Monday, March 5, 2012

Opposition from Within

Despite opposition both from within as well as outside the convent, Mother Margaret kept the hope of rekindling devotion to the Blessed Mother foremost in her plans.  At the end of the year 1856 she had plans to open an orphanage and a hospital the following year for which she would count on the Blessed Mother to provide the necessary funds. “We are going to make a great fuss with Our Blessed Mother” she wrote in her diary as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception drew near.  “Humiliations and crosses, however, were mingled with these hopes. The busy tongue of gossip did not spare the rising Institute, and all the world did not understand the principles that guided Mother Margaret’s conduct. What most perplexed the curious public was her lavish expenditure on all that concerned the service of God, at a time when they had good reasons for believing that the Community was enduring many of the straits of poverty. They argued, that if Mother Margaret were really in want of money, it was strange that she should burn so many candles in the chapel; and they never dreamt that at the very time when remarks of this kind were in circulation she was writing to her Sisters on the subject of their money difficulties, ‘Do not burn one candle less in honor of Our Lord, or His Blessed Mother; we must be sparing to ourselves, but not to God.’ Yet she was far from being indifferent to hostile criticism; we might even say that she was at all times keenly sensitive to unfriendly strictures which betrayed a less generous standard of principles than her own.”

Drane, Augusta Theodosia (Mother Francis Raphael), Life of Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan: Foundress of the English Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena of the Third Order of St. Dominic, Longmans, Green and Co., New York, New York, 1929, p. 178-179