Mar 24, 2010

Mother Monica ~ Part III

Mother Monica
In 1925 Mother Monica celebrated her Golden Jubilee, marking 50 years in the service of the church. The festivities were held over three days, on the 4th, 5th and 6th of May.

Family members that traveled the great distance to Port Arthur to mark the occasion were; Capt. John Manley (brother-in-law) of Merritton, Rev. Thomas Manley (nephew) of Toronto, John Flynn (brother) of St. Catharines, and the Misses; Caroline Sulkie and Jennie Flynn (nieces) of Niagara Falls, NY.

These family members presented Mother Monica with a stained glass window for the Hospital Chapel with the dates 1875-1925 and engraved with the words ''A Memorial of the Golden Jubilee of Mother Monica erected by her loving relatives''. I have tried to locate this window but it seems that it has been ''lost''. Maybe a casualty of the 1958 demolition of the original buildings.

Illuminated Address

Illuminated Address
One of the highlights of the celebration was an Illuminated Address presented to Mother Monica by the Mayor and City Council on behalf of the citizens of Port Arthur. It is edged with maple leaves and photographs of the hospital in it's different stages of development. The address is signed by the Mayor and the City Clerk. The text of the address follows:

To the Rev. Mother Monica, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Port Arthur, Ont.

Dear Mother Monica:

On this the Golden Jubilee of your entrance into the service of your Church and remembering that for more than forty years of this period you have lived in Port Arthur the City Council cannot allow the occasion to pass without an expression of its esteem and deep appreciation of the services you have rendered during these years.

Coming to what was then known as Prince Arthur’s Landing you experienced the hardships of pioneer days; you have since shared with the community its adversities and its prosperity and have seen its continuous growth from the small settlement to the modern city.

St. Joseph’s Hospital which you were instrumental in founding in 1881 and whose affairs you have so ably directed and administered, has kept pace with the progress of the city, until to-day, with its commodious buildings and modern equipment, it ranks with the leading hospitals of the dominion, and will always stand as a monument to your untiring efforts and fidelity of purpose. We now have the General Hospital and the McKellar Hospital at Fort William; but St. Joseph’s Hospital is the only standardized hospital between Toronto and Winnipeg, and Port Arthur is justly proud of it.

Your life in our midst has been one of unselfish devotion to the care of the sick and suffering, and, by your thoughtfulness,your kindliness and your solicitude, at all times for those in distress, you have endeared yourself to the hearts of all with whom you come in contact.

That you may be spared for some years in health and strength to enjoy the fruits of your labors, and the homage of your many friends, is the sincere wish of our citizens.

Daily News Chronicle, Port Arthur, May 21, 1925 summarizing the celebrations;

Nun’s Fifty Years of Noble Work Honored by Jubilee
Venerable Mother Monica of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Superior of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Port Arthur, Remembered By Popular Rejoicing

The land of the “Sleeping Giant,” where the “Great Manitou” guards the dark mysterious waters of Thunder Bay and Lake Superior, was the scene of a joyous and most extraordinary event on Wednesday, May 6, at St. Andrew’s beautiful new church, and St. Joseph’s Hospital, Port Arthur, when Rev. Mother M. Monica, formerly Mary Flynn, daughter of the late Thomas Flynn, of Merritton, Ont., and Rev. Mother M. Vincent, daughter of the late Joseph Carroll, of St. Catharines, Ont., celebrated their golden jubilee as Sisters of St. Joseph. A remarkable civic tribute was given to Mother Monica during the afternoon and evening, by the people of Port Arthur and Fort William, in recognition of her great work in building St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Good Works Praised
High Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, May 5, in St. Andrew’s Church, Right Rev. Bishop Scollard, Sault St. Marie, officiating, assisted by Fathers Batterton, Byrne and Monahan, of Fort William, and Father Manley, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Rev. Father Cox, of St. Andrew’s, delivered a touching and impressive sermon on the fifty years of service that Mother Monica and Mother Vincent had given to Port Arthur – one in healing the sick and erecting a beautiful hospital, and the other in establishing the first Catholic school, and in teaching the children of the North Shore. “It is a very wonderful record,” said Father Cox, “and our Jesuit Fathers who have worked with the good Sisters, will always hold that these two women were the greatest benefactresses the Catholic Church has ever had at the head of the Great Lakes.”

Friends and Relatives Present
Among many religious present were: Rev. Mother Carmelite, Superior of St. Joseph’s, Peterborough; Rev. Mothers Vincent and St. Bridget, Pembroke; and the Rev. Mothers of St. Joseph’s and the “Orphanage” of Fort William and Port Arthur. Other guests from a distance, relatives of Mother Monica, were Captain John Manley, of Toronto; Mr. John Flynn, of Merritton, and the Misses Caroline M. Sulkie and Jennie M. Flynn, of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Presentations at Civic Celebration
Wednesday afternoon at a most impressive civic celebration in honor of Mother Monica, as Foundress and head of St. Joseph’s Hospital, addresses and presentations were made by Mayor J.D. Crooks and the City Council of Port Arthur, the Thunder Bay Medical Association, the Nurses’ Alumnae Association, the Port Arthur Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ladies’ Aid Society of St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Jesuit Fathers of the North Shore, the parishes of Fort William and Westport, and the St. Andrew’s School children of Port Arthur. Besides these, many beautiful golden gifts, and a purse of $6,000 were presented to Mother Monica by the people of Port Arthur and Fort William. The Jesuit Fathers through Rev. Father Cox gave a beautiful address and a basket of gold coins.

Father Manley Responds For Jubilarian
The Rev. Father Manley, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Toronto, and nephew of Mother Monica, made a feeling response for the Jubilarian, and thanked the citizens of Port Arthur and Fort William for the whole-hearted cooperation given to Mother Monica during her long years of work in Port Arthur. “Mother Monica cut herself off from her own people and came to you many years ago,” said Father Manley. “She adopted Port Arthur. We, her people from the East, have seen to-day by this immense gathering, this great outpouring of friendship and appreciation from every group of civic life, what Mother Monica means to the citizens of Port Arthur and Fort William, and we thank you for it.”

Bishop Scollard’s Address
Rt. Rev. D.J. Scollard, Bishop of Sault Ste. Marie, presided at the civic celebration and addressed the large audience, taking as his text “Charity is patient; charity is kind, charity is not ambitious, and envieth not: In explaining the difference between charity done for the pure love of God and worldly charity, His Lordship said; “I have known philanthropists who have forced their wives into the Divorce Court; I have known prominent men exalted by the world for their generosity, who were unfair to their fellow-men in their business dealing. The difference lies in the heart that thinks only of God, gives up everything for God; and with true humility, seeks only His great glory. This was the ambition of these pioneer women of the North Shore – to hold through the humility of the teachings of their Community, that blessed charity made plain to men though the Great Apostle of the World. You who have known Mother Monica for the past forty years or more know that she held ever in her heart the teachings of the Great Apostle; know that all races, all creeds were brought within a radiant glow of kindness and love; that because of these things God has blessed her life-work with success.”

Something About Mother Monica
Mary Flynn, Mother Monica, the venerable Jubilarian, was born on February 23, 1851, at Merritton, Ontario, one of nine children, the daughter of Thomas and Cecelia Reynolds Flynn, who emigrated from Cavan, Ireland, about a century ago, and settled first in Schenectady, N.Y., before moving to Ontario. Mary Flynn entered St. Joseph’s Community, Toronto on May 6, 1875, and received the name Sister Monica. On August 21, 1881, on the request of Right Rev. Bishop Jamot for volunteers “to go away up North,” she left Toronto for Prince Arthur’s Landing, as Port Arthur was then called, with five other religious, of whom Mother De Pazzi is now the only survivor. The others were: Sister Vincent, Sister Gertrude, and Sister Beatrice. In the small convent thus opened in the bleak and unsettled wilderness, two rooms were given over the first Hospital work in this wild Northern District, and Mother Monica was placed in charge. This was necessitated by the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the resultant injury and accident to the “navvies” or laborers which is always part of such work. From this humble beginning, expanding bit by bit as necessity urged, grew the present fine St. Joseph’s Hospital, which was formally opened on its present site, on February 2, 1884. It was enlarged in 1900, and further enlarged in 1904-05. With the building of the last wing, which was several years in construction, St. Joseph’s Hospital, as it stands today, and as it was finished in 1918, is a silent but glorious monument to Mother Monica’s fifty years of religious service and untiring devotion to the glory of God, the good of souls, the spread of Christian charity and the relief of suffering humanity.

And finally, Mother Monica was presented with a poem written for her by her niece, Jennie Flynn who was visiting from Niagara Falls, NY.

Dear Mother Monica, could you have seen
The mountain paths that waited for your feet
The long, long years of labor in between -
Would you have climbed the hill - or stayed to see

A vista opened wide through peace complete
Where all your rich, young life might guarded be
From weary hours beside the bed of pain
From souls all stained and broken in defeat
That through your quiet strength found peace again?

Ah, Mother Monica you could not hide
In deep seclusion where no on might guess
Or marvel at its regal loveliness
The joy that sent you up the mountain side
The joy to build for God that man might see
A higher path unto Eternity!

Miss J.E. Flynn (Niagara Falls)
Niece of Rev. Mother Monica

Related Posts:
Mother Monica ~ Part I - Part II - Part III - Part IV - Part V
Mother Monica ~ Bonus Postcard
Mother Monica ~ Tombstone Tuesday

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