March 1 & 6, 1924 - During the month of February 1924, Mother General Mary Clement of the Sisters of Providence in Kingston, wrote to the bishops of all the dioceses in which the congregation sisters had missions. The intent was to garner support for approval of their new constitution.
In a brief note dated March 1, 1924, Bishop Felix Couturier, Bishop of Alexandria, advised Mother General Clement that the Sisters of Providence had his support.
On March 6, 1924, Mother General Clement penned a thank-you to Bishop Couturier.
Attached to the ‘card of thanks’ was an undated copy of a response from our Bishop. Since the copy was not signed or dated, we wondered if the original note might still exist? We contacted Veronica Steinburg, Archivist for the Sisters of Providence. Her immediate response after a brief check of her files: “We do have the original of Bishop Felix Couturier's letter to Mother Mary Clement. In fact there are two letters...the official letter and an informal letter written in his own hand apologizing for the slow reply.”
How about that for a neat little story of the importance and connectedness of various archives.
March 10, 1897 - This is a very high quality order form that was located between the pages of an old receipt book for St. Finnan’s Cathedral.
Wiltzius & Co. was an Almanac of more than 600 pages. It first began publishing after the US Civil War.
The Wiltzius Catholic Directory, Almanac and Clergy List contained an alphabetical list of all clergymen in the United States and Canada, as well as a map of the ecclesiastical provinces in the United States. It provided a list of English-speaking confessors abroad, the leading Catholic societies, statistics of the Catholic Indian and Negro missions, and a list of Catholic papers and periodicals in the United States and Canada. (Information obtained from the Milwaukee Wisconsin Archives and Wikipedia.)
On March 10, 1897, Wiltzius & Co. felt their publication would serve St. Finnan’s and possibly Bishop Macdonell at the Diocese of Alexandria. However, on March 21, 1897, the parish sent $2 for an alternate Catholic Registry, printed in Toronto.
March 21, 1906 - William Macdonell was born on November 30, 1853, on the South Branch of the Raisin River. He was the son of Archibald Macdonell and Mary Corbett. Following his studies at the University of Ottawa and the grand séminaire de Montréal he was ordained a priest on September 11, 1881, at the age of 27. He was initially put in charge of the parish of St. Andrew. He then followed the path of most of the early priests of Glengarry, serving throughout the county, before eventually arriving at St. Finnan’s Cathedral. Father William was a noted orator and his training in Quebec meant he spoke fluent French.
Upon the death of Bishop Alexander Macdonell, the Diocese’s first bishop, Father William took great pains to avoid the possibility of him becoming the diocese’s second Bishop. However, Rome intervened and on March 21, 1906, at the age of 52, Father William Macdonell was appointed Bishop of Alexandria. He was ordained three months later on June 24, 1906, the feast of St John the Baptist.
One of Bishop William’s legacies is his recognition of the rights of the French members of his flock. In fact, he oversaw the opening of Sacré-Coeur in 1910, the first French Parish in Glengarry. In addition to Sacré-Coeur, Bishop William built seven additional churches and remodeled the chapel at the aging St. Raphel’s parish during his episcopacy.