Paths of Daring Deeds of Hope


Theresa in Monroe: Crisis of Separation

When Bishop Lefevere dismissed Mother Theresa from the Detroit diocese, he also sent two other sisters to Pennsylvania. They were Sr. Ann Shaaf, her companion from the Baltimore days, and Sr. Ignatia Sheeran, a novice. He also sent instructions for three sisters at St. Joseph's to return to Monroe. When Father O'Reilly learned of this order he was unwilling to comply, insisting that the sisters who had made their vows in Pennsylvania in December 1858 could not be required to return to Monroe.

This conflict over the sisters' return lead to a crucial discussion as to the nature of the Congregation and its relation to the hierarchical authorities. The bishops and some clergy of Philadelphia and Detroit became involved in the dispute over the issue and in evaluation of Mother Theresa's motivations and actions.

Complicating the dispute was the effort of Mother Theresa and some of her Redemptorist friends to move the entire Congregation to Pennsylvania. Letters were sent to the professed sisters and novices in Monroe urging them to move to Pennsylvania; these were intercepted and found their way to Bishop Lefevere. His fury at this activity, and at the acceptance in Pennsylvania of some of the sisters he dismissed from Monroe, led him to sever the Congregation into two separate institutions in June 1859.

Father O'Reilly to Father Joos

St. Joseph's April 19, 1859

Rev. E. Joos,

I have been very much surprised to see a letter from you commanding, in the name and by the "positive orders" of your Rt. Rev. Bishop, the Sister, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who are located here, to return "immediately" to your diocese. It must be, Rev. Sir, that your Rt. Rev. Bishop gave you these instructions without reflecting on the many disadvantages which, if such orders were complied with, would result from such a step -- disadvantages not only to religion and their community in this locality, but also to me individually who have, at a great pecuniary sacrifice, established them here, and contributed to and supplied all their wants without calling on Monroe for a single penny of assistance.

As you are aware, Rev. Sir, of all that has transpired between the "Sisters" and us previous to their reception into this diocese, you cannot be unconscious that no mention was made concerning their return to Detroit. Had it been otherwise, I would never have consented to receive them, knowing (as I do too well) how injurious it is to the well-being of a school to remove those in whom the affections of pupils are concentrated, the confidence of parents, patrons centered.

Be it said to the honor of this community that its members have succeeded in an eminent degree, in securing the confidence and patronage of the people here, and have accomplished more good during this short term here that we had hoped, in our most sanguine anticipations, they would have affected in years.

Under such auspices, then, and without consulting the detriment necessarily accruing to their "Congregation", to religion, to education here, and to myself, I must confess that I been [sic] greatly deceived in my former knowledge and high estimation of your great and good Bishop in whom so many virtues shine resplendent, if he knowing these facts, lend his counsel and power to advocate and execute a measure this injurious to religion and lending so plainly to frustrate the hopes of one laboring equally with himself, although on a smaller scale, to cultivate, nourish and propagate the "Mustard Seed".

Apart from these considerations, Rev. Sir, the obligations of the "Sisters" to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Detroit, existed only whilst they were under his jurisdiction, therefore, their obedience to him ceased as soon as the received his approbation to depart. Such follows from the "Constitutions" by which they are governed, and from which it is unnecessary to make extracts for you who are so well acquainted with them.

The Sisters renewed their vows here on the 8 of last December, and in that renovation professed their obedience to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of the diocese of Philadelphia; therefore, to him and to him only as Bishop do they owe obedience whatever to the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Detroit save what religion in general and the gratitude of generous souls to a former superior requires.

Such, Rev. Sir, are the logical inferences drawn from their "Rule", such the motives that prevent me from complying with your orders.

Begging to be excused for an unavoidable delay in replying to your respected favor above alluded to; (absence on duty being the cause) and requesting you to present my humble respects to your venerated Bishop, assuring him at the same time that, whenever in my power, I shall most cordially correspond, and feel highly honored in being able to comply with any request of his,

I have the honor to remain,
Rev. dear Sir,
Yours in Christ
J.V. O'Reilly

Bishop Neumann to Mother Mary Joseph

Phila June 1st 1859

Dear Respected Mother,

About two weeks ago I was in Susquehanna Co. to have a conversation with the Very Rev. J.V. O'Reilly, and Sr. Theresa, about the affairs of your sisters circumstances. The General Custom of the Church will hardly allow of Sisters regarding the Bishop of another Diocese as their first and immediate Superior. In making the annual vows the Sisters make them to the Bishop in whose diocese they actually live, & whenever a Sister is to be removed from one Diocese to another, the consent of both Bishops will be necessary. The Rules as they stand now do not define the above points with sufficient clearness.

As a General Mother Superior is required to keep up the union of all houses in different Dioceses, a Rule or Constitution will have to determine, how she is to be appointed, whether she is to govern the Community during her whole life, or for a certain number of years -- where she is to reside and in what relation she is to be with the respective Bishops.

In Communities, where Sisters are to regard the Diocesan Bishop as their immediate Superior (Visitation Nuns, Sisters of St. Joseph's, etc), they seem to have a Noviciate for every Diocese, at least when found expedient.

As long as the Rule remains unfinished I consider it due to the Bishops, who have houses of the Community in their Dioceses, that no new regulation be added to the Rule, without their approbation.

I do not like the idea entertained by some of the Sisters, to leave the Diocese of Detroit. Religious houses, when one is founded, ought not to be given up without evident physical or moral necessity. When God helps you, to be poor indeed, it is very good for all, who profess Poverty; Monroe being moreover in the Country, is one of the very places which according to Rule, is to be benefitted by the ministrations of your Sisters. As long as your Venerable Bishop has any wish that you remain in Monroe, the Sisters ought not to think of leaving the cradle of their Community.

I found the Sisters rather too crowded in St. Joseph's, as the new addition is going on but slowly they will have hard times there during the heat of the Summer. The new house in Reading is being put in order, and will accommodate, and probably occupy and support sufficiently 8 or 10 Sisters. The schools will be opened in the beginning of September.

Mother Therese informed me, that Your Right Rev Bp has appointed you Superior of the Community, and I assured them that I have no difficulty in recognizing you as such. They all respect and love you, and I can assure you, that you need not fear any want of obedience on their side. I myself have always hated even the appearance of schism, and shall not fail to prevent it as long as I am Bishop of Phila. If your stay in Monroe should have become impossible, and your Rt. Rev. Bishop allows you to leave his diocese, you and your Sisters are free to come to this diocese, though as I stated, there is as yet but very little room for so many more. Trials and all sorts of afflictions are usually the beginning of great favors from heaven, and therefore I would recommend patience and forbearance. In critical circumstances like yours seem to be, you require much prayer, purity of intention, and the wise caution, never to act precipitately, even when it seems to you, that you are right.

The projected house in Bellefonte is not yet established. Want of means prevent the Benedictine Fathers of opening it; it may be that in five or six months circumstances will be more favorable.

I finish this long letter at last after may interruptions, even for days. But I hope it will come into your hands in time.

I pray to God to bless you and all Your Community, and remain with sincere attachment

Yours truly in Xt
J.N. Bp Phil
Mother M of St. Joseph

Their Side of the Story

The following letters describe the positions of Father Edward Joos and Bishop Peter Paul

Father Joos to Bishop Neumann

This letter was particularly difficult to record because of a combination of Father Joos' cramped and sometimes illegible penmanship and his grammatical eccentricities. Some sections are rather incomprehensible.

Right Rev. Bishop,

The kind letter Rev. Mother Joseph had the favor of receiving from Your Lordship is the only one that has given anything else but sorrow and trouble since the sad event of last April, that has so much disturbed the Dear Community of which I am the unworthy Director. The joy I felt in reading it has been equal only to the gratitude that I owe your Lordship, for helping, so much by it, to bring to an end all those troubles which I consider as the most powerful weapon of the enemy of all good to destroy the religious spirit of the good Sisters.

Thus your letter, RR Bishop, makes me trust that you will excuse the liberty with which I come to give you a simple and exact account of what happened -- to do so I felt myself bound in conscience since several weeks, but did not do it because my most Dear Bishop, whose heart has been so much grieved, intended to write Himself. I doing so, may be wrong, or imprudent, or fail in some way; but if so, I hope Your Lordship will excuse me anyhow and still believe that I do not write but through pure zeal for the good of my Community and to defend our Dear Bishop, who has been really ill-treated in the whole affair.

Since the RR Bishop appointed me Director of the whole Community, on the 9th of Nov 1857, I have been indeed very well satisfied of the religious spirit of all the subjects in general: -- but one thing was destroying all the good; the R Rev Bishop, although not possessing the proofs that He has now, knew well enough that Mother Theresa, seconded by Rev. Smulders, worked since long to remove the Institute from this diocese, and, therefore, He deemed in necessary to forbid any correspondence between them. Notwithstanding this most strict prohibition, correspondence continued to be kept up through other Fathers, who went so far as to make, by letter and words, postulants believe (contrary to all the Rules) that the Rev. Father, whom I still reverence, was the very director of the Congregation: this alone justifies the Bishop's act; still it was told as a tyranny and an oppression. Your Lordship knows what precautions have been taken as far as the foundation of St. Joseph's, and the conditions, under which the Bishop, as first Superior of the Congregation consented to establishing the Sisters in other dioceses.

In the meantime things were arranged for commencing in Reading, and the first word the R. Rev. Bishop and the Director knew about it was the letter of Your Lordship of last March; that new foundation being proposed as involving the removal of the whole Institute from this diocese. I could not by declare that I had no right to decide the matter, and the Bishop, to whom the question was referred, refused so much the more because He was commencing a house in Detroit (that is now entirely furnished).

By this decision many plans were deranged, and then the Mother commenced to declare if the Bishop was not willing to give His consent, that He should have been compelled, sooner or later, (although He had never formally been asked to let them go). Shortly after she received a letter from one of the Sisters of Susquehanna that her presence there was absolutely necessary because of a too great familiarity between the Superioress with one of the priests and asked me that I should intercede for her to obtain leave to start immediately, and so I did, observing still that everything that could be done by Sister Josepha [sic] (as her assistant) who intended to go to St. Joseph's for her health.

On receipt of the Bishop's negative answer the tempest broke out: Mother gave her demission declared that she would not submit to such oppression and tyranny, and that all the Sisters would enforce [sic] the Bishop, at least on the 8th of December for, she said, then we shall do what our vows prevented us from doing now. In such circumstances what was to be done? The good Bishop, for fear of further revolt and public scandal removed Mother Theresa and called Sister Magdalen to smother all at once what commenced in St. Joseph's, proposing at the same time to write to Your Lordship. His order being laughed at, and writing to you had been put off, I suppose, by too much business. Then commenced the great and deplorable work of making all the Sisters leave Monroe; letters after letters arrived preaching zeal and fervor to force the Bishop, and to leave, at least on the 8th of December, if the Bishop would not grant dispensation. Such was the theme debated in every way in the letters of Mother Theresa and several Sisters old and young, and even of Novices. This all was no malice; the good Sisters thought, I wish to believe, they were right, and, after all, this was but the least part of the debate; the work was carried on at every side; a Redemptorist Father wrote to Mother Joseph that she had to understand the importance of her position, and to leave, the sooner the better, without any regard to the Bishop; -- another having been six months ago the Confessor of one of the Novices during 4 months, let her know that it is Your Lordship's wish, and his command that she should leave the same day (the money 100$) being sent for that purpose to a layman -- a third one sent letters in the same sense to a layman to hand them to a professed sister and a novice -- Finally altogether they invoked theology and Canonical laws and especially Your Lordship's authority to prove that Mother Joseph had now lawful authority and ... the Superior of Vienna is not _____ under obedience and this here is made known that she will very soon receive the changes and the additions made to the Rule by Your Lordship, etc. They do not even reflect that if the Rt. Rev. Bishop had no right to _____ the Superioress in an ordinary case he had it surely in such an urgent case according to the Spirit of the H. Role. They do not think that all Mother Th's authority since the 8th of Dec. emanated from the same source -- that she has still always been recognized as lawful Superioress -- that she has given her demission on the 30th of March -- that she has been dismissed by the Bishop on the next day and that she herself has plainly acknowledged her fault.

I should have liked, Rt. Rev. Bishop, to enter more in details but I fear I am already to [sic] long. One thing more I wish to add, that I do no write to accuse either the Rev. Smulders or the Sisters or any of them but to give You only a more or less clear view of this side of the question. I love this institute very tenderly, I excuse very readily what has been done wrong and am ready to make yet all exertions to restore good harmony between all the good Sisters. For the rest I write confidentially to your Lordship, stating if anything perhaps might better be left our for charity's sake, no one word still but truth has been written and that only of which evident proof exists.

Bishop Lefevere to Bishop Wood

In July of 1859, Bishop James F. Wood, coadjutor of the diocese of Philadelphia, wrote to Bishop Lefevere seeking information about the IHMs. The following letter is Bishop Lefevere's response. It includes a lengthy account of his perspective about Mother Theresa. It ought to be noted that none of his allegations about Mother Theresa are substantiated by other sources. Indeed, Sr. Rosalita, in No Greater Service, the definitive history of the congregation's early days, appends the following note to her transcription of the letter:

"This letter will bear serious criticism before it
can be used as history. Glaring mistakes, either
intentional or unintentional, were written into
this document. We have documentary proof in our
own archives to set forth as evidence."

The letter's significance ... is not so much what Bishop Lefevere says about Mother Theresa, but what we can infer about the Bishop himself from this writing.

Rt Rev. J.F. Wood Bishop Coadj. Philada. Rt. Rev. & Dear Brother in X.

I had well suspected, as I now see by your letter of the 28th inst. that you have all the time been kept in the dark about the mean, unmanly & shameful proceedings, in relation to the Convent of the I.H.M. in Monroe. For this reason I have taken the trouble of writing our and sending you the above and foregoing copies of the letters of F.F. Jacob, Smulders & Gieson which were sent to me by the Rev. Supr. of said Convent. These letters will at once show you that they were instigated & written by a very bad spirit, too bad and mean for a priest or religious, neither will you fail to discover in them a refined & deep rooted rascality unworthy not only of the priest & religious, but even of the man possessed of any decency or honor. And the worst feature in all these proceedings is that having discovered that the Bishop of Philadelphia is, by these letters, implicated in this dirty affair, I had directed Mr. Joos Supr. of said Convent in Monroe, to draw off copies of said letters to send them to said Bishop with the request to inform him whether in reality these letters had been written by his suggestion, consent or assent. But up to this time he had not even deigned to send an answer. Neither has said Bishop or Dr. O'Reilly ever written to me. Now, as I wrote a few days ago to the Provincial of the Redemptorists (sending him copies of the above letters) if these things must remain in status quo, or go on the way they have commenced, I am determined to have these letters printed together with a full statement of the whole affair, & such comments as I shall deem proper or necessary, & send copies of the same not only to the Cardinal Prefect, of the Prop. Fide in Rome, but also to each Archbishop & Bishop in the U.S. & to all Pastors of souls, in order that they may be put upon their guard against such wolves in sheep's clothing.

The said Convent in Monroe was commenced about the year 18441 by Rev. Father Gillet, C.S.S.R. who was the first Supr. of the house of Redemptorists in Monroe. This Fr. Gillet, before coming to Michigan, having attended for some time the Convent of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, a Community of colored women in Baltimore, & knowing that this same Mother Teresa so often mentioned in the above letters, & a Sister Ann both Oblate Sisters who are now either in Reading or Susquehanna, were much discontented & about to leave the Convent, because perhaps they had more pretensions & thereby raised jealousy, as they were much whiter than any other of the Sisters, Fr. Gillet thought he could avail himself of their services to commence a Convent in Monroe. So he wrote to the Supr. of that Convent in Balte. & had all matters arranged to the great satisfaction2 of the whole Community. Things went on in Monroe, very slowly but quietly, until it became known that Fr. Gillet showed too much attachment3 to the Mother Theresa. There when, at last for this and other reasons, the Provincial dismissed him from the Order & his place was supplied by Father Smulders, who drove things at a more rapid rate. But in the course of time as there was some rumor afloat among the people about Fr. Smulders & the Convent, he in his turn was by the Provincial discharged from the office of Supr. & Fr. Poirier put in his place.

Now, things went on apparently better & better until in 1854 the Redemptorists of their own accord, discontinued & abandoned their house in Monroe. From that time up to the present this Fr. Smulders together with some other Redemptorists have not ceased to keep up a correspondence either directly or indirectly with Mother Theresa. But when I perceived that this correspondence began to make her very restless & dissatisfied continually pining after the FF. Redemptorists, I then strictly forbid her all correspondence with the Fathers who had been in Monroe. This prohibition, however, was of little avail. For Fr. Smulders continued his correspondence by writing to other Sisters & causing other Fathers to write. The effect of all this was that nearly the whole Community became more or less dissatisfied. The ultimate object was the removal of all the Sisters to the Diocese of Phila. To this end, they got Fr. O'Reilly to write to Mother Teresa, to allow some Sisters to take charge of a school at St. Joseph's in Susquehanna Co., offering the greatest inducements for this. When this letter was communicated to me I readily consented to the establishing of a house of the Order at St. Joseph's with these express conditions: 1st that this should be done with the full consent & approbation of the Bishop of Philadelphia, 2nd that the Community at St. Joseph's should always be dependent upon the Mother house in Monroe, & 3rd that each Sister should receive a certain yearly salary. I then also directed that Sr. M. Magdalene should be sent as Local Supr. of that new establishment. My particular reason for sending that Sister was, not only her competence, but because I had learned that, a short time before she became a novice, a young gentleman from Detroit, had sent her, at his own expense to school in Monroe, with a view to marry hereafter she had received some education, & continued to show some hankering after her. So then four Sisters started in company with Mother Teresa who was to install them & make all the required necessary arrangements with the Bishop and Fr. O'Reilly. After a very long absence, Mother Teresa at last returned & told me that the cause of her staying so long was that the Bishop was on the Mission & could not come to St. Joseph's then, but when he did come, then Fr. O'Reilly was absent, & thus no arrangements could be made but that the Bishop would soon write to me (which he never did). Thus things went for a considerable time, whilst I was daily expecting that letter from the Bishop. But at last to my utter astonishment, Mother Teresa made suddenly her appearance one day in Detroit, having traveled 40 miles from Monroe to see me & showed me a letter from Bishop Neumann writing to her that the house in Reading had been purchased, would soon be ready, & requested the Sisters to come on. To all my various questions she answered that it was the Will of God, that no good was to be done in Michigan, & that all things had been arranged to remove the Community of Monroe to the Diocese of Phila. I then positively told her to return quietly to Monroe, that no such thing could be done, & that no other house in the Diocese of Philadelphia could be accepted. Not disconcerted at this, Mother Teresa some time after, went to see Rev. Mr. Joos the Director of the Convent, informing him that she had just received a letter from Sister Aloysia in St. Joseph's saying that Sister Magdalene was much too familiar with one of the priests in the College & that she really feared there would soon be great scandal ensuing. Mother Teresa then wanted to start immediately for St. Joseph's. But when the Director told her that she could not do that, before he had written to the Bishop of Detroit, she broke out in a most violent passion, & said that she had no confidence any more, neither in him (The Director) nor the Bishop, nor Mr. Hennaert (the Extraordinary confessor). When I was informed of that I went to Monroe & seeing Mother Teresa had already caused great general dissatisfaction in the Community, was bent upon destroying its peace & creating a schism, I thought at first to expel her at once from the Order, but fearing some greater scandal, I discharged her from the office of Supr. General, & sent her in company with two other Sisters to Susquehanna, there to be local Supr. in place of Sister Magdalene whom, on account of her perilous situation I recalled to Monroe together with two other Sisters. But Father O'Reilly seconding the shameful & rascally part of the Redemptorists, retained all the Sisters & thus completed the schism. Since this time letters were continually written to and from which have completely turned the heads of some Sisters in Monroe, two of whom, viz.: Sister Mary & Sister Rose, I was obliged to expel for their disobedience & spirit of revolt, even a few days ago, Sister Egidius, the favorite & beloved Sister of Fr. Smulders, abruptly left the Convent, of her own accord. Still these three Sisters, (as Fr. Smulders had promised) were warmly received & with open arms.

Such, Monseigneur, are the outlines of the information which, for the present, I can give you on the subject. These proceedings look certainly mean & shameful enough in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of God, they cannot be but very criminal. But how the Bishop of Philada. [sic] can possibly take part in, or countenance such things in his Diocese, is more than I can conceive. This same Mother Teresa has already occasioned the ruin of one Fr. Redemptorist, & nearly the fall of another one: & now let him see for the future the consequences of all these shameful proceedings. If you take the pains to go & see that Mother Teresa & Sister Ann, & converse with them a little, you will soon discover in them, notwithstanding their advanced age, all the softness, slyness & low cunning of the mulatto & surely the colored Sisters in Baltimore will rejoice at hearing that one of their body is at the head of such an establishment as that in Reading.

Please accept, Monseigneur, the expressions of the high regard & esteem with which I have the honor to remain

Your very obedient Servant
Peter P. Lefevere Bp. Zela
Coadj. Ds. Det.
Detroit August 2nd 1859


1. This is the wrong year. The convent opened in 1845.

2. The annals of the Oblates of Providence indicate the opposite; there seems to have been no satisfaction at the sisters' leaving.

3. There is no evidence for this charge. Moreover, Louis Gillet was not dismissed from the Redemptorists.

Father Jacobs to Sister Coletta

Mother Theresa and some of her Redemptorist friends initiated efforts to persuade sisters to leave Monroe when their annual vows expired. In the case of novices, they urged immediate withdrawal and entrance in Pennsylvania. These Redemptorists attempted to contact sisters whom they had originally directed to Monroe. The letters were intercepted; their contents shared by Father Joos with Bishop Lefevere. The anger and bitterness engendered by these actions gravely exacerbated the tension between Monroe and Pennsylvania.

The following is an example of one of the letters.

Annapolis Md. May 4th 1859

Dear Sister Coletta

When on a Mission in Philadelphia before Easter I had the happiness of seeing Rev. Mother Teresa and Sister Ignatius just before they left for St. Joseph's, I was indeed delighted with this interview especially when Mother told me, that you were doing so well in the Noviciate. May God and His dear Mother assist you to persevere unto the end!

But now Rev. Mother Teresa as well as Bishop Neumann and Father Smulders want you in St. Joseph's and wish me to communicate this to you. Since you have not yet made your vows, you do not depend upon the Bishop of Detroit and therefore I as your confessor, who sent you to Monroe, withdraw you again to comply with the wish of Rev. Mother. You will then, dear Sister, please to leave Monroe for St. Joseph's as soon as this letter reaches you. The money for the journey you will get from Mr. O'Connor, whom Rev. Mother by a letter has authorized to pay the expenses. I see to my great delight that God by storms and tribulations makes your holy ardor take firm roots in the ground of the church. The new foundation in Reading Penna. which I saw, is really beautiful and grand and will hold a great many novices. May the Immaculate heart of Mary ever guard and protect her own work and give you all the grace of strength and fortitude!

This is my sincerest wish, with which, asking your prayers most earnestly I remain in the heart of Jesus and Mary.

Your unworthy
Fr. Jos. Mary Jacobs
C. SS. R.

Mother Mary Joseph to unnamed sister in Pennsylvania


Revd & dear Sister in J.C.

Some days ago a letter was handed me, addressed to one of our Candidates & which, on opening, I found to have been written by one of the members of you Convent.

Pardon me, my dear Sister, if I should myself address you a few lines in answer to the above-mentioned letter, which I do with conscientious motive of letting you know the position exactly in which we consider ourselves with regard to the institutions at Reading & St. Joseph's, & consequently the course which now, as in future, we are bound to conscience before God to pursue.

From the purport of the good Sister's letter, I presume she is under the impression that the Communities of I.H.M. in the Diocese of Detroit belong to the same Order as that of which she is a member. This, my dear Sister, is a grave mistake; for in a letter of our Rt. Rev. Bishop of Detroit, dated 10th of June 1859, in which he pronounces the dismissal of two Sisters then belonging to the Institute, he formally states, with regard to the Sisters in the Diocese of Philadelphia, that they are forever cut off from the Order of the Srs Sevts of the Immte Ht [sic] of Mary & consequently no correspondence or fellowship should be held with them. This my dear Sister is the formal decree of our first Superior, and given, only after his having heard through me, the conscientious opinion of the majority of the members of our Community here, respecting the matter, viz: that all disconnection was preferable to the unsettled and dreadfully trying state of affairs at that time. From that moment we became separated, and the two Institutions are now as distinct as is our Holy Rule & as I understand our Customs also.

Be not surprised at the silence of Sr. Dennehy, with whom I would deal unfairly were I to conceal from her the course she has to adopt in relation to those Sisters whom I believe she tenderly loves, in order that she may have time to reflect if she be able to submit to the trial, or not before our admitting her as Novice. She is very well, however, & prays for the Sisterhood at Reading, as we all do; and though my dear Sister, in the eternal pleasure of an unerring Providence, we know not His loving designs in thus permitting a separation among those who once possessed (if I may thus express myself) but one heart & one soul in common, yet this much we know, that He wills we should be united and united forever, in the fervent desire of living & serving our Heavenly Master and in accomplishing to the end His adorable Will here, in order that we may all enjoy an eternal union in the bosom of His love hereafter. Let us all do this and a happy eternity is ours.

Please pray for me & for our beloved Sisters
Sincerely Yrs in the tender love of Jesus & Mary
Sr Mary Joseph
Servant I.H.M.