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Friday, September 22, 2017

Returning to St. Charles

Jane Cannon wrote a short account that is given to the eighth graders each year for the feast of St. Philippine. I am sure she will not mind if I quote her here as this information is in Mother Callan's book and the St. Charles archives, but she has condensed the essentials. Jane calls it "Starting Over in St. Charles." It seems that Mother Duchesne took Octavie Berthold as companion from the City House to accompany her and they went to Florissant to take Lucile Mathevon and another nun not yet professed, Sister O'Conner, to St. Charles. The last two would remain and re-open the school. Here is what Jane has written: "Mothers Duchesne, Octavie, Mathevon and O'Conner got up at 3:00 in the morning to prepare for their trip to St. Charles. Bishop Rosati had arrived from St. Louis on horseback and joined them in time to board the ferry for the trip across the river. They caught sight of St. Charles by eight o'clock.
As they walked up the street from the river toward the log cabin (the same they had left), the women of the town looked out of the windows of their houses and waved to welcome them. One lady danced in the street and cheered for their arrival. Others were at home preparing dinner for their welcome.
When they reached the cabin, a man had to crawl through a window to open the door since there was no lock on the door. Here is how one of the nuns described their new home: "The house was built of poor boards, badly joined and offering no exterior attractions. Six rooms, or rather six hovels, without windows, without flooring, without doors, composed our little palace. A cave basement under all the house was the abode of all the animals of the villaage. The sheep, the pigs, etc. found their place there regularly and made human sojourn in the house intolerable by the odors which came up from their hovel."
To be continued tomorrow.

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