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On Good Ground

On Good Ground: The Story of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in St. Paul

Copyright Date: 1951
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    On Good Ground
    Book Description:

    Besides providing a vivid yet scholarly account of a religious order, this book reflects much of the regional history of the area where the nuns have done their work. The order maintains the College of St. Catherine and numerous other institutions in Minnesota and North Dakota.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3668-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xiv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  3. Tout Est à Créer:: In the Years of Bishop Cretin

    • I The Swelling of the Stream
      (pp. 3-29)

      God was not unknown in the forests and sawmill towns of Minnesota in the 1850s.

      His Kingdom may perhaps have been regarded less as a spiritual dominion than as a sound institution which was good for the country, but there was nevertheless a sizable amount of faith in the Power which could stay lethal storms and a similar quantity of hope in the Providence which rewarded the righteous with prosperity. The theological virtue of charity was less discernible in a region where exigency put the emphasis on acquisition of a satisfactory share of the natural bounty and not upon a...

    • II Of Every Tribe and Tongue
      (pp. 30-64)

      Itinerant missionaries were a curiosity in frontier St. Paul, but their visits supplied inspiration to the small group of sisters. One of the early visitors was the founder of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, whose adaptability is suggested by the fact that he was known to his flock in Galena as Father Matthew Kelly. TheMinnesota Pioneertreated his brief stay in St. Paul early in 1852 in characteristic fashion: “We want this priest, or another equal to him to preach in St. Paul amongst the Catholics — so we hearthemsay. Father Morin [Moran]...

    • III They That Dwell Within
      (pp. 65-85)

      This neat statistic in theTableauof the Society for the Propagation of the Faith for 1853 comprised Bishop Cretin’s population report. Presumably the infidels were thesauvages, but it is altogether too depressing for any researcher at this date to account for thirty thousand scattered souls. A round with Mr. Webster on definitions reveals that the vocabulary of our forefathers was far richer than ours in what to call those who thought otherwise, especially about God. Distinctions in classification are not quite so clear today. Thus the difference between infidel and heretic seems to be merely more of the...

    • IV The Gate of the Corner
      (pp. 86-110)

      Although Bishop Cretin died without knowing whether his fatherly interest in the Sisters of St. Joseph would bear fruit in permanent and stable institutions, his imprint remained on the struggling community through his influence upon the vocations of two of its most promising candidates.

      Ellen Ireland and her cousin, Ellen Howard, were the first graduates of St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Paul to become Sisters of St. Joseph. They had come to live in St. Paul six months after the first sisters had established their school in November 1851. Between May 1852 and June 1858 the two Ellens had completed...

  4. Their Little Corner:: In the Years of Bishop Grace

    • V One in Fellowship
      (pp. 113-143)

      During the long interregnum before the appointment of a new bishop, Father Ravoux acted as administrator for the diocese,sede vacante. He was also the spiritual director of the Sisters of St. Joseph, to which office he called attention in an inscription opposite the frontispiece of theReminiscences, Memoirs, and Lectures, published in 1890. He wrote that he had had his photograph taken at the urgent request of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Paul, whose spiritual director he had been for thirty years at least, and he gave it to them as a souvenir — “that we should often...

    • VI Frontiers Beyond the Town
      (pp. 144-168)

      “Just as if women were not already scarce enough for wives and mothers out that way,” wrote theSt. Paul Daily Presson September 12, 1872, “the Roman Catholics are building a large nunnery at Detroit Lake, Becker County.”

      While this particular project did not belong to the Sisters of St. Joseph, they were equally careless about population problems as they began to widen their sphere in the 1870s. Growth was slow and repeated the St. Paul territorial experience on a westward-moving, tree-felling, land-breaking frontier. There was the same muscular output to wrest a living from the elements, the same...

    • VII Behind Convent Walls
      (pp. 169-194)

      At the same time the Sisters of St. Joseph were founding schools and hospitals throughout the state, they were not neglecting the heart of their activities, St. Paul.

      Their first parish schools in the city served the Cathedral congregation. As the various nationalities branched off from the Cathedral parish, they opened schools almost simultaneously with their new churches, a procedure economically impossible in the country districts. Moreover, as Bishop Grace commented year after year in theCatholic Directory, Catholic parish schools were not necessary or even desirable in smaller places where in public schools both teachers and pupils were Catholics....

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
  5. The Catherine Wheel:: In the Years of Archbishop Ireland

    • VIII “Consecrated Blizzard of the Northwest”
      (pp. 197-227)

      Since the discovery that minorities have some rightful place in American backgrounds, it is not unusual to hear an aged Minnesota historian ask, “I know about Bishop Ireland of course, but is there any other Catholic who should have a place in our Minnesota chronicle?” The query is its own answer on the status of early Minnesota Catholics and it suggests as well something of the closed lines of intercommunication between neighbors.

      There may be a slightly pathetic emphasis on large crowds and eloquent sermons and model students in accounts inspired by Catholic efforts, but there is not yet a...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
    • IX A Fountain Springing
      (pp. 228-262)

      John Ireland’s praise in his golden jubilee speech of the plan of the Sisters of St. Joseph to establish a college for women was welcome encouragement to the sisters. But the archbishop’s share in the creation of St. Catherine’s College was not merely verbal.

      There had been talk about founding a college from 1887 on. Mother Seraphine knew the time was right for starting a college, but aside from that conception, the project was quite nebulous in the minds of the sisters. There was none of this vagueness in the archbishop’s mind, however. In 1892 the foundations for a college...

    • X Women Who Know the Poor
      (pp. 263-286)

      Archbishop John Ireland lived only long enough to see the College of St. Catherine through its first half-dozen years. But with his extraordinary vision he probably would not have been surprised at the rapid development of the college in the next decades or at its present position among women’s colleges in the country. Nineteen young women had received bachelor’s degrees from his hands before his death in the fall of 1918 and the college had passed its most important test by gaining membership in the North Central Association in 1916. The program for exchange of students from foreign countries was...

  6. Bibliographical Notes
    (pp. 289-301)
  7. Index
    (pp. 302-312)