FROM THE ARCHIVES
Over the course of the past months we have been reading about the beginnings of the two new North American provinces. Once the properties had been purchased (or general locations chosen), there were other important decisions to be made.
At the provincial council meeting of April 23, 1938, names were chosen for the three provinces: Holy Name (east), Sacred Heart (middle west), and St. Francis (Pacific Coast). The new house in Monrovia was first referred to as “Alverno Heights,” but very soon the name “Mount Alverno” seemed more suitable. “Marycrest” was chosen for the new Denver property.
It had already been determined that postulants would be admitted in both the new places in September. They would be considered aspirants until the approbation from Rome canonically establishing the new novitiate houses was received. S. Immaculata McCarthy, Novice Mistress at Stella Niagara, would be the “Sister in Charge” in Denver, while M. Tarcissia Mulbay was selected for Monrovia. S. Rose Bennett became the new Novice Mistress at Stella.
It was also necessary to distribute the sisters in the three provinces—no easy task. The chapter had already settled that the sisters would be permitted to choose to which province they wished to belong, but it had been thought the choice would be between Stella Niagara and one other. Now the choice was among three provinces. The requisite forms were drawn up and on May 25, 1938, all the Sisters throughout the whole Province, after the conclusion of prayers in Chapel, would assemble in the community and would make their decision in writing, witnessed by two other Sisters. A solemn novena to the Holy Ghost for guidance and light in this important matter was to precede the making of these decisions. Four choices were to be given: Eastern Province, Middle West Province, Pacific Coast Province, or Indifferent. . . . the results showed that 280 chose the East, 94 the Middle West, 120 the Pacific Coast, 82 were indifferent; two did not sign, and the seventeen young Sisters who were to make their temporary vows in August were considered as belonging to the province from which they came.
The autumn of 1938 saw the convening of the general chapter in Heythuysen. Shortly before, the approbation of the Apostolic See for the division of the North American Province arrived and it was decided that the new provinces would be formally established on January 1, 1939. This welcome news came to the sisters immediately following word that M. Aloysia Hellweg had again been chosen, after postulation to Rome, to serve another term of six years as general superior.
M. Lidwina, M. Celsa Schmalen, and S. Gonzaga Miller returned to the U.S. on December 1. On December 17 came the general council’s appointments for the two new provinces:
Sacred Heart: M. Erica Hughes (provincial), M. Celsa Schmalen (1st assistant), S. Dolores Disch, M. Immaculata McCarthy, and M. Elma Vifquain (councilors); M. Immaculata was also appointed novice mistress. St. Francis: M. Emma Gale (provincial), M. Clarissa Asman (1st assistant), M. Clement Finkle, M. Tarcissia Mulbay, and M. Marita Riddle (councilors); M. Tarcissia was appointed novice mistress.
There was much to be done between Christmas and the new year when the provinces were to be officially established. The “exodus” began and by January 1 the necessary changes had taken place—although some sisters remained at their assignments for some time before they could be adequately replaced. 1938 had truly been a memorable year!