Category Archives: Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Tracing the Rule: A Look at Charity Federation Treasures

Dee Gallo
Provincial Archivist

September 13 was a special day at the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. As part of their celebration of the 40th anniversary of the canonization of Mother Seton, Seton Heritage Ministries hosted a gathering of sisters from the congregations of the Charity Federation. There were tours of the Shrine, its museum, and the historic houses in which Mother Seton and her Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s lived in the early 1800s. In addition, the Provincial Archives, along with our fellow Federation archives, arranged a special display of copies of the Federation congregations’ Rules, nineteenth-century documents that defined the religious characteristics and activities of their early sisters.

Some of these Rules clearly trace back to a single source: a manuscript copy of St. Vincent de Paul’s Regulations for the Daughters of Charity, the community he began in Paris in 1633. In August of 1811, Bishop Benedict Flaget brought the volume to Emmitsburg where it was adapted by Rev. John Dubois, founder of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Then, with the approval of Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore and Rev. John Tessier, the new “American Rule” (Image 1) was presented to and accepted by Elizabeth Ann Seton and her community on 17 January 1812. In brief, this new Rule was clearly crafted for women religious working in the New World.

The Provincial Archives is privileged to have among its Rare Books the copy of the Vincentian Rule brought over by Bishop Flaget as well as the original American Rule accepted by Mother Seton. We shared those precious links to Setonian and Vincentian heritage with other Federation archivists who graciously brought their own copies of their Rules for the display. In addition to Emmitsburg’s , on exhibit were original copies of the Rules of the Sisters of Charity of New York (Image 2); the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, New Jersey (Image 3); and a scan of the first page of the Rules for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY (Image 4). In this blog, we share those images along with others from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati (Image 5) and the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, Charleston, S.C. (Image 6).

By comparing and contrasting the various Rules, one finds that the links among the Charity congregations are as rich as threads in a tapestry. For example, Bishop Flaget, then prelate of neighboring Bardstown, KY, brought to Catherine Spaulding’s congregation in Nazareth a copy of the same Rule accepted by Elizabeth Ann Seton’s community; Mother Spaulding, however, chose to adapt theirs slightly differently– and in definitely more “American” English. Showing yet another link is a page from the manuscript of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati’s Rule which bears the language of the approvals of both Archbishop Carroll and Rev. Tessier given to the Seton document in 1812. Finally, the Rule for the South Carolina Sisters shows a link to Emmitsburg via Bishop John England of Charleston, who had procured a copy and proposed it for the congregation of Sisters which he started in 1829.

Our thanks to the archivists of the Sisters of Charity of New York, Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, and Sisters of Charity of Nazareth for granting permission to share images from their Rules. Thanks to Sr. Noreen Neary, archivist of the Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, for assisting with the Rules display at the National Shrine.

Image 1: Daughters of Charity, Emmitsburg (image courtesy of Daughters of Charity Province of St. Louise Archives, Emmitsburg, MD)

Image 1: Daughters of Charity, Emmitsburg, MD

Image 2: Sisters of Charity of New York (courtesy Sisters of Charity of New York)

Image 2: Sisters of Charity of New York

Image 3: Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, NJ (image courtesy of Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, NJ)

Image 3: Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, NJ

Image 4: Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (image courtesy of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)

Image 4: Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY

Image 5: Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati (image courtesy of Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Image 5: Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, OH

Image 6: Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, Charleston, S.C. (image courtesy of Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy)

Image 6: Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, Charleston, S.C.

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Filed under Sisters of Charity Federation, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Sisters of Charity of Convent Station, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sisters of Charity of New York, Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy, Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph's

Preservation Projects: Margaret George Treasurer’s Notebook

Treasurer's Notebook of Sister Margaret George (used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

Treasurer’s Notebook of Sister Margaret George (used with permission of the Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

The Provincial Archives is rich in collections that span the American Daughters’ of Charity history from their origins with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s to the missions they continue to staff today. It only stands to reason, though, that some of our earliest manuscript sources have suffered the effects of time. The photo shows one of the most valuable items in our collection, the Treasurer’s Notebook of Sister Margaret George. This book, which contains entrance records for the earliest Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, holds significance as well for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and of Seton Hill, PA, because of Mother Margaret George’s role in their communities. It was treated in 2013 by local hand bookbinder Mary Wootton. The treatment included rebinding and construction of an archival storage box specific to the dimensions of the book.

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Introduction of Cause for Canonization: Sister Blandina Segale, S.C.

Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Sister Blandina with menmbers of her family (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

Sister Blandina with clients from Santa Maria Social Service Center (courtesy Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we received the press release below concerning the introduction of the cause for canonization for Sister Blandina Segale, S.C. (Cincinnati). For more information, see the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati website (http://www.srcharitycinti.org)

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan to Hold Joint Press Conference with CHI St. Joseph’s Children to Announce Vatican’s Immediate Permission to Open the Sainthood Cause of Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale, SC
Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 11:00 AM
CHI St. Joseph’s Children Facility
1516 5th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Tuesday, June 24, 2014- IMMEDIATE RELEASE– Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan will hold a joint-press conference with CHI St. Joseph’s Children, Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am to announce the Vatican’s immediate permission to open the Sainthood Cause of Servant of God, Sister Blandina Segale, SC. The press conference will be held at CHI St. Joseph’s Children Facility located at 1516 5th Street NW, Albuquerque, 87102. A delegation from the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati will include Sr. Victoria Forde, SC, official delegate. The historical posting of the official Decree will be displayed on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi’s doors on Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 3pm during La Conquistadora/Our Lady of Peace Vespers and Procession to Rosario Chapel located at Rosario Cemetery in Santa Fe.

Archbishop Sheehan received permission to open the cause of beatification from the Vatican via the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. Archbishop Sheehan was named Judge for the Cause; Most Rev. Ricardo Ramirez, Bishop Emeritus of Las Cruces, has been named Postulator; and Allen Sánchez, President and CEO of CHI St. Joseph’s Children, is designated as Petitioner.

This is the first time in New Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church’s 400 year history a decree opening the cause of beatification and canonization has been declared.

CHI St. Joseph’s Children (St. Joseph Community Health) Board of Directors approved a motion to petition the canonization of Sr. Blandina Segale, SC at their May 28, 2013 board meeting.
Contact: Allen Sánchez 505.319.3334
–END

Background information
Servant of God, Rosa Maria Segale (Sr. Blandina Segale, SC)
The Servant of God, Rosa Maria Segale (Sr. Blandina Segale, SC) was born January 23, 1850 in Cicagna, Italy. Her family migrated to Cincinnati, OH when she was four years old. Her first word as a child was Gesu (Jesus).

On September 13, 1866 the Servant of God entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. She was sent to work in the newly acquired territories of the western United States in 1872. Arriving first in Trinidad, CO, Sr. Blandina taught the poor. In 1877 she was transferred to Santa Fe, NM where she cofounded the public and Catholic schools. Her work included starting hospitals in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Her work in these territories is well documented in the publication of letters to her sister, also a Sister of Charity, called At the End of the Santa Fe Trail.

Other heroic virtues include her tireless work of teaching and healing the immigrant, the marginalized, the poor, and advocating for women and children. She challenged the occupying government and military in fair treatment of the Native Americans. Sr. Blandina came to the aid of mistreated railroad workers, finding time to care for the sick while building orphanages, hospitals, schools, and trade schools.

Her compassion converted hundreds and she even had numerous encounters with the famous Billy the Kid and his band of outlaws. She calmed mobs of armed men from taking the law into their own hands and helped criminals seek forgiveness from their victims, and even saved a man from a hanging party by facilitating reconciliation between him and the man he shot before he died. In 1966 this story of bravery was told in a CBS series Death Valley Days episode “The Fastest Nun in the West” where she faced down the barrels of guns to find justice. One account is her prevention of Hispanic and Native American’s loss of homes and land to swindlers and another is saving a lost horse drawn wagon of passengers during a winter blizzard and reaching safety in blackout conditions.

In 1897 she founded the Santa Maria Institute in Cincinnati, serving immigrants. She led the organization until 1933. The institute is still in operation today, serving the poor and marginalized.

In 1900 Sr. Blandina returned to Albuquerque for two years to help start the St. Joseph Hospital whose mission continues today as CHI St. Joseph’s Children, also known as St. Joseph Community Health.

Her ministries continue today, over 100 years later, and thousands of poor children receive early childhood service by her continuing ministry. Many of the adobe structures Sr. Blandina built still stand today as monuments to her courage.. For example, in Old Albuquerque the convent bears her name. Her life’s work is well documented in the archives of the Sisters of Charity Mother House in Cincinnati.

Sr. Blandina was one of the petitioners of the Cause of St. Elizabeth Seton, and at 81 years old she traveled to Italy to meet with Pope Pius to plead St. Elizabeth’s Cause. The Servant of God died on February 23, 1941 in Cincinnati at the Mother House of the Sisters of Charity at the age of 91. Her last words were Gesu e Madre.

Contact: Allen Sánchez 505.319.3334–END
Archdiocese of Santa Fe Office of Communications/Media
505.831.8162 Website: http://www.archdiosf.org

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