• Ursulines of Brown County

The Journey Continues: Boulogne Sisters Face Challenges

Updated: Jun 15

There were challenges for the Boulogne Sisters as well: We turn to The Cross in The Wilderness for the inside story.


“Mere St. Ursule (Superior of Boulogne) was deeply concerned. A fatal epidemic of typhoid had broken out in the convent of Boulogne. An English girl was down with typhoid. The girl expired in the nuns’ arms. Two more were stricken; one was about to die. Where will this terrible thing end, said the nuns to one another.


Mere St. Ursule knelt in the chapel twilight. “Mother of God,” she pleaded, “I will give you all; I will give anything. I will give you sisters for the Toledo mission. Yes, Msgr. Rappe shall have what he has been longing for. Our nuns will go out into the wild anywhere, if only you will save this child, Mother of God!”


“And the malady completely disappeared in a few weeks and not another soul in the house had it.”


“Msgr. Rappe was not asking much; only a little colony of six sisters with a modest advance of fifteen thousand francs for the voyage and installation! Mere St. Ursule laid the matter before her council. The council were timid; thy felt their personnel of fifty were all needed at home; there were many ailing; the money was enormous; Msgr. Rappe might be removed from Toledo at any moment, and what then? The nuns left alone in a strange land, with strange tongues around them. What does the Cardinal think?”


“So Mere St. Ursule wrote to the Cardinal: “Convinced as we are, that this enterprise is not within human prudence and not wishing either to undertake it or reject it until the will of God is manifested to us through you, our first Pastor, we beg of you to pronounce for us.”


“His Eminence answered evasively.”


“Came another ambassador to France from the banks of Belle Riviere, calling for “Sisters! Sisters! The people want sisters.” Msgr. Macheboeuf. Again Mere St. Ursule to the Cardinal of Arras: “We have several English novices, and certain of our nuns feel strongly impelled to go out to Ohio. We now have the money. They could go in spring. In Your Eminence’s decision we look for God’s will.”


Answers the Cardinal imperturbably: “The moment is not yet here.”


“One day there arrived a letter from Msgr. Rappe…”Never mind; the Ursulines from Beaulieu are coming, thirty strong. Msgr. Macheboefu is to bring them over.”


The Ursulines of Boulogne were disappointed. Was Mere St. Ursule’s promise to do unfulfilled?

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