New York for training in the spirit of Mother Seton. And in 1856, i.e. within
seven years of the arrival of the four Sisters, the Halifax foundation became an independent unit separate rom New York. This was a high point of the early
years. The separation rom the New York Motherhouse was not without
precedent, for the New York Sisters had already experien ced a similar event. Their Superior General in Emmitsburg was a Father Louis Delual. Now
Sisters in New Y o rk cared for orphans, boys as well as girls. Father Deluol
interpreted Saint Vincen t 's rule as not allowing the Sisters to take care of boys, hence they should withdraw rom New York and return to Emmitsburg.
Bishop ,Hughes ofNew York, not wanting to see the orphans le t uncared for, solved the dificulty by offering to create a diocesan community which would
be composed of any Sisters of Charity who would make the choice of staying in New York. An agreement was reached with the Emmitsburg Motherhouse.
Of the 6 2 Si s t ers in New York, 33 remained to do the work. The others
ret urned to Emmitsburg. That was in 1846. In 1849 that little band o f N ew Yorkers spared four of t h ei r members to pioneer the Halifax foundation.
Setting up an ind ep en d ent unit was not new then to the Halifax Sisters. So it was that Sister Basilia McCann travelled to New York to negotiate the new
status for Halifax. She returned in time for the December 8, 1855 Feast of the
Immaculate Co nception, at which she announced that Saint Mary’s was now an independent Motherhouse, and that she was the Mother Superior. Approval
romRome came in February, 1856, romPius IX. In 1855 th e congregation still numbered only ive members. In such a
small army, there was plenty o f ro o m for promotion. There were four oficers and one private. Mother Mary Bas i l i a McCann was Superior; Sister Mary
Austin Maloney, Assistant; Sister Mary Ann Connolly, Treasurer; and Sister
Mary Rose McAleer, Procuratrix. Sister Mary Alexis Mooney was the only private in the group . Within a year, however, the private had company: nine
young ladies joined the community as postulants. The numbers allowed for expansion and so Sister Mary Rose McAleer
and two novices began teaching girls in St. Patrick’s Parish in the North end of the city. At irst they travelled daily to teach in the ch u rch b as ement. A
house was soon rented for th em, and thus began St. Patrick’s Convent – and
High School and Elementary School . St. Patrick’s was the irst of more than a hundred missions that would eventually be opened b y the Sisters of