• Ursulines of Brown County

The Journey Continues: Union of Two Communities

Updated: Jun 15

The union of the Communities is complete. “The Cross in the Wilderness” continues the story of Boulogne’s approval by the Cardinal:

“To the surprise of the Boulogne ranks Msgr. Machebouef wrote once one, from Toul: “The place for the Beaulieu nuns is not Toledo, Msgr. Purcell is offering them his Seminary grounds out in Brown County – the students to be withdrawn to Cincinnati. But, unfortunately, none of these sisters can speak English; what are we going to do? And not one knows music. How can they teach? What about this? Moreover, of those who are volunteering, they are young; they are lively; entirely too young to be superior. They need a superior who can speak English.”


Bishop Purcell writes from beyond the water; from the superior of Beaulieu to the superior of Boulogne, many letters.


Then Mere Ste. Ursule, again to the Cardinal: “We have here an English superior for them (Julia Chatfield); it is none other than Your Eminence’s own spiritual daughter, whom you, Cardinal de la Tour d’Auvergne, yourself, baptized in our chapel just half a dozen years ago. We have also a young Irish novice who knows music very well, and is lively enough to keep up any heart that quails.”


Finally, into the harrowing disturbance at Beaulieu, on February twenty-eighth, came a letter from Boulogne like a bow of promise; Cardinal de le Tour d’Auvergne had signed the fiat; they of Boulogne were to go!


Late the night before they were to set sail for America, the Boulogne Sisters arrived in Havre. For the first time, the 3 English speaking sisters met their companions from Beaulieu face to face. “It was a crucial experience for all concerned, one of those inexplicable yieldings for the deliberate human will in the interests of faith.” As they prepared to leave for the ship, Mere Ste. Ursule gave her blessing: “Charity, my children, never forget charity. And be careful to support one another. Be earnest about your life-work of teaching; and be faithful to the Rule of your Ursuline institute.”


“After twenty-nine long days at sea (June 2, 1845), one morning at the breakfast table came the cry “Land! Land! They found themselves at the entrance to the port of New York.”

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