(From “Chronicle of the American Sisters of the Eastern Province of the Canonization of St. Louise” , used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
At 5:50 this morning we were down at the front door waiting to greet our Most Honored Father. He arrived at the appointed time and promptly at 6:00 Holy Mass was begun. The chapel was crowded to its capacity. After breakfast we assembled in the Community Room to see our Most Honored Father. He was kindness and affability personified – a father in the midst of his children …
At about 10:00 A.M. we went over to St. Peter’s to join the group of French pilgrims composed of Ladies of Charity, Louisettes, and several hundred Sisters of Charity [sic]. It was difficult for the Lazarus [sic] priest in charge to handle such a crowd, but in a short time the processing moved on to the Holy Door, and the Jubilee visits were accomplished. The French hymns sung by the pilgrims between the stational [sic] visits were pretty and devotional, and the young girls had strong pleasing voices that carried well through the vast spaces of St. Peters … The sky was a beautiful blue, as only Italian skies can be, and great banks of fluffy white clouds hovered here and there at seemingly close range.
By the time the second Jubilee visit was ended it was quite late and we did not get back to via Bresciagni until one o’clock. We were due at St. Martha’s at 1:30 to view our Most Honored Mother’s gifts to the Holy Father so there was no time to lose. Dinner was taken in haste and by a quarter to two were at St. Martha’s looking at the offerings. There were at least seven large snow-white boxes bearing the Pope’s coat-of-arms and fastened with brass clasps. Each box contained a wealth of exquisite, hand-worked church linen and six of them contained sets of vestments of all the rubrical colors. The main offering, the relic of St. Louise, was in a magnificent rectangular green-gold reliquary of modernistic design. It also bears the Pope’s coat of arms … During the inspection our Most Honored Mother address a few words to the Sisters … Among other edifying remarks she said:
“Tomorrow, all over the world, the heart and mind of every Sister of Charity [sic] will be united in spirit with us here. We will be one – one great family. And, as the Father and Mother of this family are exponents of charity, we will have with us at the Canonization tomorrow morning three hundred poor to see the triumph of their mother.
For us it remains to practice the virtues and grow in the spirit of St. Louise for her spirit is that which should animate the Community. In a world that is selfish, we should practice charity, in a where everyone wants to be first, we should practice humility; in a world that seeks but itself we should practice simplicity.”
At about 2:30 the pilgrimage proceeded to St. Mary Major, thence to St. John Lateran to complete the visits of the Jubilee … One of the humorous episodes was the photographing of the pilgrims. Imagine, trying to keep a thousand and more persons quiet long enough to have a picture taken. It was a task, but it was finally accomplished. By the time we reached the third church, the pictures taken at St. Peters had been developed, printed, and were ready for sale. That was rapid enough to be American!