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Elizabeth BAYLEY (Mother Seton) was born in New York City in - page 7 / 12





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Mother Mary Elizabeth O’Neill, made her contribution.

It is a tradition that as a child, Elizabeth O’Neill had hurried down to the pier t o w itness the arrival of the Sisters in 1849. Twenty-one years later, in

1870, she was elected Mother Superi o r. During her tenure she purchased the property at Rockingliam on Bedford Basin just outside Hal i fax, where, by

September of 1873, the Sisters moved into the newly built Motherhouse named Mount Saint Vincent. Evidently she had sound business acumen. Four

missions were opened in W es t ern N ova Scotia in her term of ofice and the

Sisters continued to receive good reports as teachers in the Halifax school system, both for capability and training. As far as religious life was concerned, however, spiritual retreats for the

members and spiritual co n ferences rom theologians were as yet unknown.

Moreover, the Vincentian rule in use contained no restrictions with respect to cloister; hence Mother Elizabeth saw n o o b j ect ions in accepting the aging

Bishop’s request for several Sisters to come occasionally to his residence and

en t ertain him with piano and violin playing, and even card playing. This kind attention was to have repercussions. When Archbishop Connolly died h e was replaced by Bishop Michael

Hannon. That same year Mother Mary Francis Maguire succeeded E l i zabeth O'Neill. The cordiality expressed in a irst exchange ofletters between Hannon

and Maguire was not destined to last. Both were strong personalities. The internal government of congregations of religious women in those

days was in the hands of a Mother Superi or and a Council elected by the Sisters. However, the Superior General of the Congregat i o n was always a

priest, appointed by the Bishop with the approval ofthe Sisters. His role was supposed to be that ofspiritual adviser and guide. For awhile Bisho p H an non had been Superior General of the Halifax

Sisters, before he became bishop, but he had been removed rom that ofice. When he became Bishop he indicated his disaproval of the community. He

interfered in school board app o intments, attempted to prevent public attendance at Mount St. Vincent closing exercises, and caused other

dificulties. Mother Mary Francis ignored, or tried to ignore, his prohibitions. She corrected abuses and made efforts to preserve t h e religious spirit as well

while keeping the internal affai rs o f the community under community

jurisdiction. But members t o o k s i d es and as a result there was a ri t in the small co n g reg ation. Some Sisters sided with the Bishop in his efforts to

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