's return from Eome, the debt 
on the Chapel having been fully paid, a new building 
was begun in 1901. This is called the Monastery 
proper, the former building being used only for 
College and Academy purposes. Day by day the 
Schools progress. 

In 1905, through the iniquitous dealings with 
French Convents by their Government, a large and 
flourishing Community amid the golden, vine-clad 



164: UNIFICATION. 

hills of Burgundy was disbanded, and its inmates 
turned adrift on the world. Mother General sent 
seventeen of these exiles to the Diocese of Alton; 
nine to Springfield and eight to Alton. Again a mem- 
ber of the Springfield Community was designated to 
go to meet them. Four of those poor exiles were 
women approaching or past seventy, not one speak- 
ing a word of our language. The kind Superior of 
the Alton Ursulines came to Springfield for her 
contingent. 

At three o'clock a. m., Oct. 17th, 1905, amid a 
terrific downpour of rain, they reached their future 
home. Poor, tired, heart-broken exiles, what was 
their delight when on reaching the Convent and 
entering the Chapel, the life-size statue of the Sacred 
Heart, all glowing with the brilliancy of electric 
lights, extended welcoming arms to those who had, 
according to Christ's own words, won a right to the 
Kingdom of Heaven, for they had suffered persecu- 
tion for Justice' sake. 

The people of Springfield were not slow in show- 
ing their very practical sympathy for the sufferers. 
A splendid French class was organized and in grate- 
ful acknowledgment, I am happy to inscribe the 
names of the first pupils : Mesdames Charles Deneen, 
John B. Tanner, E. Hagler, J. Northcott, Price, 
Turner, Sudduth, Davis, and Mesdemoiselles Bunn, 



UNIFICATION. 165 

Johannes, Wilcox and Herman, to whom many others 
have since been added. 

Many ladies also sought the services of the 
French exiles for dainty embroideries, and we have 
always felt grateful for the sympathy expressed, for 
we know that their patronage was not altogether for 
value received, but as a delicate means of alleviating 
distress, and testifying their sympathy for those 
who had been made the victims of an iniquitous legis- 
lation. Some of those exiles are now efficient help- 
ers in educational and other work, while the dear, 
holy, old Nuns are potent intercessors with God and 
bring down blessings from Him on the world, on our 
city and on our Community. Rev. Father Howard, 
D. D., has been especially kind to them. 

In 1906 the Order was divided into Provinces, 
the House of Springfield being assigned to the South- 
ern Province, with headquarters in Dallas. Here 
the Provincial House and the Novitiate are located. 
A Religious from Springfield is among the Provin- 
cial Officers, with residence in Dallas. 

Many changes in consequence of the Unification 
have taken place in the affiliated Communities. Young 
ladies are received as postulants and kept from six 
to nine months in the Houses to which they make 
application for entrance. If they prove desirable 
subjects, they are sent to the Provincial Novitiate, 



166 UNIFICATION. 

where special religious training is given them, away 
from any distracting thought or occupation, for a 
period of two years. They are under no binding 
obligation to the Order, and are at perfect liberty to 
leave without incurring the least shadow of censure. 
After two years' noviceship, they make temporary 
vows for three years. At the expiration of this term 
they are again free, but should they go on to final 
Profession their Vows become perpetual and can 
only be dispensed by the Pope. Such is the liberty 
the Catholic Church extends to the Order. This last 
dispensation is rarely granted, because rarely asked. 
This change, as all Ursulines know, is radical, but be- 
longs to modern rulings and makes practically no 
difference. 

Under many aspects the Canonical Union is a 
great blessing and every experience, however pain- 
ful, that may lead any Community to affiliate, may 
well be regarded as a blessing in disguise; for when 
difficulties arise, as they naturally will, since all 
things of earth are fallible, and liable to imperfec- 
tion, it will be found that it is prudent and most wise 
to have them dealt with by persons within the Order, 
to whom its interests are most sacred, and who have 
means of arriving at a true solution which is im- 
possible to persons outside, no matter what may be 
the goodness of their intentions, the uprightness of 



UNIFICATION. 167 

their motives or their mental equipment. Gustate 
et videte. 

The Provincial Novitiates are in themselves a 
sufficient return for all the sacrifices our Unification 
has so far entailed. 

In 1906 Mother General made her first visit to 
the United States. She was delighted with what she 
saw, and her second Visitation is anxiously awaited, 
as she will come with fuller knowledge and less as a 
stranger than in 1906. 

In 1907 a fine brick building for laundry pur- 
poses was erected, as the Monastery was paid for. 
Herein we note the permanency of Mother Joseph's 
spirit in shunning overwhelming indebtedness, by 
not beginning new buildings until what went before 
is paid for. By a strange coincidence the paving of 
our streets always comes with additions to the 
building, and it is no small item to pave a length of 
seven hundred feet, but Divine Providence has some- 
how always helped us wonderfully. 

In 1907 took place the Centennial celebration of 
Our Holy Foundress St. Angela's Canonization. 
The second General Chapter was called for this year. 
Again a Springfield Nun was one of the two Dele- 
gates, not to represent an individual house in this 
instance, but all those of the Southern Province. 



168 UNIFICATION. 

Most Reverend Mother Marie de St. Julien was 
retained in the office of General and the first Pro- 
vincial of the Southern Province was elected As- 
sistant General for English speaking countries. This 
Religious was the saintly Superior of Galveston, so 
well known through her courage and charity during 
the fearful disaster that overwhelmed that city in 
1900. On the twenty-fifth of May this year she 
passed to her heavenly reward, in the Eternal City, 
and lies buried in the old San Lorenzo Cemetery, 
outside the walls, where the illustrious and well- 
beloved Pio Nono asked to be placed " among my 
beloved poor," when death ended for him his long 
martyrdom of the Papacy. R. I. P. 

Upon the return from the second Chapter, it was 
decided that a new Auditorium should be built and 
something on the plan of the beautiful "Sunset" 
in San Antonio was suggested. Thanks be to God! 
it now stands completed, ready for dedication, as a 
fitting crown to the half century 's work of the Ursu- 
lines of Springfield. The Architect of the four build- 
ings erected since 1894 is Mr. H. Conway. 




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CHAPTER XV. 

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 

Because example is always more powerful than 
words in influencing the actions of others, much bene- 
fit might be derived from a record of the other Nuns 
who lived, labored and passed to their eternal re- 
ward from the Ursuline Convent of Springfield. 
With deep gratitude to God, we are able to chronicle 
that each and every one has left behind her a mem- 
ory that is held in benediction, from the last young 
Novice who made her Vows upon her deathbed to 
the venerable Sister Agatha, who preceded her to 
the tomb, crowned with the merits acquired during 
her long life of ninety years, fifty-five of which were 
given to God as an Ursuline. Each one in her own 
sphere contributed to the good of the Institute and 
as God rewards the goodness of the intention, and 
not the result of our efforts, who can say which one 
enjoys the greater recompense? 

The Ursuline Order having been founded for the 
instruction of youth in Christian knowledge and 
practice, it is the bounden duty of those devoting 
themselves therein, to this purpose, to keep abreast 
of the times in educational matters. By this is not 

163 



170 CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 

meant the adopting of every new fad which runs 
its ephemeral course in a few years of almost lost 
time; but rather does it mean, the adoption of new 
methods and appliances for teaching the many new 
sciences, or phases of science, owing their birth to 
modern invention and investigation. There can be 
nothing incompatible with solid teaching in such 
progressiveness ; on the contrary much time is saved, 
better results are obtained with less expenditure of 
nerve force, for study is made so interesting and 
absorbing that pupils find their school hours pleas- 
ant as well as profitable ; the old coercive measures 
are seldom resorted to. 

One good effect arising from the sane, new 
methods is that by economizing time, a wider curri- 
culum may be arranged, thus broadening the mind 
by the knowledge of a larger variety of useful sub- 
jects. 

While bearing in mind that the aim of secular 
education must often be to fit the pupil for the actual 
duties of life by fitting him for some useful em- 
ployment, still the cultivation of those powers which 
give rational and cultured enjoyment need not be 
neglected, and thus if competence should crown ef- 
fort at a later period, it will not find a mind and a 
taste incapable of enjoying its best benefits. 



CHEISTIAN EDUCATION. 171 

We know, if from nothing else than constant 
repetition, that the future of the Catholic Church in 
America depends, under God on the work done in 
the schools, whether it be the Parochial, the Acad- 
emy, the Polytechnic, the College or the University. 
Now the teaching orders must fit themselves to meet 
the demands made by all these gradations, each 
member according to capacity, opportunity or need ; 
this is not optional; it is imperative duty under 
obedience as to time, place and manner. To fail in 
self-improvement, along educational lines, through 
indifference or any other unworthy motive, would 
be a serious fault in an Ursuline; not to seize and 
use proffered opportunity from a mistaken idea of 
humility, would evidence a false conscience, as well 
as unenlightened views. 

Sometimes persons, not very thoroughly in- 
formed, think that because Convent schools do not 
adopt the varied methods employed in public schools, 
or do not embrace all the subjects there taught, that 
they are backward, not up to the times, etc. If such 
persons would give themselves the trouble of thor- 
ough investigation, they would find that it is only 
fads are thus eliminated; if they would study for a 
still longer period, they would see that, like old 
fashions, the very newest, up-to-date methods are 
but a return to what was held fast in the Catholic 



172 CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 

schools. One instance will be enough : Of late years 
the study of language has, very properly, received 
much attention in our public school system; when 
in all the years did it fail to hold a foremost rank in 
the course of every Catholic school 1 ? Sometimes it 
is objected by the ill-informed that too much time 
is given to CATECHISM! Apart from the spiritual 
aspect of this study, do such objectors know that 
the little children even in the Parochial schools learn 
more of PSYCHOLOGY and ETHICS than many a Har- 
vard student will ever know? If those two studies, 
under imposing names, are of great educational 
value, then why not the Catechism? Nor is the 
subject superficially taught, as might be expected, 
since we demand of little children knowledge of sub- 
jects placed very high in the curriculum of many 
colleges. 

There are two reasons for this, viz : 1st, the im- 
portance of the subject to every human soul; 2d, 
the great care, ability and experience of those who 
prepare the text books. 

Taking these words (Psychology, Ethics) in 
their broadest meaning, they have for their object 
the study of the Soul and of Moral duty, and since 
even the most untutored savage can be made to real- 
ize and grasp the ideas instilled, they must be easy of 
comprehension by the human mind, at least in such 



CHBISTIAST EDUCATION. 173 

degree as is necessary for salvation, while they 
could furnish inexhaustible sources of study to an 
Augustine. 

Some of the most eminent Doctors of the Catho- 
lic Church have devoted their magnificent powers of 
intellect to producing adequate expression for the 
truths inculcated, while practical teachers have given 
themselves untold pains, in reducing it all to simplest 
form, compatible with dignified and accurate defini- 
tion. 

Old Plato said: "Give me the man that can 
define, and I will fall down and adore him. ' ' The 
Catechism is a little book of wonderful definitions. 
To give that little book its proper form of adaptation 
to youthful comprehension, we go back to Socrates, 
who, with Plato, our old grammars tell us, "were the 
most eminent philosophers of Greece. ' ' Think of the 
cultivation and depth of intellect that may be ac- 
quired by learning the Catechism ! And every normal 
child making his or her First Communion is required 
to know, with a good deal of understanding, the 
entire book, covering the essentials of man's rela- 
tions a.nd obligations to God. 

The illustrious Pontiff, Leo XIII, said: "We 
have heard a great deal of the EIGHTS of man, in 
modern times ; I would like to hear something of the 
EIGHTS of God in His own creation." 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 



This, of course, is the very first duty of the re- 
ligious teacher to imbue the child's mind with the 
paramount importance of the Salvation of that im- 
mortal soul the Almighty has entrusted to his keep- 
ing. It is an awe-inspiring thought to realize that 
though God created us, without the co-operation 
of our own will, He will not save us without that 
co-operation ; and yet the little child can take it in, 
and put it in practice, by striving to gain heaven 
through the avoidance of evil and the performance 
of duty. 

What a sociological treatise might be written 
from the second question in the little Catechism, 
where the child is asked to define the purpose of his 
creation, and answers, comprehendingly, that his 
sublime destiny transcends and dwarfs all human 
conditions, thus reconciling him to the sorrows and 
disappointments of life and earth by the contem- 
plation of the eternal bliss in store for him in an- 
other world? So powerful is this contemplation of 
eternal reward, as a motive of action, that many 
willingly barter all the joys of life to be made more 
sure of thereby attaining to those of the glorious 
"Vita venturi saeculi." Nor is the motive sordid, 
for God Himself proposes it. Of course, it does not 
preclude higher motives, but it proclaims itself 
adequate, since it is a motive of faith ; moreover, it 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 175 

is well suited to our human weakness of will and 
intellect, and at all times most useful. 

Sometimes parents fear that the children placed 
in Boarding Schools may, in their love for their 
teachers, forget home ties, filial obligations to their 
parents, etc. I think the fear is vain, groundless; 
for the love,, respect and service due to parents is 
the subject matter of the Fourth Commandment, 
" Honor thy Father and thy Mother." 

What Christian teacher would dare to come be- 
tween parent and child, if that parent is a normal 
human being, no matter what might be his or her 
little claim personally, to the affection or respect 
of others I Any Nun would be recreant to her most 
sacred trust, should she permit such kind of affection 
for herself from her pupil, much less, should she 
encourage it, would she be a proper person to en- 
trust with the Christian education of youth! 

The Boarders in educational institutions enjoy 
many advantages, not at the command of day pupils. 
To enumerate: A very regular way of living, in 
which time is intelligently distributed, so as to avoid 
the disturbing effect of daily or hourly interruption, 
as well as the taxing of the mind one day by over- 
study, and the falling into slipshod ways the next by 
neglect of all study; the atmosphere of all the sur- 



176 CHBJSTIAN EDUCATION. 

roundings is conducive to mind-concentration ; in the 
study halls teachers preside, whose duty it is to help 
the pupils in difficult places; good libaries of refer- 
ence books are close at hand ; the emulation born of 
numbers and good example, as well as of similarity 
of occupation, is most conducive to the creating or 
fostering of scholarly habits, and many other things 
besides this enumeration, are among those advan- 
tages. 

For the Catholic child the advantages are 
trebled. Think of the daily Mass, the frequent con- 
fession and communion, the visits to the Blessed 
Sacrament and the Immaculate Mother's shrine! 
What training is given in the conquest of self ; what 
self-discipline is acquired from associating with 
many in observing the command : ' ' Bear ye one an- 
other 's burden. ' ' The hours of amusement even are 
made, all unconsciously to the child, to help on the 
educational work by polite and dignified phraseology, 
by pleasing and cultured manner, by a sweet regard 
for the feelings of others, and by all those amenities 
of life which Christian charity demands in fulfill- 
ment of the divine precept: "Love thy neighbor as 
thyself." From all this it must not be concluded 
that the Convent maiden is to be turned into a life- 
less, little Puritan. Not at all; it is all done so 
en regie, that the "teaching" is concealed and we 



CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 177 

know Convent girls are the cheeriest, happiest of 
beings; the very simplicity of their way of living 
gives added zest to the least pleasure. Whoever saw 
a Convent girl one could call blasGe? No, indeed, 
when they return to their homes or enter society, 
they are simple, pure and sweet as the mountain 
daisy, from its solitude of sunshine and balmy air. 

Blessings on the Convent girl ! Long may she 
continue to deserve the distinctive appellation which 
embodies all that is sweetest and best in childhood 
and maidenhood ! 

The higher educational Institutes, in the system 
of Catholic schools, have a closer relation to the great 
work being done in the Parochial schools than is at 
first apparent. 

As has been before stated in these pages, it is 
because of their Vow of Holy Poverty and of their 
unselfish devotion to a holy cause, that Nuns are able 
to give their lives and energies to work in Parochial 
schools, where owing to lack of means, but a small 
remuneration can be given ; it is, however, quite ade- 
quate to the support of a Nun, but surely it leaves 
little margin for sickness, old age, infirmity, and 
other expenses out of the ordinary course of the 
frugal, simple life of the Convent, For all such 
cases the Academy or College becomes responsible, 
not as a charitable institution, which always carries 

12 



ITS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. 

with it a sense of obligation, but as by right, one's 
own HOME, with all the word implies of loving com- 
panionship and care. Thus it is seen that the Acad- 
emy or the Mother House, when both are combined, 
is the keystone of the arch, the clasp of the chain in 
the magnificent system of education which obtains in 
the Catholic church. Every assistance given the 
Academy is also a benefit to the parish schools by 
making their existence possible, under actual cir- 
cumstances. 

In Europe the Orders of teaching Nuns require 
a dower from their members, the interest on which 
will afford ample support, and thus they are enabled 
to give their services to the poor gratis. Thank 
Heaven! in this favored land of ours there is no 
class representing exactly ' ' the very poor ' ' of other 
lands, at least not outside the large cities. One of 
the greatest benefits of this is that absence of means 
to furnish a dower is no bar to the holy aspirations 
of the Catholic woman in thrice-happy America, 
where there is room for all, and Prudence need not 
raise her warning finger against the results of an 
enthusiasm, however lofty and holy, which is not 
rendered secure in its exercise, by a sufficient backing 
of the things of earth. 




ST. ANGELA OF BRESCIA, 
Foundress of the Ursulines. 



SAINT ANGELA OP BRESCIA. 179 



SAN AFRA'S BELLS. 

SAN Afra's Bells, San Afra's Bells! 

Within each molten hollow sleeps 
That soul of joy which ever dwells 

Where Latin race or smiles or weeps. 

Te wait the touch of angel hand 
To set your souls in circling music free; 

To fling abroad o'er all the land 
Tour prisoned depths of joy's own minstrelsy. 

That Hiss, it grows to wild delight! 

As though, through touch angelic, echoes flowed 
Of seraph's song, from heaven's height 

And senses reeled 'neath joy's overtaxing load. 

No -human heart could bear the strain 
Of bliss, San Afra's rocking turrets tell 

The ecstasy and shadowing pain 

Would break each throbbing and responsive cell. 

And so a silvery heart is given 

Unto thy shrine, gentle Brescian maid! 

That unto us the bliss of heaven 

Revealed may be, nor rapture's toll be paid. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE URSULINES. 

It may be of interest to our readers to learn 
something of the ancient and venerable Order to 
which Mother Mary Joseph Woulfe belonged, name- 
ly, the Ursulines. 

The name is somewhat misleading, as the Order 
was founded by Saint Angela of Brescia, born in 
Italy in 1474, whereas Saint Ursula was a Briton 
princess of the early ages of Christianity. 

From a sentiment of deep humility, Saint An- 
gela, wishing to divert all honor from herself, took 
for Patroness St. Ursula, whose name she gave to the 
Order founded by herself. Such examples of humility 
are not rare in the annals of the Catholic Church. 
Who, from the name, would know that the illustrious 
Company of Jesus had for its founder the humble 
Saint Ignatius of Loyala? 

There are some remarkable features in Saint 
Angela's foundation which bring out in a most es- 
pecial manner the action of the Holy Spirit in His 
guidance of the Church which adapts itself so mar- 
vellously to the needs of the times, and often through 
instruments furnished, as those needs arise, seem- 

180 



THE UKSULINES. 181 

ingly without any natural qualification for the work 
to be done. 

Saint Angela was without counsel and without 
human help when she undertook to found a new 
Order; she was already advanced in age, for we 
must remember she began her special work at the 
same time that Saint Ignatius was gathering around 
him his first companions ; she died Jan. 27, 1540, and 
her Institute had been founded in 1535 only. 

Whoever is conversant with the history of those 
times must know that it was an age of depravity, and 
those desirous of leading a virtuous life, sought soli- 
tude in order to be protected from the spirit and 
contagion of a world that seemed to be reverting to 
paganism. It was at such a time God Himself sent 
Angela, like another Deborah, to recall His people. 

Let us glance at the form and character of the 
Institute founded by our great Saint, and let us note 
the striking difference from other Orders, found 
therein. 

When an Order looks back to its Founder it 
generally finds that founder an almost perfect ex- 
ample of what the members of the Order should be, 
not in interior virtue alone (in this Ursulines are 
like all others), but in the exterior habit or apparel, 
the daily occupations and manner of living, etc. 
Our Saint never wore the habit of the Order, nor 



182 THE UBSULJNES. 

led the enclosed life so characteristic of her Daugh- 
ters or even required Community life for her fol- 
lowers. 

Saint Angela had a special design in all this, 
and she herself saw and foretold that the Order she 
founded, by the express command of God, was not to 
take its final form under her hands, while on earth, 
therefore she designedly left it in a plastic state, 
ready for any form in which it could serve the 
Church, within the lines, however, of helping to save 
souls by the diffusion of Christian knowledge and 
practice among young girls. 

All this explains and justifies the history of the 
Ursulines and proves their right to be called the 
1 'Daughters of Saint Angela," which name, more- 
over, is given them in the many Papal Bulls to the 
various Congregations into which the Order has been 
subdivided. 

Its first form was that of a Generalate ; this has 
not varied in Brescia, where the Order was first 
founded and where it still exists in a most flourishing 
state, the members still living in their own homes, 
as in the primitive days of its organization. The 
first Superior is called " Mother General," while her 
sixteen assistants general have only the title of 
"Mother." 

Since the spirit and trend of our times is to seek 



THE UESULINES. 183 

strength and efficiency through union, the Canonical 
Union of the Ursulines by taking the form of a gen- 
eralate is but reverting to the first type. 

Again, the evidence of divine action in the foun- 
dation of the Order of the Ursulines is apparent, 
according to the dictum of the great Tertullian, 
who says that in the works of God we always find 
associated Simplicity and Power; simplicity in the 
thing itself; power in the effects produced. Saint 
Paul gives us the explanation thereof, and assures 
us that this combination of weak instrument and 
wonderful results is from God's special design, to 
keep us humble, knowing always that we are only 
instruments in Hi$ hands, who in reality accom- 
plishes whatever good we may do. 

The body of Saint Angela, in a state of preser- 
vation from the decay of the tomb, lies in a magnifi- 
cent shrine, above the high altar, in the Church of 
San Afra, in Brescia. In this church she often spent 
whole nights in prayer ; here she received many 
special favors and conversed with Christ, from 
whose lips she received the command to found her 
Order, notwithstanding the unfitness she pleaded as 
an excuse, for dreading to assume so great a charge. 
In a room close by, a small altar stands marking the 
spot where the great saint breathed forth her soul 
to its Maker, in such an ecstacy of pure love, as to 



184 THE UBSULIKES. 

leave it doubtful whether human infirmity or the 
vehemence of her desire to be with God were the 
proximate cause of her death. 

A marble tablet within the small room bears the 
following inscription: 

"In this poor room lived and died the illustrious 
Virgin Angela Merici. From this place ascended 
to God the desires and the ardent love of her heart. 
Here came, to this woman without human learning, 
as to a school of heavenly doctrine, the most noted 
theologians of those unfortunate times, when error 
was spreading its baneful influence everywhere. 
Here Saint Angela, gathering around her some pious 
co-laborers, founded her holy Institute, which in more 
flourishing condition than ever, after three centuries 
of existence, still spreads in the Church and on 
society the benefits of its labors." 

Surely the name of Angela was prophetic of her 
life and spirit. 

It may seem incredible to our readers that 
learned Theologians should have sought enlighten- 
ment on spiritual subjects, from a woman who had 
never studied Philosophy, nor, in fact, even the most 
elementary forms of learning. There is no doubt 
that God can give and often has given such knowl- 
edge directly to chosen souls. 



THE URSULINES. 185 

Perhaps I can strengthen this affirmation by 
giving an extract from the great writer, Madame de 
Stael, whom no one will suspect of being a devotee. 
She was not even a Catholic. 

' ' The Mystics of the Catholic Church, ' ' she says, 
"understand with the utmost thoroughness all that 
can give birth in the soul, to fear or hope ; to suffer- 
ing or happiness, and no one can fathom so well as 
they every movement of the human soul. It is ex- 
traordinary to behold how, sometimes, men of very 
ordinary mental ability, if endowed with this mysti- 
cal power, can interest and captivate and convince, 
as if possessed of transcendant genius. What often 
renders intercourse with others so tiresome, is that 
speaking of exterior and trifling things, they need 
the graces of conversation to render their society 
tolerable. The religious Mystic, however, carries 
within his soul so great a light that it may give to 
the simplest mind a moral supremacy over persons, 
endowed only naturally with great mental gifts. The 
Mystics make the human heart (which is the great- 
est of all sciences) their study in order to know how 
to conquer its passions and they take more pains 
to acquire facility in this conquest than worldly men, 
in the same study for the purposes of self gratifica- 
tion. Often the lay brother at the Convent gate 



186 THE URSULINES. 

knows more of man's nature than does the most 
boastful of our learned philosophers. ' ' 

Saint Angela was a Mystic of very high order. 
She was canonized May 24th, 1807, and on May 
24th, 1907, the centenary of the event was kept in 
Rome by the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass, at the high Altar, in the basilica of St. Peter, 
at which assisted the Mothers of the second general 
Chapter of the United Ursulines, who were after- 
wards received, in special audience by the Holy 
Father, Pius X. Upon this occasion he gave an 
Indulgence of 100 days for each recital of the 
prayer: Deus qui novum per Sanctam Angelam, 
etc., applicable to the souls in Purgatory. 

After the Mass Mother General Marie de St. 
Julien, surrounded by all the members of the Chap- 
ter kneeling before the great statue of our holy 
Foundress, close to the Tomb of the Chief of the 
Apostles, recited aloud the CREDO. 

Saint Angela must have smiled from her high 
place in Heaven to behold the scene which could 
easily be regarded as an earnest of the fulfilment 
of her prophecy, that the Ursuline Order would 
endure until the end of the world. 

How defective this record is no one knows bet- 
ter than she who penned it. Please forgive defects, 




COLLEGE. 



CHAPEL. 




AUDITORIUM. 
West View. 



THE UESULINES. 187 

due more, I will frankly say, to lack of time than to 
lack of ability, however small that may be. 

Many names I have omitted, not because the 
kindnesses done are forgotten, but because six weeks 
is a short time for putting anything together in book 
form. 

L. 0. D. 



The government of the Canonically United Ur- 
sulines, in its relation with the Spring-field House, 
may be represented as follows : 

GENERAL GOVERNMENT, WITH RESIDENCE IN 
ROME, ITALY. 

Most Reverend Mother Marie de Saint Julien, 
General. 

Very Reveresd Mother Ste. Angele de Notre Dame, 
Vicar. 

GENERAL ASSISTANTS. 

Very Reverend Mother Sainte de Chantal, from 
Nantes ; Secretary also. 

Very Reverend Mother M. Joseph (deceased May 25th, 
1909), of Galveston. R. I. P. 

Very Reverend Mother Mecthilde, of Rome. 

Very Rev. Mother du St. Sacrement, of Bazas, Treas- 
urer. 



188 THE URSULINES. 4 

PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT, WITH RESIDENCE 
IN DALLAS, TEXAS. 

Very Rev. Mother M. Evangelist, professed, of Galves- 
ton, Tex., Provincial. 

Rev. Mother Augustine, professed, of Springfield, 111., 
First Councillor. 

Rev. Mother Augustine, professed, of Dallas, Tex., 
Second Councillor. 

Rev. Mother Ursula, professed, of San Antonio, Tex., 
Secretary. 

Rev. Mother Bernard, professed, of Galveston, Tex., 
Treasurer. 

Rev. Mother Lucy, professed, of Alton, 111., Mistress 
of Novices. 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT, WITH RESIDENCE IN 
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. 

Rev. Mother Ursula, Prioress. 
Mother Paul, Assistant. 
Mother Alacoque, First Councillor. 
Mother Peter, Second Councillor. 
Mother Antonio, Third Councillor. 
Mother Clare, Treasurer. 



THE UBSULINES. 189 

LIST OF NUNS LIVING OR DEAD. 

NAMES. PROFESSION. DEATH. 

1 Mother Mary Joseph Woulfe 1837 1890 

2 Mother De Sales Coleman 1843 1876 

3 Mother Charles Maloney 1849 1880 

4 Mother Stanislaus Rafter 1861. 

5 Mother Austin Cleary 1861 1867 

6 Mother Angela Clifford 1866 1870 

7 Mother Teresa Laux 1866 1888 

8 Mother Augustine Enright 1869 

9 Mother Ignatius Ryan 1872 1891 

10 Mother Guyart Monpas 1873 1876 

11 Mother Paul Nagle 1875 

12 Mother Alacoque Murphy 1877 

13 Mother Francis McCarthy 1878 1905 

14 Mother Ursula _McKinney 1878 

15 - Mother Berchmans Wisely 1878 1882 

16 Mother Josephine Sanks 1879 1885 

17 Mother Angela Blair 1879 1888 

18 Mother Peter Condon 1879 

19 Mother Antonio Otter 1880 

20 Mother Louis Sullivan .1885 

21 Mother Angela Zenzius 1892 

22 Mother Josephine Taggert 1893 

23 Mother Michelle McCawley 1894 

24 Mother Raphael Armstrong 1894 

25 Mother De Chantal Hoagland 1896 

26 Mother Baptist Salmon 1896.. ..1908 



190 THE UESULINES. 

NAMES. PROFESSION. DEATH. 

27 Mother Berchmans Withrow 1898 

28 Mother Clare Donovan 1898 

29 Mother Borgia Trihey 1900 

30 Mother Bernardine Flood 1901 

31 Mother Cecilia Murphy 1901 

32 Mother Monica King 1902 1902 

33 Mother Seraphine King 1902 

34 Mother Mary Joseph Molloy 1903 

35 Mother Leo McGirr 1903 1904 

36 Mother Genevieve St. John .1905 

(TEMPORARY Vows) 

37 Sister Xavier 1906 

38 Sister Mecthilde 1908 

39 Sister Evangelista 1908 

(EXILES) 

40 Mother Coeur de Marie Clois. 1860 

41 Mother Berthe des Anges Lelorrain . . . 1871 

42 Mother Dominique Eoyer 1881 

43 Mother Immaculate Conception Beu- 

chon 1883 

44 Mother Rosaire Beuchon 1899 

(NOVICE) 

45 Sister Ignatius Kelly 1909 1909 



THE URSULINES. 191 

LIST OF SISTERS LIVING OR DEAD. 

NAMES. PROFESSION. DEATH. 

1 Sister Agatha Klee 1852 1906 

2 Sister Veronica O'Keefe 1856 1872 

3 Sister Martha Rowland 1861 1896 

4 Sister Isidore Houlihan 1861 1899 

5 Sister Zita Ryan 1862 1880 

6 Sister Camilla Donovan 1864 

7 Sister Philomena Brown 1874 

8 Sister Magdalen Hickey 1877 

9 Sister Gonzaga Tovey 1883 1885 

10 Sister Agnes Ryan 1883 

11 Sister Mary Madigan 1885 

12 Sister Veronica Conley 1887 

(TEMPORARY Vows.) 

13 Sister Rose Williams 

14 Sister Margaret Mary Porter 

(EXILES) 

15 Sister Madeleine Blondon 1868 

16 Sister Gabriel Bruckmann 1885 

17 Sister Presentation Bruckmann 1889 

18 Sister Dosithee Celerier 1891 

(NOVICES) 

1 Sister Aloysius McGrath 

2 Sister Alphonsus McCabe 

3 Sister Leo Gasaway 

4 Sister Benedict Casey 1881 

5 Sister Patricia Shaw . . .1889 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS URBANA 

271.97407735H138 C001 

HALF A CENTURY'S RECORD OF THE SPRINGFIE 




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