Friday, December 13, 2013

Bishop Resists and Pope Insists

“The Very Rev. Fr. Theissling did not give up hopes of obtaining Sisters, and encouraged the Very Rev. Fr. Gregory, Vicar of Puerto Rico to apply once more.  This he did, calling twice at the Motherhouse.  He was, however, as unsuccessful as the Provincial had been.  On his return to Puerto Rico, Rev. Fr. Gregory corresponded with Mother Prioress concerning the proposed foundation.”

On September 14, 1909 Fr. Gregory wrote, “Since I left New York for Puerto Rico, I have been trying my very best.  I wrote to Rome knowing that our ex-provincial, Fr. Theissling whom you met in Brooklyn, was stopping there.  He had a conference with Msgr. Jaime H. Blenk, former Bishop of Puerto Rico.  Msgr. Blenk told him that he had insisted with Msgr. McDonnell on your coming to Puerto Rico, but he would not give his consent.  So Msgr. Blenk advised Fr. Theissling to go to Msgr. Merry del Val directly and beg him to use his influence on Msgr. Merry del Val promised to speak to both Msgr. McDonnell and Msgr. Blenk.  As yet I do not know the result of his conference.  I spoke about the matter with Msgr. Aversa, Apostolic Delegate for Puerto Rico and he also promised to speak to Msgr. Merry del Val.  And by his mail I sent Msgr. Aversa a letter begging him to use his influence on Msgr. McDonnell directly, and he had proposed for me to do, while he was here.  This may be my last effort.  Let us keep on praying and recommending our cause to St. Dominic and Our Lady of the Rosary.  Please let me know immediately if the Bishop gives any sign.  May the Lord change his heart.  What a blessing it brings on his person, and on his diocese, to make this little sacrifice and no less on your community and novitiate.” 

Oct. 5, 1909 Fr. Gregory wrote again with good news. “What a surprise that was for me and all our Fathers!  I scarcely could believe it was true.  We all consider it the work of God, through the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary.  I received your welcome new the evening we created the Rosary Confraternity I this parish. Thursday Sept 30, 1909 was a memorable day in the history of our mission in Puerto Rico. A thousand thanks for your prayers and your willingness to come to help us. This is the first reward that you are chosen to promote the work of God among this people. The next blessing will be in the increase of your candidates.  Msgr. Aversa Apostolic Delegate for Puerto Rico and Cuba was here last August and I told him to use his influence with Msgr. Merry del Val.  So it was done.  And it seems so Msgr. Jones, bishop told us that it became known to the Pope and His Holiness ordered Msgr. Merry del Val to let the Bishop of Brooklyn know that it was the desire of His Holiness to send five Sisters to Puerto Rico.  About this number, of course you are entirely free.  Last week Msgr. Aversa returned to Puerto Rico and I paid him a visit the day after I had received your letter  He was very glad and Msgr. Jones also, to hear to the success.  Today I mailed the news to our new Provincial and to Rev. Fr. Theissling who will be delighted.” 

October 12, 1909 Fr. Gregory wrote, “Please remember us all in your prayers and try to come soon.  We are so anxious to have you here.  I wrote the glad tidings of your coming to NN he has had great deal to do with the success.  I cannot tell you how glad our Fathers were when I told them of your letter of Sept. 30th, just after erecting the Rosary Confraternity. I think it is the best news I got since we are in Puerto Rico. And then, to be sent by His Holiness.  But all the same we feel very thankful toward your good Bishop Msgr. McDonnell.  After all, the Lord has softened his good heat.  I am very anxious to know the result of your Bishop’s visit to announce the sending of Sisters to Puerto Rico.”