TO SCHOLASTICA BURKHARDT
Dear Reverend Mother: Man proposes; God disposes! We experience that a hundred times. I have been waiting several months for the bishop85 to take away St. John’s so that I can send Father Bernard86 to St. Mary’s. The bishop himself approached me about handing the place over to him for the Jesuits, but that has not happened, and now, all of a sudden, Father Bernard himself walks off and I do not know where he has gone. Then I sent Father Roman87 in the hope that by saying Mass, he, although physically weak, could render a little service, but he became very ill. I had to call him home, and after he arrived, until three days ago, he suffered such excruciating pains that for days and nights he could not close an eye or even lie down. He received extreme unction, for we believed that he would die immediately. St. Walburga, by means of her holy oil, brought about a change for the better, so that now there is hope. Had these events not occurred, you would have received a third priest, but now I cannot give you one, unless Father Roman gets well again. Therefore, you must pray very hard for this.
In the meantime, however, I wrote the reverend procurator general88 in Rome and asked him to take steps that would permit you to use the choir again. Still, I have to say that if I were the bishop, I would have reservations too—i.e., I would be hesitant to allow the sisters to leave their chapel to go to the church gallery, since that might lead to bad results. Because of this, the Church wisely prohibited it. If part of the gallery is used for a chapel, this part should be closed off most strictly from the public part of the gallery. I have also frequently criticized the practice of brothers and fathers meeting with the sisters unnecessarily. It is certainly innocent, but it is not proper. We cannot tell what the consequences might be. When I come up again, I will probably have to do the same thing the bishop did. The sisters and the brothers are putting themselves at risk and must be prudent and wise.
The librarian will send you the copies of the Rule you asked for. I myself will arrange payment for them later. Not long after Easter, I hope to find time to visit Erie. In the meantime, I recommend myself to your kind remembrance at prayer, and I send best wishes, together with fatherly and brotherly love, to all the good sisters (they are all surely good!), especially to my parishioner Sister Antonia. Your devoted brother, Boniface, Abbot
85 Tobias Mullen (1818-1900), bishop of Erie.
86 Bernard Manser, O.S.B. (1835-1899).
87 Roman Hell, O.S.B. (1825-1873).
88 Abbot Angelo Pescetelli, O.S.B. (1809-1885).