Fishers of Men

\”Come, follow me,\” Jesus said, \”and I will make you fishers of men.\”

Religious Orders in America

Source:  OUR FAITH & THE FACTS, compiled by Rev. C. F. Donovan, M.A., published by Patrick L. Baine of Chicago, 1927 – Chapter 3, pages 75-86.  

curley.jpg  shaw.jpg 

dowling.jpg  messmer.jpg

The American Archbishops:  (top left) Archbishop Curley, Baltimore; (top right) Archbishop Shaw, New Orleans; (lower left) Archbishop Dowling, St. Paul; (lower right) Archbishop Messmer, Milwaukee.

The Religious Orders in America           

The history of the earlier civilization of America may  justly be described as a part of the history of the Religious Orders. What Parkman said of the early exploration of America, “Not a cape was turned, nor a river entered, but a Jesuit led the way,” is sufficiently expressive. And even before this, it was a Religious, Father Perez, who helped Columbus fit out his expedition. Other priests accompanied him, more followed in the wake of his vessels. Every explorer had his chaplains, every expedition was blessed by the Church. Cartier, Cabot, Champlain, nearly all the great explorers, were Catholics and eagerly made room for the priests who accompanied them. Later, the priests themselves led the expeditions. Breboeuf, Marquette, Hennepin are names which stand for great things in America and their deeds are worthy of the missionary societies to which they belonged.

The  First  Priests

The first missionary priests came to Canada with cartier in 1534. The Recollect Fathers began the first active missionary work there in 1615. They yielded to the Jesuits in 1625, who extended their work into New York State about 1642, and about the same time to Michigan. In 1657, the Sulpicians came.

A Dominican father came to Florida  from Guatemala in 1549, but almost immediately after landing, was killed by the Indians. The Jesuits began work there in 1566. In 1570 they spread their influence to Virginia. In 1577 the Franciscan fathers arrived in Florida, working extensively until the final destruction of all the missions by slave traders in 1704.

Church  Settlements

The Catholic Colony of Maryland was founded in 1634 by the Jesuits, Father White and his companions. The Recollets came to New England in 1619, the Capuchins following in 1633, the Sulpicians in 1785, the Jesuits in 1848.

New York State had its first church near Syracuse in 1655, and New York City had its first Mass in October, 1683.

The Ohio river section and the region westward was cared for by the Jesuits from Canada in 1640, and the work was extended to Illinois in 1674 by Marquette. The chain of forts extending from Canada along the Ohio river and south to New Orleans served as a great protection to the work of missionaries.

The Louisiana section, first visited by Father Marquette, was opened up by the Franciscans in 1682. Arkansas in 1702, Dakota in 1666, Minnesota in 1837, Montana in 1840, Oklahoma in 1847 were reached by the Jesuits. Texas — and more especially, the southwestern part of the state, was provided with Missions by the Franciscans in 1544. — San Antonio, the third oldest city in the United States having grown out of a Franciscan mission.

Other  Missions

Missions in parishes were begun about 1860. The Lazarist fathers came in 1816, the Redemptorists in 1832, the Passionists in 1852. The Dominicans, Augustinians, and Marists are also active in this work. Eight Dominicans, five Franciscans and nine secular priests died  while on duty in Memphis during the yellow fever epidemies of 1873-78-79. Let it be said incidentally that the Congregation of St. Paul (whose members are popularly known as “the Paulists,” was established in the United States nor very many years ago, the foremost of its little band of six founders being Father Isaac Hecker, who was a convert. The Paulists’ special work was at the outset, and is yet to a considerable extend, that of giving missions to non-Catholics, and there can be no doubt that their efforts in guiding non-Catholics into the One True Church have been highly successful.

Religious  Community  Homes

Besides the orders and congregations named hereabove, the Servite Fathers and the Carmelites have a numerous representation in the United States, and the Trappists (or Carthusians) have monasteries in Kentucky and in Canada. The Missionary Fathers of La Salette, whose purpose is to preach missions and retreats, are found in Hartford, Conn., and Fitchburg, Mass. At Seattle, Wash., there is a college and novitiate of Brothers of Our Lady of Lourdes, these brothers being vowed to the Christian education of youth, especially the poor, the care of orphan asylums, the nursing of the sick and of old men in hospitals, and similar charitable works.

Particularly active in North America, and proportionately successful along their various lines of spiritual endeavor have been the comparatively modern Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Congregation of the Precious Blood, the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the Society of Mary, and the Congregation of the Brothers of Mary. Of these, the Order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (founded in France by Bishop Charles De Mazenod) stands devoted to the instruction of the poor and humble, the visitation of the prisons, and the care of foreign missions. The Oblates came to Montreal, Canada, in 1841. Since then they have spread throughout the Northern half of the American continent, their missionary field comprising not only the vast region of north-western Canada, but elsewhere. Next, the Congregation of the Resurrection are in Canada, Chicago and Kentucky.

The Congregation of the Precious Blood (founded during the early part of the 19th century in Rome) has been doing excellent missionary work in Ohio since 1843. The Basilian fathers are in Detroit and have several houses in Texas and in Canada. The fathers of the Holy Cross (a Congregation founded in France in 1834) came to Indiana in 1842, and there began the foundation of the University of Notre Dame, which is one of our greatest and best Catholic educational institutions. They have schools and missionary houses in the dioceses of New Orleans, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, fort Wayne, and Galveston, and several colleges in Canada. As to the Society of Mary (founded in France at the outset of the 19th century), which is devoted to the ends of college education and pastoral and mission work, it appeared in Louisiana in 1863, and by this time has colleges and missions in almost every part of the United States. The first American colony of the Congregation of the Brothers of Mary (founded in France early in the 19th century) was established in 1849 at Dayton, Ohio. Instruction of Youth is the special purpose of the Brothers of Mary, and they have in the United States alone more than thirty educational establishments.

Congregations  of  Women

The  First  Nun

Catholics have been interested in the effort to establish facts concerning the first American-born nun. Mr. John J. Ryan and Mr. Thos. F. Meehan, both authorities on American Catholic history have helped in the researches.

Miss Mary Davis, in religion Mother Mary Benedict, was born in Salem, Mass. In 1680. Taken captive by the Abenaquis Indians in 1686, she was adopted by the sachem of the tribe after her whole family had been massacred. She lived with the Indians for about twelve years. Father Rasle, S. J. a missionary found her very docile to teaching, and after many perils, he succeeded in extricating her from savagery, placing her as a boarder in the Ursuline Covent in Quebec. She was admitted to profession by the Ursulines in 1700, after two years novitiate, and was thus the first sister of American birth in that community. She died in 1749.

Some authorities seem to favor the claim of historians that Sister St. Martha of the Ursuline Novitate at New Orleans was the first American-born nun. A Miss Fanny Allen is also mentioned, among others, for the honor.

First  Community  of  Sisters

The Ursuline Covent at Quebec, where on the authority of the Mother Superior (1918) Miss Mary Davis entered and was professed in 1700, was established in that Canadian city by Madame de la Peltrie in 1639, with a few sisters from France.

The Congregation of Notre Dame was  founded at Montreal, Quebec, in 1653 by Sister Bourgeoys  under Bishop Laval. The Ursulines and Carmelites, who are cloistered nuns established convents in this country during the first half of the nineteenth century. The Dominican Sisters, whose American mother-house is in Sinsinawa, Wis, have been doing remarkably good and fruitful service as teachers — of the parochial schools, more particularly. And the Ladies of the Sacred Heart have been conducted for a good many years, and are now conducting, a number of convent-schools (or colleges) for young girls. Nor are the Poor Clares, devoted to deeds of charity, without representation in North America.

The Sisters of Notre Dame, whose congregation was founded at Amiens, France, by the Venerable Mother, Julie Billart in 1803, and who first came to America (Cincinnati) in 1840, devote their lives to education. As early as 1843, six Sisters of Notre Dame accompanied the justly famous Jesuit missionary Father de Smet from Belgium to Oregon, there to take charge of the Indian schools. There they labored for years under severe hardship and constantly threatening danger, then to repeat their successful activity in California. At present they have half a hundred houses in the United States and under their direction are some fifty thousand scholars.

Very rapid and thorough, too, has been the growth in America of the order of the Visitation of Mary, the Sisters of which are generally known as the Visitandines. St. Francis de Sales was the founder of this Order, and Dr. Leonard Neale, the second Archbishop of Baltimore, established it in our own country, during the first quarter of the last century. The Sisters of the Visitation’s convent schools are primarily for girls of the better classes. There are now no less than 21 prosperous communities of the Order in the United States.

A native American is the Order of the Sisters of Loretto, or friends of Mary At the Foot of the Cross, since it came to life in Marion County, Kentucky, in 1812. The saintly Father Charles Nerinck inspiring  and aiding the foundation, and since the young women who founded it were all of American birth and breeding. So well has this “American” (teaching) Order prospered, that it now numbers some fifty communities, situated in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico and Alabama.

Varied  Activities

The Congregation of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin (founded in Ireland by Miss Nano Nagle in the latter part of the 18th century) devoted to the education of children of every class, is represented in America by fifteen convents in Newfoundland, Canada and by a  number of convents in the North, East and West of the United States.

In 1873 came to the United States the Sisters of Christian Charity (founded at Paderborn, Germany in 1850). This teaching congregation has flourishing establishments in fifteen dioceses here, dioceses covering a large part of the Eastern, Central, Middle Western and  Southern sections of the country.

American  Orders

Again we find an American-born congregation in that of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was founded in the diocese of Three Rivers (now of Nicolet) Canada in 1853, and whose chief object is to fit young girls for the purpose of teaching school. This congregation has houses in Canada and the United States.

Canada and the United States also are the American field of labor of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and the Seven Dolors, which was founded in France (1837), and which beside educating young girls in boarding and parochial schools, visits the sick in their homes.

The Institute of the Sisters of St. Mary is a teaching order founded in Belgium and introduced into the United States in 1863.

Another teaching organization founded in America is that of Society of the Sisters of the Holy Name of Jesus and Mary, established in the diocese of Montreal in 1843. That this Society has been blessed with abundant success appears form its roster of houses at this present day; not less than 27 houses in Canada and not less than 27 in the United States, those in the latter country reaching from New York to California and Oregon and as far South as Key West. And still another American-born, U. S. born, congregation (founded at Monroe, Michigan, in 1845) bears the title of the Congregation of the Sister-Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and has for its special purpose the education of the young.

The Society of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was founded in France 1789 and established in the United States in 1853. The Sisters are in charge of academies for the higher education of young girls, kindergartens and preparatory schools for small girls and boys, parochial schools for white and Indian girls, vocational schools for deaf-mute girls and boys, homes for working girls, day nurseries for children of mothers who are working-women, night refuges for homeless women and children, orphan asylums for white and Indian children. And the Sisters of the Holy Humility of Mary who, though established in France in 1855, came to Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania as a whole community, and with their founder in 1864, teach, care for the sick and maintain and educate orpahans.

Sisters  of  Charity

From the teaching sisterhood, we will now come to the Orders of Mercy, as they are found in America, and we will begin by viewing the Society of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, because this society too is “American-born,” was founded in Kentucky, January 1813. The Sisters have charge of twenty-four schools and hospitals their mission being to instruct poor children and servants and to visit and nurse the sick without regard to their creed.

Of Irish origin is the community of the Sisters of Our Blessed Lady of Mercy, generally known as the Sisters of Mercy, since it was organized by Miss Catherine McAuley at Dublin, in 1829. A colony of the Sisters came to America that same year. At this writing, they are to be found in at least thirty dioceses in the United States and Canada, ever busy at the tasks of educating young girls, taking care of the sick, visiting prisons and hospitals, laboring in orphan asylums and institutions for the insane, as well as visiting the poor sick in their homes.

As their name implies, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul were established (1633) by that very great saint, St. Vincent de Paul and by MlIe Le Gras in France. The first community of this holy order to be founded in America owed its existence to a zealous convert, Elizabeth Seton, in the early part of the nineteenth century. To-day the Sisters of Charity are everywhere throughout this country, conducting academies, parochial schools, orphanages, hospitals and asylums. To the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd (founded in France during the 17th century) has fallen one of the noblest, honest, highest, most admirable missions of Christian Charity; that of rescuing from temporal and spiritual ruin unfortunate fallen. It is one of North America’s greatest, most valuable privileges and glories to harbor Houses of the Good Shepherd in all its’ great cities. These Sisters first came to the United States (Louisville, Kentucky) in 1845 and to Canada (Montreal) at about the same time.

Once again, we find in the Sisters of Charity who are called the Gray Nuns an order of American birth, as this order was founded at Montreal, Canada in 1747 by the  Venerable Mother Youville. The Gray Nuns take care of the aged and infirm of both sexes, educate orphan boys and girls, nurse the sick in hospitals, visit them in their own homes, and conduct refuges for children day-nurseries. They have a number of houses in Canada.

Nursing the sick is the chief work of the Sisters of St. Mary of St. Louis, who have, since 1772 earned glory and admiring love in St. Louis, Memphis, Tennessee, New Orleans, and Kansas City, notably — by their untiring heroic devotion to the sick during several small-pox and yellow-fever epidemics.

Finally, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, widely known as the Nursing Sisters of the Poor, have been in the United States since 1891. They do not accept money from those whom they nurse and do not allow their charity to be limited by any consideration of creed, age or condition.

A  Reference  List

Follows a reference list of the Religious Orders and Congregations not already noted. The Alexian Brothers are engaged in Hospital work in Chicago, St. Louis, Green  Bay, Newark, N. J.

The Capuchin Fathers have houses in Detroit, Maryland, Oregon.

The Trappist from France are at home in Nelson Co., Kentucky, Dubuque, Ia., Rhone Island.

St. Charles Congregation of Rome are in New York and Chicago.

The Christian Brothers are devoted to educational work in every diocese throughout the country. Their home is in France with Provinces at Baltimore, New York, St. Louis, San Francisco.

The Christian Brothers of Ireland are in New York City.

The Congregation of Missions continues to do most excellent work. The record returned by the members laboring on the Foreign Mission for the year October, 1913, 1914, is certainly a marvelous one — 67,903 baptisms of adults 445 conversions of heretics and 181,481 baptisms of pagan children.

The number of Bishops and missionaries is exactly 1,400, and that of the Christian villages under their zealous care 1,557, 468. In the missions confided to the care of the Vincentian Fathers there are 911 native priests, 3,277 catechists, 5,850 churches and chapels, 50 seminaries, with 2,382 students; 4,785 schools, with 157,140 pupils; 339 orphanages, with 21,291 children; 528 hospitals and refuges for those afflicted with leprosy. A marvelous record indeed of work done for God’s glory.

The Jesuit Fathers have Provinces in New York, Missouri, New Mexico, New Orleans and California, with about 1100 priests in active work, teaching and on missions.

The Josephite Fathers for Colored Missions, Baltimore, Md., have missions in twelve dioceses, 54 priests working wherever negroes are located. St. Joseph’s Seminary, Baltimore, is their headquarters.

The Brothers of Mary are in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, Dubuque, Bellevile, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky.

The Marist Brothers of Italy are in New York, Boston and Manchester. They are teachers.

The Congregation of St. Viator are in Chicago, Peoria, Sioux Falls, S. D.

The Congregation of the Missions in Philadelphia, Missouri, Erie, Pa. Chicago, California. They have four colleges, seminaries and Universities with about 250 priests. They are well known throughout the Middle West, particularly.

The Society of the Divine Word from Holland, engages in foreign missions. It has about 600 priests, with 31 in America, and houses at Chicago, New York, Erie, Little Rock, Natchez. In Chicago the Fathers conduct a technical training school for boys.

The Blessed Sacrament Sisters were founded by Mother Katherine Drexel. They teach in Indian and Negro schools everywhere.

The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary have headquarters in Dubuque. They teach in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, San Francisco, and elsewhere. They have about 1,100 Sisters.

The Sisters of Dominic are in Kentucky, California, Brooklyn, Kansas, Newburgh, N. Y., Adrian, Mich., Racine, Wis., New Orleans.

The Sisters of St. Dominic of the Perpetual Rosary are in Camden, N. J. Hoboken, Buffalo, Maryland and Wisconsin.

The Franciscan Sisters for Colored people have a home in  Baltimore. 46 Sisters are in different places throughout the South.

The St. Joseph Hospital Sisters are in Chicago, and Vermont.

The Little Company of Mary Nursing Sisters, nurse the poor in their homes and do excellent work in Chicago and elsewhere.

The Loretto Sisters from Canada are in Chicago, Joliet, Ill.

The Ursuline Sisters are in Michigan, Ohio, Knasas, Ontario, Canada.

Technical Training

Printing, and beauty, printing and quiet, printing and religion. Reminiscent of the old days, when dark cowled monks sat in inspiring gloom at their labor of love, is the industry carried on by the “White Sisters” of Quebec. In this modern day of inkiness, noise and excitement in the printer’s domain, it is startling to find a complete bookmaking establishment in a nunnery, in a bright, clean and soothing retreat.

And it is not men who are engaged in this work, but the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary  and young trades novices, poor girls who are being trained to earn their living in occupation that are congenial as well as profitable. Young girls learn to do efficiently this work of men, and make it one of beauty and real pleasure. They learn the most advanced methods connected with the art.

Nuns  the  First  Women  Printers

The British Printer says that the general belief that women were for the first time employed in typographical work in 1631 by Rignoux, a printer in Montbard, is declared to be erroneous, a printing press worked exclusively by women having been in regular use in Italy a century and a half before that date.

The printing-office was the convent of St. James at Mt. Ripoli, and the women printers were Sisters of the Dominican Order. The Sisters of this convent had practiced the art of copying and illuminating manuscripts since the 13th century.

When Guttenberg’s invention made its appearance the press spread rapidly in Italy, and every town soon possessed its printing office. Florence had one as early as 1472.

The Sisters appear to have devoted themselves to their typographical labors with ardor and success, for between 1476 and 1484 more than 100 works — a large number for that period — issued from the conventual press.

The  Christian  Brothers

Statistics of that world-wide teaching order, the Brothers of the Christian Schools, issued by the Mother House in Belgium state that the order has a total of 784 houses scattered throughout the world. Of these 423 are in Europe, 32 in Asia, 44 in Africa, 159 in North America, 97 in the U. S., 62 in Canada, 75 in Central and South America, and 3 in Australia. The Brothers have 113 houses in the British Empire. Of these 30 are in the British Isles and 56 in Canada. The countries in which they have the largest number of houses are Spain 118, Belgium 97, Unites States 87, Canada 56. Of the cities, Montreal comes first with 14 houses, New York and Vienna (Austria) 11 each, Madrid 10.

These figures do not, of course, include schools in which the Brothers teach, but have no residence.

Nearly 400 Christian Brothers died in battle or of disease while serving in the armies or with Red Cross contingents of the various countries engaged in the world war. More than 2,000 members of the family of St. De La Salle were in the conflict. As Germany had excluded the Brothers from her borders before the war, that country is not represented in their roll of honor.

Feasts  of  Canonized  Founders  of  Religious  Orders

A list of Canonized Founders of Orders and Congregations in the Church, with the year of their death and the month of their feasts is here given:

St. Paul, first hermit, 342, Jan. 15;  St. Anthony, Patriarch of Monks, 356, Jan 16;  St. Francis of Sales, Doctor, Visitation Nuns, 1622, Jan. 29;  St. Peter Nolasco, Order of Our Blessed Lady of Mercy, 1258, Jan. 31;  St. Romuald, the Camaldoli, 1027, Feb. 7;  St. John of Matha, Trinitarians, 1213, Feb. 8;  St. John of God, Brothers of Charity, for the sick, 1550, March 11;  St. Benedict, Abbot, Patriarch of Monks of the West, Order of Benedictines, 543, March 21;  St. Francis of Paula, Order of Minims, 1507, April 2;  St. Albert, Compiler of Carmelite Rules,  1214, April 8;  St. Paul of the Cross, Passionists, 1775, April 28;  St. Peter Celestine, Founder of Celestines, 1296, May 19;  St. Philip Neri, Oratorians, 1595, May 26;  St. Angela of Brescia, Ursulines, 1540, May 31;  St. Norbert, Premonstratensians, 1134, June 6;  St. Columb. Ab. Founder of Monasteries, 597, June 9;  St. Juliana Falconieri, the Mantellate Servites, 1340, June 19;  St. William, Monte Vergine near Naples, 1142, June 25;  St. John Gualbert, Valombrosa, 1073, July 12;  St. Camillus de Lellis, for Visiting the Sick, 1648, July 18;  St. Vincent de Paul, Lazarists and Sisters of Charity, 1660, July 19;  St. Jerome Emilianus, The Somasky, 1537, July 20;  St. Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556, July 31;  St. Alphonsus Liguori Doctor Redemptorists, 1787, Aug. 2;  St. Dominic, Order of Friars Preachers, 1221, Aug. 4;  St. Cajetan, Theatines, 1547, Aug 7;  St. Clare of Assisi, Poor Clares, 1253, Aug. 12;  St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Foundress, with St. Francis de Sales of Many Convents of the Visitation, 1641, Aug. 21; St. Bernard Ptolemy, Olivtans, 1348, Aug. 21;  St. Philip Benizi, Promoter of the Order of the Servites of Mary, 1285, Aug. 23;  St. Joseph Calasanctus, Founder of the Order of the Pius Schools, called also Piarists, 1648, Aug. 27;  St. Augustine, Bp. Doc., Augustinians, 430, Aug. 28;  St. Francis of Assisi, Orders of Friars Minor, 1220, Oct. 4;  St. Bruno, Carthusian Monks, 1101, Oct. 6;  St. Teresa, Reformer of the Barefooted Carmelites, 1582, Oct. 15;  St. Ursula, Patroness of Ursulines, 656, Oct. 21;  St. Charles Borromeo, Oblates of St. Charles, 1584, Nov. 6;  St. Felix of Valois, Trinitarians, 1221, Nov. 20.

Of the Ninth Century — Pasehasius Radbertus, Monk of Soissons, d. 860;  Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, d. 882.

Of the Tenth Century — Atto, B. of Cercelli, d. 961.  Flordoardus or Frodoardus, French historian, d. 966;  Rahterius, B. of Verona, d. 976;  St. Dunstan, Abp. Of Canterbury, great Anglo-Saxon saint, d. 988.

Of the Eleventh Century — Burchard, B. of Worms, d. 1025;  Lanfranc, Apb. Of Canterbury, d. 1089;  Theophylact, Abp. Of Constanitnople, d. c. 1071;  St. Peter Damian, Cardinal-Bishop OF Ostia, d. 1072;  St. Bruno, Founder of the Carthusians, d. 1101;  St. Anselm, Apb. Of Canterbury, Doctor of the Church, d. 1109.

Of the Twelfth Century — Hugh of St. Victor, Priest, d. 1141;  Rupertus, Abbot, d. 1135;  Peter Lombard, Author of the “Book of Sentences.”

The  Religious  Life

Superiors of Religious Orders and Congregations in the United States complain of the difficulty they experience in securing suitable subjects as novices. It is feared that the life of the Gospel Counsels may be losing its attractiveness to the youths and maidens of our land. Where selfishness and love of ease are strong, no doubt faith grows weak, and none but souls full of faith and generosity can find happiness in the cloister. Yet our academies and high schools must be rich in boys and girls whom God has intended from all eternity should become religious, and who have all the qualifications too for such a career. Yet through lack of Prayer, instruction, guidance or opportunity they never find their place in the Divine plan.

But the nature and the advantages of the religious life ought to be clearly explained to all who are choosing a career. Ever since Our Divine Lord said the rich man “If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me;” and to His disciples, with regard to continency, “He that can take it, let him take it,” there has been established in the Church the theory of the religious life. This means in practice the observance by vow of poverty, chastity and obedience with a view of imitating the life and character of Our Saviour, thus winning the reward of a hundred-fold here and of life everlasting in heaven. He promises those who leave for His name’s sake, home, brethren, parents or lands. The poet Wordsworth, paraphrasing St. Bernard, tells of what this hundred-fold consist:

Here Man more purely lives,
Less oft doth fall,
More promptly rises,
Walks with stricter heed,
More safely rests,
Dies happier, is freed
Earlier from cleansing fires,
And gains withal
A brighter crown.

Lines as true as beautiful! For who would not wish to pass his days wholly free from grave sin? Yet, by exercising only ordinary care, so well shielded in the religious from temptation and so abundantly provided with aids to holy living, that he can easily avoid not only all serious offenses against God’s law, but numerous minor lapses as well. The good religious, moreover, is practicing from morning till night fair virtues which in a convent or monastery are common places, but would be the marvel of beholders if observed even in the most pious Catholics who are not religious.

Friars and  nuns “more safely rest,” too, because they know that those received into an Order of Congregation approved by the Church are always doing the Divine will, for it is conveyed to them by their rule and by the behests of their superiors. Free from care and concern for the morrow, exempt from the vicissitudes of secular and family life, religious can devote themselves wholly to the transaction of their Father’s business, either by prayer and expiation or by the exercise of teaching, of the care of souls, or of the corporal works of mercy. For according to the promise, “Poverty maintains, feeds and clothes religious, just as she gives them birth in the Orders. Having nothing, they yet possess all things; they are needy and yet enrich many; are sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” The promise made is indeed kept. For in return for the father or mother that religious leave, they find others in the cloister; to compensate them for the sisters or brothers they have lost, they gain in religion hundreds, and in place of the one home they renounced, there will be in their Order a score to welcome them.

The religious “dies happier,” too, “and gains withal a brighter crown.” For long before their last summons, they have given up all that makes death hard. They leave this world with joy and confidence because they believe that Christ who has promised to reward even the cup of water given in His name, will be particularly gracious to those who by their vows have given Him both fruit and tree. Fervent religious will go without fear to meet their Judge, for they have confessed Christ by the patient beauty of their lives not merely for an hour or two, as did the Good Thief, but for years and years. Devout religious finally will always be ready to go with gladness to meet the Bridegroom, and “hear the unexpressive nuptial song,” because they are sure that God will never let Himself be surpassed in generosity, and in return for the holocaust they have freely offered Him by their vows, they will receive “treasure in heaven” that in value and duration has no bounds.

Sisters  in Epidemics

When the influenza epidemic struck the straggling villages in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee with a malice that was spared us, the health authorities found themselves without nursing forces to meet the situation. The failure of the mountaineers to understand even the first principles of hygiene and sanitation aggravated the situation. Southern prejudice was overcome sufficiently by the alarming situation to call upon the Catholic Sisterhood for aid. Many of the nuns had been nursing epidemic victims in the military cantonments, but as soon as the disease had loosened its grip there, they hurried up into the mountains to extend their ministrations. For many a mountain town it was the first glimpse of a Catholic Sister. They had heard of her before, from the pens of her vilifiers. What, then, must have been the thought of the mountaineers on seeing the Sister come to them in the hour of sickness and death, to find that she was indeed all the Church’s enemies denied her? The Sisters left the mountains when the epidemic had been checked, and returned to their though, could their work be gauged, convents. It would be interesting, not only in the aspects of physical mercy, but in the vanquishing of the other disease that was eating at the hearts of the mountaineers, bigotry. No more potent agent could have been introduced into the narrow mountain life than the presence of the Sisters. Misfortune afforded the opportunity for using the most powerful counteraction against bigotry, personal contact. Wherever bigotry is not rooted in self-interest and maliciousness, it will fade after an extended contact with Catholics. Personal experience far outweighs the word, written or spoken of another.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • The Catholic Encyclopedia

  • Parkman’s Jesuits in North America

  • Father Coppens’, S. J., “Who Are The Jesuits?”

  • Various Religious Community Records

  • Memoirs of Father Mazzuchelli

  • Rev. O. B. Rohner’s “Veneration of the Blessed Virgin”

  • Very Rev. Dean Harris, “Missionaries of Western Canada”

  • The New World, Chicago (editorial), 1914

  • America

  • The New York Tribune ( a secular daily editorial, 1913)

  • Pioneer Priests and Laymen, Father Campbell, S. J.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: