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Hailandiére resigns…

July is the time of year that things seem to slow down, if only for a short time. Yet July is the month in which Célestine René Laurent Guynemer de la Hailandiére resigned as the Bishop of Vincennes, (July 16) an act which was not too common in those days.

The story of Bishop Hailandiére is, in many respects, a sad one. He was the one who welcomed the Sisters of Providence to Indiana. He is the one who “fought” with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. He is sometimes maligned for this, but upon closer inspection it can be seen that he was, in many respects, a product of his time, when religious women were themselves maligned by a very paternalistic Church.

Here is a letter from the Vicar General of the Diocese of Vincennes and future Bishop (and friend) of the Sisters, Maurice de St. Palais. It seems to sum up the situation.

Madison June 29 1847
Allow me to tell you the share I took in your afflictions and the joy I felt in learning of your return to St Mary of the Woods In case of the contrary I saw as a thing inevitable the dissolution of your Community of the Sisters of Providence and besides the loss that my Congregation would sustain I dreaded the scandal that would necessarily follow Poor Bishop how unhappy he renders himself with the best intentions in the world.
At the time that you were detained at Vincennes by illness and on the point of leaving Indiana a severe correspondence was going on between the Bishop and myself and I was and still am like yourself the object of his displeasure. But his last letter contained only reproaches for ingratitude mingled with a sentiment of affection. He now announces to me that his position will soon place him out of the way of being disagreeable to us. Whatever that may mean I shall continue to be devoted to him and I only regret that he has not known who are the persons in his diocese that loved him sincerely I trust that the peace which has been restored to you will continue.


Categories: Postings.