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Canada Connections, Part 1

Bertha Padberg, RSCJ

From the beginning of the Society’s life in North America, there have been exchanges between Canada and the United States. Here are a few of them:

When Philippine came to St. Louis, she found a good number of residents whose ancestry could be traced to French Canada. Emilie St. Cyr (1806-1883) and Julie Adeline Boilvin (1813- 1848) are examples among the early students at Florissant. Both entered the Society there. Emilie St-Cyr was later superior at St. Charles during the first years of Philippine’s final time there. Philippine didn’t think Emilie was a very good superior and was happy when she was replaced! Julie Adeline Boilvin, on the other hand, was beloved by Philippine, who wrote her several letters that are extant. Adeline was a foundation stone at McSherrystown, Pennsylvania, (precursor to Eden Hall) and later went to St Vincent in Canada, where she died of TB at a young age.

Another whose ancestry could be traced to French Canada was Louise Amyot (or Amiot) (1818-1857), one of the foundation group at Sugar Creek with Lucile Mathevon and Philippine. Though she was probably illiterate, at least when she entered as a coadjutrix sister, she was the quickest of the missionary group to learn the Potawatomi language. She remained at Sugar Creek and then St. Marys for the rest of her life and was beloved by the Native Americans.

Two sisters, Matilde (1826-1903) and Delphine (1827-1916) Pratt, were born in Quebec and brought to St. Louis at an early age. When their father died, they were placed in the Mullanphy orphanage at City House. Delphine was taken to the East at the age of twelve by Elisabeth  Galitzin and died many years later at Eden Hall. Matilde went south and died at Grand Coteau. One of her precious memories was of helping Philippine in 1840 to seal the wax on the letter that she wrote to Sophie begging to be allowed to go to Sugar Creek.

Justine Metzler (1836-1901), born in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, did her formation at Manhattanville, became mistress of novices at Grand Coteau, lived in Cuba and Mexico and died in Puerto Rico.  

Ellen McGloin (1839-1918) was born in Montreal, entered at St. Michaels, made first vows at Grand Coteau, was professed in Santiago, Chile, and died at Eden Hall in Philadelphia. She was custodian of documents gathered for the cause of Philippine at the turn of the century.

Amélie Jouve (1799-1880), Philippine’s niece, began her American mission in 1847 at St. Jacques in Quebec before becoming superior vicar at Grand Coteau in 1859. Mary Reid (1861-1937) was born in St. Louis, entered there and was sent as a young religious to Halifax, where she was later mistress general and superior. Later, she was superior vicar in St. Louis, 1911-1937, and died there. Mary Talbot O’Loane (1874-1943) was born in Stratford, Ontario, attended the Sacred Heart school in London, Ontario, entered at Roehampton, England, was professed at Kenwood, spent some years in Halifax, was later academic dean at Maryville and died in St. Louis. On the other hand, Bertha Padberg was born in St. Louis in 1882 and was superior vicar in Canada (1937-1958), where she died in Montreal.

More soon!