The new property had been secured, but M. Lidwina was naturally desirous of having the other members of her council see it for themselves. Although all four members could not make the trip, it was decided that M. Gerard Zimmermann and M. Dorothy Ortmeyer would come. In the meantime M. Lidwina would continue with the visitation, traveling to Sacramento and Portland, then returning to meet the others in early March.
The return trip south was rather harrowing as a late winter storm pummeled California, flooding cities and towns, and even undermining the tracks so that travel was perilous. Although M. Lidwina and S. Bernice reached L.A. late, they were unharmed, having been on the last train through the San Fernando tunnel before it caved in!
M. Gerard’s and M. Dorothy’s trip was also impacted as they were caught in Las Vegas when floods washed away bridges and stalled trains. Passengers were placed on buses to complete the westward trip, but they were turned back after several hours by rising waters and washed out roads. Another route from Las Vegas was attempted and this time, after a twelve-hour ride, they arrived travel-worn but safe in L. A.
On Tuesday March 8, Father Francis Redman took the sisters out to Monrovia where “the newcomers were delighted with the mountain cove, and thought it ideally situated.” Indeed, the Renaker property seemed perfectly suited for the motherhouse and novitiate of the soon-to-be established new province.
However, as M. Lidwina had made the westward journey from Denver, a good two days’ trip even on a fast train, and as she considered the vast distances to be covered in a western province stretching from Chicago to the coast, with houses already located in Denver, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California—all so widely separated, the thought forced itself upon her that the situation which the Chapter had tried to help by the division of provinces—the great distances to be covered by a Provincial Superior in caring for all houses in the provinces—would still remain a hindrance. Then necessarily followed the idea—since we are dividing the province at this time, why not have three provinces instead of two, dividing this vast western territory into one which would stretch from the Mississippi to the Rockies, and the other from the Rockies to the Coast.
When this was proposed to M. Gerard and M. Dorothy at the meeting of the Council on March 9 in Los Angeles, it met with their hearty approval, and the proposal, sanctioned by the Provincial Council, was then finally submitted to the General Council for approval, and on April 20 came the cable from Reverend Mother Aloysia, “Approved.” Thus were born the two new western provinces.
(all quotations taken from Chronicle of the Division of the North American Province, 1938)