Mother Mary to the Sisters
4 March 1891
May Jesus and Mary be praised.
My own dear Sisters,
Through the kindness of a friend I am able to write to you all for our glorious Patron’s feast – the 25th anniversary of the Institute. May it be a happy one to each and all of you, my dearest Sisters, To me it is both matter for joy and sadness. Joy and gratitude to our good God for all He has done for His work – but sad, too, when I think of the dear Father who was with me 25 years ago, but whom our good God has taken from us; who loved the work and did so much for it and whom every true child of St Joseph must lovingly associate with the Feast of this year. In the first place, my loved ones, pray for his dear soul and offer your Holy Communions first for him on that day. Get Holy Mass for the same intention where you can. If, as I trust is the case, our dear departed Father does not need our prayers, he can make use of them all in favour of those who remember him on earth.
Twenty-five years ago, we first kept up St Joseph’s Day as the special Feast of our proposed Institute and little did either of us then dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning. First we had Mass and Holy Communion in the church and then a feast for the schoolchildren. On that day was our glorious Patron first honoured as Patron of little children, and our work committed to his care. Our poor Father was happy that day and so was I, but we said little beyond wondering whom God would call to assist us and how He would make the way clear.
Ah, my Sisters, God has done wonders for us. He has tried us sorely – and comforted us wonderfully. He has protected his foster-father’s work and brought good out of many evils. Be grateful, my Sisters, my children, pray to be worthy children of St Joseph’s great Institute, pray to have the true spirit of the same, that prosperity may not elate nor adversity ever shake your courage and generosity in the service of God. We must all have our moments of trial and weariness; we must all at times feel the cross heavy; but a quiet meditation on the example of our glorious Patron under similar circumstances will make us ashamed of our cowardice and rouse afresh our energy in our holy calling. O, my Sisters, let us with great confidence turn to our glorious Patron on his feast day, let us ask him to obtain for us all we need to make us humble and faithful. Unless we have the spirit of humility we shall only be Sisters of Saint Joseph in name. St Joseph, our Father, was humble and hidden. Unless he sees in us the desire to imitate him in this, how can he recognise us as his children, how plead for us as such with his Foster Son? Remember this when any contrary temptation comes. A little time of trial and suffering here and then sweet rest with our glorious Father in the presence and love of our Divine Spouse forever.
With humility we shall be obedient and with both these virtues we must love and practise charity, the darling one of all. Oh, do love one another, my Sisters, do bear with one another, do think well of one another. No matter what has been said of you or done to you, forget all now. Make an offering of every wrong, real or imaginary, to our glorious Patron, to be presented by him to our Divine Spouse, his Foster Son, and pray that you may never remember such things again. How can we have peace or charity whilst constantly recalling past injuries? O, how happy it would make me if my Sisters would really love and bear with each other; how happy it would make our dear departed Father, how it would please our Divine Spouse and our sweet Immaculate Mother. Won’t we all try to make our loved ones in Heaven happy on St Joseph’s Day? Won’t we do this by being united in holy charity that day and thus merit the graces ready to be given to us. Ah yes, please God, wherever we are, whether in Adelaide, Port Augusta, New Zealand, Victoria or New South Wales, we shall all be one in holy love and charity that day. I shall think of all my children and we shall remember our dear departed Father.
It is my fond wish and hope that we shall be able to start the building of our oratory, the Mother House chapel, dedicated to St Joseph in memory of our departed Father. I feel sure that God will bless us in this and send us the means of building it without incurring fresh debt. Pray that we may succeed and that we may have a chapel worthy, as far as becomes us, of our glorious Patron and of our dear Father’s memory.
I hope to see a good many of you during the year if God spares me, and Mother General will see others. I am sure you do all you can to assist her and make her many duties as easy to execute as possible.
With fondest love to each of you and wishing you every blessing through the hands of our glorious Patron,
I am, as ever, my own dear Sisters,
Your loving old Mother in J.M.J.
Mary of the Cross