Journals and Letters week 20: Drama with the bishop continues
[Today we are discussing “Journals and Letters” page 181 Part V: A Record of Difficulties to page 190 bottom. Join us in reading a portion of Saint Mother Theodore’s writings every week in the coming year.]
Just when we thought things were going well for Mother Theodore “Back Home in Indiana,” things turn sour again with the bishop. I cannot imagine living with that tense and volatile relationship day after day. It must have been disheartening to say the least! Not only for Mother Theodore and the sisters, but, as we learned, even for the diocese and the priests the bishop governed.
And evidently for the bishop himself! I found poignant Alerding’s description of the bishop on p. 182: “He [the bishop] saw it [the loud dissatisfaction around him]. He felt it. He reproached himself for it. Yet his ardent and lofty spirit could not well check itself.” He, too, must have suffered from the mental and emotional illness that gripped him.
Difficulties all around
Father Corbe, appointed the ecclesiastical superior of the community, also experienced his ups and downs, as stated to the Vicar General Father Martin whom he had just visited: (p. 184) “I was tired, depressed, isolated at St. Mary’s, feeling there was no longer anyone in the world who would interest himself in me … ” But, luckily, he had a visit which “filled his heart with true joy.”
Bishop Bouvier of Le Mans listened to de la Hailandiere’s complaints about Mother Theodore and must have agonized about how to advise her. He finally landed on giving them the go ahead to return to France or to look elsewhere in the States to establish the mission.
Both Bouvier and Corbe felt convinced that the mission could not go on if Mother Theodore were not the superior (she had offered to resign), nor could they imagine the mission succeeding elsewhere. Father Corbe, as ecclesiastical superior, was desperate for Father Martin to weigh in as well on the decision that was his to make. He wrote, “I ask you as a friend. Oh, tell me frankly what you think. You know that by a single word I can decide the fate of the community at this moment.” The thought of making that decision must have weighed heavily on him.
From working in a marriage tribunal (which investigates marriage validity when couples pursue a marriage annulment) for a year, I’ve always felt that soap operas have nothing on real life! This section reminded me of the daily traumas of a soap opera, and so, we await the next episode!
Your turn to share:
What touched you as you read this section?
Is there anything that gives you courage as you experience your own daily ups and downs?
Next week > page 190 bottom to page 199