The Mount College Chapel
These past two weeks have been busy with me going hither and yon for health and recreation. Thus, I didn’t post last Thursday and this week I haven’t visited any of your blogs. I hope to do a “blog marathon” this weekend and catch up.
Now to today’s posting.
The past two weeks revealed to me that my memory is sometimes—maybe often—faulty. In the last few postings, I’ve given you certain seasons and years when I corresponded with the convent and with Rome. But I’ve discovered that time frame was inaccurate.
Here’s how the discovery was made: While sorting the contents of my safety deposit box, I discovered letters from the papal prelate and Mother Mary Austin concerning my being released from my vows. That’s when I learned that I’d given you an incorrect time frame. The letters also revealed just how kind both the prelate and the prioress were and how much they wanted nothing but surety and peace of mind for me.
In this posting and perhaps one or two more, I’d like to share that cache of letters with you. I don’t have the ones I wrote because those are probably in the Mount archives, but you will see from the concerns expressed by Mother Mary Austin and the prelate that I was indeed confused and torn by the decision I was making.
The interior of the Mount College Chapel.
The first sharing I'll do from that cache is not a letter but a document called “Permission for Exclaustration,” which simply means “permission to leave the convent.”
Sister M. Innocence (Dolores) Ready, O.S.B., of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, by letter of December 5, 1966, has, for a just cause, requested permission to live outside the religious community for a year.
By reason of the authority granted to Major Superiors by the Hold See through #4 of the Decree to Lay Religious Institutes, I am, with the consent of my Council, granting you permission to be absent from the Religious House for not more than a year.
You will be expected to put off the religious habit when you leave, and when you have established yourself in some location will notify the Ordinary of the place of your state as an excloistered religious and will be subject to him in obedience.
Although an adequate sum is given by the Community to cover your immediate needs, you will be expected to seek suitable employment and thus to maintain yourself throughout the year.
May God be pleased to show you His will and to grant you peace.
Approved by the Council of Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, Kansas, this 20th day of December, 1966.
Mother Mary Austin, the prioress, signed the document on the 20th. Three days later I went to her office to read and sign it. Below her name came the following:
“On this date, December 23, 1966, I accept the permission for exclaustration for one year as indicated above.”
As I signed the document, two nuns witnessed my signature.
In my posting of October 30, I indicated that I saw—for the first time—the “Ordinary,” that is, the Cincinnati bishop, nearly a year and a half later—in 1968. But it’s clear from this letter that I was supposed to notify him of my presence in the Ohio diocese when I moved to Dayton in January 1967. I didn’t do so.
Did I forget? Was I just being obstreperous? I don’t know. I can’t remember. But it’s interesting to me that I began my year’s leave with disobedience. Why? Because of the five vows I made in the convent it was the vow of obedience that caused me to stumble again and again. I was not always able to bend my will to the vision of a superior.
Next week I’ll share another letter or two or three with you.