The Journey Continues: Exploring All Options
While Julia Chatfield and Sr. St. Pierre were with Msgr. Macheboeuf exploring Brown, Highland and Ross counties, the other 9 were not idle. “An Old Account of New Beginnings” gives us a glimpse of their activities:
“Julia Chatfield, Sister St. Pierre, and Msgr. Macheboeuf were delighted that the other sisters surprised them by coming to the landing to meet them. They shared some of what kept them busy while the other two were gone. They went shopping, helped Mrs. Corr with some work in the house, and sewed vestments for the new Bishop. They visited French friends and found that “very useful.”
“The Sisters also visited the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who invited them to assist at the distribution of prizes at the end of the school year. The day students and boarding students were together for the prizes, Bishop Purcell and other ecclesiastics were also present. After the prizes were distributed, the Sisters were invited to walk through the garden into the convent, where they joined other Notre Dame Sisters during their recreation.”
“The Sisters of Charity and the Jesuits at St. Xavier High School also proved interesting and helpful hostesses and hosts. Finally, shopping days ended and what seemed to be the purchase of trifles turned out to be “indispensable.”
While Notre Mere (Julia Chatfield) and Sr. St. Pierre were on their tour of possible locations, Abbe Amadee Rappe, Chaplain of the Ursulines of Boulogne, now stationed in Toledo, arrived in Cincinnati to visit his god-daughter from Boulogne whom he had received into the Church in 1834. He had hoped that Julia Chatfield and her companions would establish their new community in close proximity to his northern portion of Ohio.
“The Cross in the Wilderness” picks up the tale:
“To Boulogne wrote Mother Julia: “Upon leaving Cincinnati, M. Rappe left with the Sisters a letter for me. They were charmed with him, they felt sorry for him. He bade me write often to him – ‘because in whatever place you fix your tent I wish to be your father as I used to be in France.’ He perceives now, dear Mother (Mere Ste. Ursule) “that this entire affair has been conducted by an invisible hand which we must adore in silence.”
“This poor M. Rappe is much afflicted. Msgr. Macheboeuf brought me a letter yesterday in which he gives free vent to his pain. I, too, have written to assure him of the regret I felt in being separated from him.”
“To the Boulogne superior Sister Julia poured out her fears and hesitations:
Cincinnati, June 21, 1845. There are at least six or seven towns begging to have us; several of them that have no Catholic school yet think they have the first right. The Bishop is much embarrassed; he desires to keep us near him yet wishes to satisfy everybody.”
The decision about where to locate is still unsettled.