• Ursulines of Brown County

The Journey Continues: Trip to Chillicothe

So Julia Chatfield’s journey to Brown County for the first time was fraught with challenges. And the adventure of exploring possible locations for the foundation continued…


“An Old Account of New Beginnings” tells the story:


“In the morning, Fathers Cheymol and Gacon gave the Sisters (Julia Chatfield and Sister St. Pierre) a tour of the Seminary grounds and buildings. They called the Sisters’ attention to buildings in brick or wood and to their location. The Sisters also noticed that neighboring houses were distant form the property. Soon it was time to get ready for the trip to Chillicothe.


Julia Chatfield asked Fr. Gacon what he thought about a foundation. He was very positive and said he knew there were already six students interested. He encouraged ideas about a boarding school. He added that he hoped they would get postulants, but that “vocations to the priesthood are few.” Both priests assured them they “would never be hungry.” The priests were also aware that the two Ursuline Communities would become one. They said that learning to live with each other might be overburdening, but they decided to “leave it to Divine Providence.”

By 11:00 the Sisters were in a carriage, also called a wagon, pulled by two horses. The driver was the son of the Seminary farm family. They stopped at the “little house” of Mrs. Harrington who greeted them with “fresh water and “sweets,” which they appreciated. Soon Msgr. Macheboeuf’s carriage appeared and they were on their way to Chillicothe.


“Although the roads and weather were magnificent,” they reached the Anderson’s home near midnight. Everyone was asleep, but after enough “loud knocks” the family came to welcome and meet the travelers. They also introduced their guest, a French pastor from one of the parishes. Their two little daughters had gifts for the Sisters and Msgr. Macheboeuf.


Everyone was at breakfast the next day except for Msgr. Macheboeuf, thought to be at the church preparing for Mass later. However, he surprised everyone by coming in last, promising Mass in the afternoon. Soon they were on their way with only a few miles to Chillicothe.


During the carriage tour of the city, various kinds of houses, buildings and properties, including the two German Catholic Churches, were pointed out. They thought the city was large, with rich residents, few Catholics, and a growing German population. Everyone wanted a religious community, Protestants as well as the Catholics. The priest from France was also eager for such a community, as well as the Anderson family.


There was time for Julia Chatfield to visit Fr. O’Mealy, a longtime friend from Ireland. Everyone enjoyed a “wonderful dinner” at Father O’Mealy’s and then returned to the Anderson’s home. The next day, the Sisters headed for Cincinnati on a steamboat.”

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