Requisites for a Sister of Mercy

In compliance with your desire, Reverend Sir, I shall submit what seems generally requisite for a Sister of Mercy. Besides an ardent desire to be united to God and serve the poor, she must feel a particular interest for the sick and dying; otherwise the duty of visiting them would become exceedingly toilsome. She should be healthy, have a feeling, distinct, impressive manner of speaking and reading; [and] a mild countenance expressive of sympathy and patience. And there is so much to be required as to reserve and recollection passing through the public ways: caution and prudence in the visits, that it is desirable they should begin rather young, before habits and manners are so long formed as not too likely to alter.

I beg again to remark that this is what seems generally necessary. I am aware exceptions may be met, and that when there is a decided preference for the Order, and other essential dispositions, conformity in practice might be accomplished at any period in life.

To Rev. Gerald Doyle
September 5, 1836

Accepting the cross of Christ

It distressed me very much to hear from Mr. O’Hanlon that your good director was changed. I know it is an affliction for you, but rest assured: God will send some distinguished consolation. This is your life: joys and sorrows mingled, one succeeding the other.

Let us not think of the means God has employed to convey to us a portion of the Holy Cross, being ever mindful that it came from Himself. You remember what Father [Miles] Gaffney said to us when on Retreat: “If the entire Cross upon which Christ died was sent to this House, how impatient would each Sister be to carry it, and she who was permitted to keep it the longest would be the most favored. Far better and most profitable for you to receive with all your heart the Cross which God will send you in any form or shape He pleases.” I earnestly hope that you will receive this trial so as to render it valuable to you.

To Frances Warde
May 28, 1841