Account of the Regular Visit

On the following day, I opened the Visit with the usual prayers, and throughout the entire week I gave all the religious three conferences a day. . . . eight days later, I began the Regular Visit of the Community at St. Mary's. There, as at Notre Dame and in the other houses of the Vicariate, there had been many cruel trials and much physical and moral suffering. None of this surprised me, however, when I beheld the marvels accomplished by zeal and religious devotedness in the midst of these age-old forests.

Every morning I went to St. Mary's through a pretty grove, skirting the lake and the two charming Solitudes of the Salvatorist and the Josephite novices, to preside at the Sisters' meditation, say Mass, receive them in Direction, and organize their administration. On my return to Notre Dame in the evening, I usually gave a last talk to the members of the Community and sometimes to the students, whose vacation had just ended.

After night prayer, the Council met to determine relationships either with the Mother House and Canada, or with New Orleans, whose Superior, accompanied by Mother Mary of the Passion, and at my request, had just arrived. These meetings, which lasted sometimes till very late at night, produced their fruit, and all the difficulties which had remained unsettled until then were arranged by mutual agreement, thanks to the conciliating and generous attitude of Father Sorin and his councillors.

Separation of temporal interests

This same spirit guided the Councils of the priests and Brothers and of the Sisters, which I convoked from time to time at St. Mary's to negotiate the separation of the temporal interests of the two Communities. I had begun the Visit at St. Mary's by appointing Mother Mary of St. Angela as Provincial Superioress, and Directress of the Academy, and Sister Mary of the Ascension as Local Superior. I had also designated their councillors. In spite of the attempts of the devil to obstruct this admirable spirit of harmony, everything was arranged most satisfactorily, just as it had been at Saint-Laurent. I was, indeed, happy to see the grace of God triumph everywhere, and I was continually thanking the God of all consolation for having deigned thus to consolidate His work.

Ceremony at St. Mary's

These blessings of Heaven were so abundant that I could not but recognize in them the protection of the august Patroness of the Society of the Sisters. The good Superioress of St. Mary's had won the interest of Our Lady in this Regular Visit by a magnificent ceremony, which I shall remember to my dying day. It was on September 8th, at nine o'clock in the evening, that I witnessed a majestic procession of all the Sisters, with their students and orphans in their best clothes, and each carrying a lighted candle. Numerous arches, tastefully ornamented and lighted by the flickering rays of Japanese lanterns were erected along the line of march.

At the far end of a long, wide path and on an elevated platform overshadowed by a lofty tree, a richly and artistically decorated stand had been erected, with an altar for the statue of Mary, which was carried in procession. Numerous streams of light set off the platform and altar with indescribable beauty, as the marchers sang hymns and wound their way toward it. Then we moved along brilliantly lighted paths to a little island which was blessed and consecrated to Mary Immaculate. Its exquisite setting impressed me much more than anything else I had yet seen.


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