Project Canterbury

The Sisterhood of S. John the Divine, Toronto.

Toronto: Timms, Moor and Co., 1882.


ON the evening of Monday, April 17th, 1882, after a devotional service in the Church of S. George the Martyr, Toronto, a meeting was held in the adjoining School House "for the purpose of promoting the establishment of a Sisterhood, the project for which was adopted at a meeting held in St. Luke's Parish, on 2nd February." The meeting was attended by 250 Churchpeople, who manifested a warm interest in the object proposed. The Chair was taken by the Rev. J. D. Cayley, M.A., who, in his opening address, alluded to the value of association in charitable efforts, to the establishment of Church Sisterhoods in the motherland and the work they accomplished, and the need felt here of a similar society, also stating that the present movement was initiated with the Bishop's concurrence. Communications were read from several clergy and others who were prevented from attending, but declaring their interest and sympathy.

The Report of the Provisional Committee was then presented. The report stated that the movement originated in the minds of certain earnest Christian ladies of this city, who, in their endeavours to aid the clergy in parochial work, were constantly brought into contact with cases of suffering and sin which forced upon them the conviction that a great blessing would result from the work of a sisterhood, thoroughly trained and constantly given to works of mercy.

"The history of efforts in the past had demonstrated the futility of any organization of the kind unless the Sisters were in possession of experience and of a suitable establishment under their own control.

[4] "A resolution had accordingly been adopted at a meeting held on November 9th, 1881, to the effect that it was desirable to establish in Toronto a Church of England Sisterhood, for the promotion of the Religious Life and of Works of Charity; also that a building, when purchased, shall be vested in trustees, and by them transferred to the Sisters as soon as they are incorporated.

"On the same occasion, a Committee was formed to give information regarding suitable premises, and to report at a future meeting. A Ladies' Committee, of whom Mrs. Broughall was convener, was appointed to promote the work of collecting funds.

"Some progress was made in obtaining subscriptions, and much encouragement was received by the ladies so engaged. In the meantime communication was had with a lady who had already devoted herself to the life of a Sister, and who possessed eminent qualifications for the government of the institution, which she was willing to assume at the desire of its promoters, after a period of residence with the Sisterhood with whom she had arranged to become connected.

"Accordingly, at the meeting held at S. Luke's, as before-mentioned, the proposal was definitely adopted, 'That Mrs. Coome be requested to undertake to found the future Sisterhood, and to be its first Superior, and to communicate with any ladies she may think suited to the work. Also that if she and others spend two years in training for the work, we will endeavour to have a house and endowment ready for them at the expiration of that time.' At the same meeting, the Rev. O. P. Ford was appointed to the office of Warden. The Committee for collections was at this time increased."

The Report further stated "that since the project had thus taken definite shape, the most encouraging communications had been received by Mrs. Coome and by the Committee from all parts of the Province, and the promoters of the undertaking were more than ever convinced that earnest-minded Churchpeople have only to be fully informed of the design and its plan to give it their hearty support, and that the present meeting had been summoned to afford such information."

The meeting was addressed by the Rev. the Provost of Trinity College, the Rev. J. Langtry, the Rev. O. P. Ford, Dr. Playter, Mr. J. R. Cartwright and others, on the subject of Organized Women's Work, including the objects and working of Church Sisterhoods generally and the principles on which the present undertaking was founded. Among other communications read was one from Dr. W. T. O'Reilly, Provincial Inspector of Charities, testifying, from his own experience, as to the superiority of the work done by women [4/5] and managed by them, when they have been trained for the purpose, in point both of efficiency and economy. The Inspector mentions as a singular fact that while but one-fifth of the population of Ontario are of the Roman Catholic religion, there were 1,557 cases treated in Roman Catholic hospitals last year, as against 3,519 cases in all the other hospitals. In refuges, there were 989 in Roman Catholic institutions, and only 564 in all other institutions; of orphans, the Roman Catholic establishments cared for 1,651, while but 1,381 were cared for elsewhere. These are some of the results of the establishments of our Roman Catholic brethren being managed by Sisters.

Resolutions were unanimously adopted to the effect--(I.) "That the scheme for the foundation of a Sisterhood in Toronto is approved by the meeting."

(2.) "That, for the purpose of securing funds, a General Committee be appointed, to consist of the following persons:--The names, including those added, are subjoined.


The Committee thus formed have organized and appointed from their number an Executive Committee to prosecute the work of collection, also the sub-committee of ladies, and the Trustees of the Building and Endowment Fund. Collecting books have been prepared, and some sixty of these are already taken up; the collectors undertaking to collect $250 each in from three to five years. By means of the further extension of these efforts, aided by special donations and periodical offertory collections, there is every prospect of the undertaking being placed on a sound financial basis.

The work of the Committee in collecting funds will be assisted in England, by an influential local Committee, of which the Rev. Canon Gregory, of St. Paul's Cathedral, is the Treasurer.


The Right Reverend Dr. Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, at the invitation of the Committee, kindly consented to address a meeting of the friends of the Sisterhood at S. George's Schoolhouse, on Monday evening, July 17th. The following summary of the Bishop's earnest words will be welcomed by every friend of the cause;--

It is a great gratification to me to-night to be present at this meeting, and to speak to you on the subject of woman’s work in the Church. When I was asked if I would come here and preach on the subject of women's work, or sisterhoods, I at once declined, because you know such a subject can hardly be treated in that manner. I do not think that all the preaching m the world would ever establish sisterhoods. It is not preaching you want; it is something quite different.

First of all, we must understand certain underlying principles that govern all work for Christ and for the Church, and then we are to take hold of the work with both hands earnestly, and God blesses it and it grows. I am greatly gratified to be here to speak on this important subject, and yet I feel that my words must be very carefully culled. They must be spoken very soberly as in the sight of God; and I earnestly pray that the Holy Ghost may guide my words and touch your hearts, and enable you to bring forth fruit to holiness.

We all of us must recognize the fact that there has been a very great revival in the Anglican branch of the Church Catholic. Within the last fifty years there has been a greater revival m the Church of England than there has ever been in any branch of the Church since the day of Pentecost. The Church of England is alive to-day as she never was before. She is doing a work to-day which she never did before. There have been more churches built in England in the last fifty years than m the whole period since the Anglican revolution. There has been more money contributed for the extension of the Episcopacy in all lands, for mission work, for missionary labour, in the last fifty years than in the years since the Reformation. There has been more done for the masses of the people, the poor, the outcast, and the afflicted. [6/7] And in the prosecution of tins work the Church has been compelled--there has been a field--to use instruments of which she knew literally nothing fifty years ago. It is the new revived life of the Church that is building Orphanages and Homes for the poor, aged and infirm, and houses of rest for the weary and way-worn everywhere all over England, and that has set apart Sisters of Mercy and Charity, angels of mercy, to minister in these Orphanages to Christ's little ones, and to the poor and afflicted and outcast. And to this new life of the Church have come new instrumentalities; and the work of the Sisterhood is one of the chiefest and one of the most important.

There are two descriptions of work which women have to do. One is the work of teaching and the other is the work of nursing. There are teaching sisters and nursing sisters; so much of the successful treatment of a patient depends upon good nursing, that it is difficult to say where the nursing leaves off and the doctoring begins. In New York trained nurses readily command from $15 to $20 per week; and even at these high prices the demand is greater than the supply. This is something that is done for money. Suppose we were to establish a Sisterhood, and send out Sisters, and charge a high price for their services, I do not hesitate to say that there is not a hospital or private family who would not be the better for having the Sisters and paying the money. But is there not some higher principle than that? What about the love of Christ that constrained people to give themselves up to His work? Is not that better? Is not that higher? Is it not a truer principle? And when we find faithful women in the Church who are ready to devote themselves to the cause of Christ in His suffering poor, in care for His orphans, in visiting the outcast and afflicted, in reforming the reprobate, and all because the love of Christ constraineth them, what is this Church thinking of that it refuses to employ that instrumentality?

The recent reception of a member into the Sisterhood of the Good Shepherd calls renewed attention to a kind of ministry in the Church which is beginning to find some fair appreciation. A newspaper says:--"The time was when the employment of women in the Church, in the form of Sisterhoods, was looked upon with disfavor. Happily the Church has learned, and learned very fast, that in certain departments of Christian labour, and in bringing to bear certain qualities and gifts, there is and can be nothing to take the place of devoted, consecrated. Christian women. Connected with the Church in the United States, there are now nine or ten Sisterhoods and orders of Deaconesses, and they are much more likely to increase than to diminish. Within a few years the Church has come to form a decided opinion in regard to their very great value, and the prejudices that remain against them will soon disappear."

[8] Now, dear friends, I will give you a little of my experience. I suppose all of you in Canada heard of a great war we had m the States a few years ago. I saw a good many things during this war. In Virginia, at what are called the White Sulphur Springs, a place of great fashionable resort and for invalids during the summer season, there are an immense lot of buildings, residence hotels, cottages, and so forth. I should suppose they would accommodate a good many thousand people, and during the war these buildings were occupied as hospitals. You know Southern women were very furious .during the war, and so they gave themselves up to nurse or do any other work women could do. About seventy-five or more devoted women went to the surgeons in charge of these great hotel-hospitals in Virginia, at the White Sulphur Springs, and offered their services. The had all the love and devotion, all the self-denial that was required. The surgeons gave them work; they were appointed in the different wards m the hospital. They continued to work there for some time, and then the poor doctors came to these true women and said. You dear ladies, you are very good, but do please get out of our way. Among other things I remember, on one occasion, one of the good women giving a poor fellow who had had both legs shot off, a lecture on the sin of dancing. He said, "I think my dancing days are over." There is such a thing, you know, as well directed advice or comfort. I do not think, under the circumstances, that was the happiest comfort. What was the difficulty? Well, they simply did not know how to work; they did not know how to nurse. And then a dozen or two well trained Roman Catholic Sisters went and took their places, and everything went on in the most satisfactory manner. However, these good Roman Catholic Sisters did a good deal more work than mere healing of wounds. Of course they did a great deal more than heal up those broken limbs. Why, whenever they put on a poultice they put Popery in with it. And, so suppose you had a bullet through you, your limbs broken or your skull, do you suppose you would sit still and argue about the Pope s infallibility or the truth or falsehood of any of the doctrines of the Catholic Church, whilst one of these dear Sisters was caring for you in your distress?

I saw a good deal of this throughout our Southern hospitals, and I am sure it was the same in the North. Well then, at the close of the war I was consecrated Bishop, in 1865, for the Diocese of Tennessee, and I remembered this, and I thought to myself that if I was to do any real work, I must have somebody to help me do this work. I was in the city of Memphis. In that city the Roman Catholic Sisters have the educating of a great many Methodists and Baptists and Presbyterians. You let a Methodist or a Baptist talk about Roman Catholicism, and you [8/9] will think they are the most furious people. But let them have a daughter to educate at a low rate, at once they said, "You get such an admirable education and at such low rates;" and all the horrors of the Inquisition pass away, and the Popes are only very little venerable people who live over in Rome, and don’t interfere at all. So I said to myself, I must have Sisterhoods, and I got to work and we obtained sisters. I was five years preparing for the work of my Sisterhood--five long years preparing for the work. They came to me at the end of five years. Now, I thought, these Sisters and this Sisterhood must occupy a prominent position here before this community; and I walked out of the episcopal residence and gave it up to the Sisters, and thought those Sisters would do vastly more in that residence than I could do. So they began a school in the episcopal residence.

How wonderfully God works! They came to me, we will say, in August, and about three weeks after their arrival there began one of those fearful epidemics of yellow fever. Well, I did not know what to do. I thought my work was all about to be wiped out. None of these Sisters were acclimated, and I thought certainly every one of them would die of this horrible fever that walketh in darkness and destroyeth in the noonday." I withheld them as I could. At last the Lady Superior said to me, "We must give ourselves up to nursing, although we are teaching sisters." And I said "Very well, let it be done." Every morning a faithful and devoted Priest stood at the altar and administered to these faithful and devoted women the Blessed Sacrament, which is the witness of the Saviour's suffering and the pledge of his love for us. They went from the altar to the houses of the sick and the dying, and they went everywhere throughout the town ministering to the mourning and the 'sick, and God gave his angels charge over them and not one of them had the disease. It was marvellous! And what was the effect of their ministries? Why, when they bepn their school they had so won the confidence of the people, they had so won their hearts, and they had so won their affections, that from the very first day of opening their school was filled. And so they went on and continued, and finally they purchased a very large residence on the other side of the cathedral, and they continued to do their work until the awful pestilence of 1878. I am sure most of you have heard of that, because it was one of those fearful visitations which touched every heart. Many people from Canada sent their offerings in our time of affliction and suffering. Well, these sisters continued their school work until 1878; not only their school work, but they undertook an Orphanage as well I think I had better tell you how it began; perhaps it would interest you. We rented a house on one of the principal streets, and began, fourteen or fifteen years ago, in giving out meals to the [9/10] hungry and other persons who required it. We furnished them lodgings for one or two nights, helped them to get work, and so on. The tickets that furnished the meals were sold to the benevolent people throughout the country and city, and so it was supported. So it went on till Easter time. I preached two or three Sundays in succession on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and then I asked that all the diocese would make their offerings on Easter Sunday. There was placed on that day on the altar a sufficient amount of money with which to build the Orphan House, along with a deed for the land on which it was to be built. We had one sister who came to us and had charge of that Orphanage. She continued with us for several years. Then we found we had made a great mistake in putting our Orphanage five miles out of the city. It is such a wonderful thing, when you undertake any work for God, how He helps and blesses you. So we determined to buy a residence near the city. There was a very fine and large residence, with seven acres of ground, for sale. We purchased it, paid $7,000 cash for it; in a very little time we paid off the balance. A curious incident happened in connection with it. I was going round my diocese; I saw one of the Sunday School children, the child of a friend, who had a little card. On this card were ten dimes, collected by so and so for the Church Hospital, for the Church Home, Brooklyn, New York. Each card represented a dollar; he had already filled five. I took the hint. I went down to the printer and had some cards struck off, and with those dimes that were so collected in 1877 I built a school-room, infirmary and chapel. Then came the yellow fever in 1878. The Sisters were there, the school was a great success, we had fifty or sixty children in the Orphanage, the sisters were in charge. You know, my dear brethren, it is utterly impossible for any one to talk of that fearful visitation without breaking down under the sad recollections of those direful days, and when I think of it all I dare not trust myself to speak of it. There were 5,000 people who died in that one town of Memphis during that season of yellow fever--upwards of 5000 people. Well, those dear Sisters had gone through the former epidemic without any losses or sufferings. Of these four of them laid down their lives, and the others were spared to us by God's great mercy. I remember one of those dear Sisters, the Superior, she had come to the Church from the Unitarians, she had given herself up to the Church from being brought up as a Unitarian, and she gave her whole soul and life to it, and when she had served her Master, and the time came for her to lay down her life, her last words were, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hosanna." And then the faithful priests who laid down their lives in the cause of Christ. One of our priests, one of the dearest I ever had in my house, was stricken with the fever. He lay where he could look at the church through the window. He [10/11] asked that the window might be raised that he might be able to see his Father's house, and then signing himself with the sign of the Cross, he said, "We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock," and again signed himself with the sign of the Cross and closed his eyes; as a little child entering his father's house, his spirit went its way. There was another dear priest in a village near Memphis, and the Methodist minister came to him and said, "I don't know what my duty is, my health is so wretched, I am sure I can be of no service here." And the faithful priest replied, "No, your duty is health, I will look after your flock." And so he continued ministering to all alike until he was stricken down, and, knowing that his time was come, and there was no one to speak the words of peace at his burial, in the last moments he said, "I commit this, my body, to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, looking for a glorious resurrection." And so he died.

Well, dear brethren, when I remember all these things, and more than I could tell you, and think of the faithful work the Sisters did, I tell you, brethren, I could not work without Sisters--impossible. I believe that my Sisters, in my diocese of Tennessee are doing more for the cause of Christ and the Church than any two or three priests, or two or three parishes, that I have there. They are doing an amount of work in the instruction of the young, in caring for the orphans, in visiting the sick, which is simply marvellous. I remember meeting one of the dear sisters very late one dark night. She came to a house where some one was afflicted. I said to her, "Sister, you ought not to be here; I don't think it quite safe for you to be here." "Oh," she replied, "He gives His angels charge concerning us; no one can touch me, no one can hurt me; they all know by my dress who and what I am; no one could by any possibility insult or trouble me at all." That is one great advantage, you know, of the Sisters' peculiar costume. There are some people who say, you must not have a Sister dress like a Roman Catholic. Well, I think my brother clergyman here must take off his coat. That objection is a very small thing, too insignificant to talk about. No one can possibly object to the Sisters wearing a costume. They require to wear it; it is their safety, their safeguard, to themselves an immense economy. But this is one of the things that is nobody's business. There are a great many things connected with the Sisters' lives which are nobody's business. If I went into a friends' house to ask how he cooked his beefsteak, and whether he drinks ale with his dinner, how he trains his children and what wages they earn, I think he would have good reason to think me impertinent. Don't you think there is something impertinent in speaking of ladies who are leading a religious life?

There are people, you know, who think certain little acts [11/12] of personal devotion, or who, if they see a surplice of a peculiar cut, imagine that the Pope and the whole Council of Trent are hidden beneath. There are people more afraid of the Pope than of Satan. Those little things which I have mentioned are, however, things with which you and I have nothing to do. Ladies you know, for instance, are very dear people; but they may sometimes be intrusive; they may say things it is not advisable for them to say, as we men may also do. Now when I began this Orphanage, I said to the ladies of the different parishes, that their business was to collect the money, they were to go then and put it into the hands of the Sister appointed to receive it, and when they had paid it to her their duty was complete. They had nothing to do with the internal economy of the house.

This Sisterhood which you desire to establish here is to be a sacred thing. They will have their own chaplain and he will direct their spiritual life, and he will be responsible. He will be some respectable clergyman who will have the entire confidence of his Bishop, so that there will be the most perfect sympathy and perfect harmony between the pastor and the flock. I know that in this work you are going to set up here, there is one point which you are going to settle in your minds in a very determined way, and that is reality. If it is going to be worth anything, it must be real work for Christ and the Church, a real Sisterhood, not playing at Sisterhood. You know when you and I were children we used to play at Church; well, there are a great many people who play at Church still, they do not think of reality. There are some people who would like to play Sisterhood, but you cannot do it; there is no reality in it and it comes to nothing. You must have reality.

My dear brethren, I suppose you all feel with me, that our religion ought to be a real thing; our religious worship ought to be a real thing, indeed everything connected with Christ and the Church must be real. It is a necessity of work for Christ. You know there was a tremendous reality in our dear Saviour's life of woe. There was a tremendous reality in the Sacrifice on Mount Calvary. What tremendous reality in the cry upon the Cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"! Oh, what tremendous reality in the atonement which was wrought out for us by the Son of God! It is because there was such reality in the life and death of our Saviour, that there is such reality in His Church, in the Sacraments. It is because of this tremendous reality in the life and death of Christ that the Sacrament at the Altar has such a reality in it. What reality in the Divine sympathy! That infinite sympathy of the Only Begotten Son of God, who foresaw the Cross upon which ere long He was to be lifted up, who knew that a sponge filled with vinegar was to be pressed to His lips, and yet, knowing this, said, "With desire do I desire [12/13] to eat this passover with you before I suffer." It is the life and death of the Man of Sorrows which gives the Blessed Sacrament its intense reality. Now in our work for Christ there needs to be reality. I warn you, do not trifle with this work. If you do, you will simply plant the crown of thorns upon the Saviour s brow, and drive once more the spear into His side. Make it real for God, make it real for the Church, for all this mass of sinful, suffering humanity that is everywhere about you here in this great city; let there be an intense reality in it.

Some people think, you know, that Sisters have vows. Well, priests have to vow, when we are baptised we have to vow; there is the vow of faith and renunciation, of holy obedience; we all vow our vows, we are obliged to offer to God our vows. Faithful women desire to vow their lives to God and His Church, and so they make their vows to God. These vows they live and die by. This is one of the things about which you need not trouble yourself until the time comes for you to make these vows.

And now I feel that I have talked to you quite long enough. I am very much obliged to you for your kind patience. Just a few words more. In the Church in the United States we have had Sisters for some little time, 15 or 20 years, I suppose, not recognised by the Church, not recognised by any legislation of the Church; but now the Church in the United States has recognised the work; the Church in the United States has endorsed the work and has urged the organizations of Sisterhoods; and if you want to find out to what extent they have gone, if you will turn to the reports of the June Convention in the United States, you will find how thoroughly the organisation of Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods, for the work of caring for the afflicted, has been endorsed by the Church there; not only Sisterhoods but Brotherhoods, in which they take vows. They have endorsed Brotherhoods as well as Sisterhoods.

In Alabama and Louisiana, Georgia and Missouri, and, I think, Wisconsin; in Pennsylvania and New York, in very many of these States of the Union we have these Sisterhoods organised, and doing wonderful work for Christ and the Church, and with the Church's thorough good will and approbation; and I pray God that your efforts may be so blessed. You cannot keep this work down if it is for God; but you may help it forward. What I should advise you to do is, to take hold of it with both hands earnestly, and to raise money to put your Sisterhood in a proper manner before this community, not in a mean way. Let them have a home creditable to the Church and the city, one which shall facilitate the work which they have in hand.

You are greatly mistaken if you think that going to Church and listening to good or poor sermons is the religion of Jesus Christ. We go to Church to acknowledge and confess our sins, [13/14] to ask those things which are requisite and necessary. Preaching is one of the great instruments for the conversion of the world, but if you think that going to your comfortable churches on Sunday and hearing sermons is the end of your religious duties, in my opinion, you are greatly mistaken. I think there is more of the religion of Jesus Christ in the loaf of bread to the hungry and a cup of cold water to the thirsty, than the best sermon ever preached; I believe, until you here rouse yourselves up to do some work for Christ in His poor, that it will be utterly impossible for the work of the Church in this city to be revived or sustained, and I beseech you, I exhort you, to undertake this work, for out of it will grow other work and other kinds of work, and the blessing of the Lord will be upon you; and you will hardly know what you have done that has so increased the Church here in this community, but you will see it growing every year more and more, and God's blessing being poured out more and more upon you.


In the Church there lies a latent power, which might work wonders in caring for God's sinful and suffering creatures, promote the interests of religion, and greatly extend the range of our operations; which might revive among us, with almost supernatural energy, the gifts of the Holy Ghost in personal sanctification of the souls of men: a power which ought to be utilized, and which we cannot afford to throw away.

Where is this power of which we speak? It is here and there, nowhere available, nowhere concentrated; scattered through the Church, in single, lonely, aimless lives, in lives without a mission or a destiny; without spirit, and without enthusiasm. Who does not think of such lives the moment the subject is alluded to? Who cannot mention two or three at least, within his own knowledge? Persons not bound by social ties, nor hindered by domestic duties, free to go where they will, free for another kind of life, yet living on as if they had no mission in this world.

I speak not of the selfish and worldly; but of others, who, without any definite field, without means, without opportunity, and [14/15] without encouragement, are yet not without the will to do some thing for Christ.

They constitute the latent power; the power which lies almost wholly unemployed, or employed in a poor, petty, and feeble way, all through the families and congregations of the Church. Now we want to get at this power; to bring these women together; to concentrate their energies; to weld the separate units into bars of strength; to give them an organization, a name, a uniform, a destiny. Why should we not do this? The idea of entire self-consecration for works of charity and mercy, is a noble one, and there is no reason why it should not be carried out. There is in many quarters an earnest seeking for the means of fuller devotion, a desire to renounce the world and all domestic relations, and to lead a single life, without constraint, in moral purity, in order to serve Almighty God more entirely, and more exclusively than one can do under other circumstances; a life which our Saviour approved, which His Apostles advised and recommended, and which the Christian Church has always deemed honourable and praiseworthy.

They who take this high and lonely course, however, are not and never will be many in number; but until the counsels of our Lord shall have been entirely forgotten, until the words of His Apostles shall have been set at naught, persons will be found among us ready and desirous to embrace such a vocation.

It may be assumed that there are such persons now in the Church, and in sufficient numbers to constitute a great power for good. There is a wealth of capabilities in certain individual lives, which are, and ever must be, solitary lives in this world; lives having a great torrent of affection, without an object on which to bestow it; lives brimful of noble qualities, but with no field for their exercise; splendid material of which to make an army capable of gigantic achievements in the cause of Christ. This is the latent power, which ought to be brought out, which is not brought out; although foes multiply on every side, and the enemy is daily in hand to swallow us up.

We want to put this power into shape; to mass it together, to bring it, to bear on society for the glory of God, for the relief of the poor and the needy, and for the advantage and security of our household of faith. It is the part of true statesmanship, of true charity, of true religion, to restore, to purify, to renew such organization: it is the part of weakness and slothfulness to condemn, to banish, and cast it away.

Consider some of the direct practical advantages likely to flow from wise organization of this vast latent power of the Church. Firstly, we shall obtain a principle of action higher than that of utilitarianism or selfishness; we shall see work done for the glory of God, on pure Christian principles, and with no view of earthly [15/16] reward. No words can estimate the blessings which flow from such work, or the respect which it commands. There is something very tender, and very touching, in the sight of work done simply in His name and for His glory: it is so rare in this terribly selfish age, the spirit which lays itself utterly by, and takes up the cross, and lives that life which the world counts foolishness. Its principle is the noblest of all; there are women ready to show its power in their self-devotion, would we but dare, and be brave, and open the way.

Secondly, we shall not only work better, but at an immense economy of means. Organize the latent faith and love of the Church into communities, without worldly ties, and with next to no personal expenses, and three-fourths of the money now spent before we come to real objects of charity, will be saved. As an illustration, let me refer to the House of Mercy in New York, an institution under the management of the Sisters of St, Mary. The annual report of the Treasurer, just published, shows that the entire cost of supporting the household, consisting of from fifty to sixty adults, for the year, was only $7,287, of which amount only $575 was paid for wages to hired persons. Not one dollar of the receipts was paid for salaries, while the small and comparatively insignificant sum of $575 covered all the services rendered during the year; at the same time, it must be remembered, that they who do all this work--laborious, painful, and distressing as it is--are ladies of refinement, education, and high social position; rendering for the love of Christ alone, services which no salaries could command. This is but one illustration of what is actually in progress; it shows how our Church charities may be managed, and how they will be much more generally managed as we grow wiser and more earnest. In another charitable institution with which I am connected, and in which the old system is pursued, we have to pay $3,600 per annum for salaries, and $2,400 for servants' wages, the greater part of which $6,000 might be saved by putting it in charge of a Sisterhood.


It is deeply felt by many English Church people in Ontario that it would be a great benefit to the Church if a religious society of women could be established in the province. While English Church Sisterhoods are labouring in the motherland, in the United States, in Asia and Africa, there is no such order represented in any diocese in Ontario or the North-west, The value to the Church, and to the community, of societies devoted to the loving service of our Saviour in the religious life, as well as in external good works, has been fully proved in our day by the remarkable growth and work of such orders in England and America. These societies have an important office as centres of religious influence: experience, too, has shown that there are works of mercy which are most effectually done by those who feel moved to serve God in this special way, freed from the distractions of ordinary life and given to a life of discipline and devotion. Such influences and such work are needed here, and there is now presented to our people an opportunity such as they have not had before, and may not for a long time have again, in the fact that the superior of S. Mary's, New York, has generously offered to prepare those who would be the founders of an order here; and that ladies specially suited to the work are willing to place themselves under training for two years in New York or England, and then undertake the foundation of a Sisterhood in this country, if a house and moderate endowment are provided for them. These institutions are recognized by the Bishops in England and the United States, and the Committee are happy to state that a similar recognition will, be given by the Bishop of Toronto of the work to be established here. It is estimated that a fund of $25,000 will be required to place the work on a satisfactory basis. Of this sum we hope to raise one-half in England and the United States; for the balance, we [17/18] appeal to all those in our own land who, truly loving the Church and the Church's Cord, are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to secure to our country the great blessings of such an order.

Some of the works of charity and mercy that it is hoped will be undertaken by the sisters are: nursing in its various branches, active mission work amongst the poor, an infirmary and convalescent home, and above all, houses of refuge, from which we would hope to gather penitents, who by care and patience might be led back to lives of usefulness and honour. As to the hopefulness of work of this kind, there is much to be learned from a circular lately issued by the Sisters of S. Mary's, Wantage, from which the following is an extract:--

"The penitentiary work has been carried on much as usual. At Wantage there are 34 Penitents, at Lostwithiel 25, and at S. James' Home, Fulham 60, this last divided into three Classes, of which the upper class may be described as fairly born and educated. We are thankful to observe, both from the Report lately published by Convocation and from other public sources, that this most important work is attracting more notice than heretofore, and we are glad to be permitted to add the testimony of many years' experience, that there is none more hopeful or more productive of results. This will not seem improbable if it is considered in how many cases those whom we have to reclaim may in truth be called the victims of circumstance, brought up in dens of evil, used to hear and see evil from their earliest ages, with conscience unawakened, and with natures almost devoid of womanly self-respect. If the cause be removed, the consequences naturally follow; and as a fact a very large percentage of those who finish their proper time of training under our charge do become useful members of society, and maintain faithfully the teaching and the training which they have received."

It is hoped that hereafter the work will be extended into different parts of the Dominion. Its successful accomplishment will require a determined effort on the part of Church people. Will not you, for the love of God, give us your hearty sympathy and liberal support?

Project Canterbury