Journals and Letters week 33: Reasons Mother Theodore may have felt overwhelmed and crabby
I’m probably projecting my own mood on how Mother Theodore felt during the weeks between Aug. 18, 1850, and Jan. 6, 1851. Today and for the last few days, I’ve felt overwhelmed by what I had to get done and crabby that other issues, other peoples’ needs, kept popping up. Urgency consistently trumped my “plan for the day.” Of course, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me; but sometimes I handle it better than other times. The past few days fall into the “other times” category.
When I finished reading pages 299-307 of “Journals and Letters,” I convinced myself Mother Theodore felt overwhelmed, maybe even crabby, during the weeks between Dec. 18, 1850, and Jan. 6, 1851. In an effort to prove my point (and reinforce my projections), I made a list of issues and people who must have caused her disquiet, anxiety and crabbiness during those weeks.
Before I share my list, here’s my caveat: I know I’m projecting. I know I don’t know how she felt; I’m just trying to make myself feel better. That’s the beauty of projection, it lets me validate my own feelings by thinking I see them in another. Anyway …
Why Mother Theodore may have felt crabby
- enduring poor accommodations and excessive heat during the sisters’ annual retreat
- living with her own poor health and how it affected her ability to accomplish important tasks
- attempting to convince Father Kundek that “there is not now at Saint Mary’s a single person who knows how to play the organ”
- dismissing two postulants though requests for sisters to open new schools kept pouring in
- bearing with the opposition and bigotry of “the Protestants”
- accepting the necessity of redirecting money donated to buy building material to buying provisions for the sisters and students at Saint Mary’s
- worrying over the Community’s ability to effectively care for boy orphans but accepting them in spite of her worry
- deciding not to establish a mission in Louisiana
- warning Sister Marie Therese that if she does not overcome her “propensity to anger,” Mother Theodore “will no longer look upon [her] as my daughter”
- encouraging Sister Maria to be firm; to stop being “like a weathercock on a steeple, ready to turn with every wind”
- insisting Sister Basilide “get rid of your Armandine” who makes decisions for the school in Madison not his to make, who “takes a foot when given an inch”
I know I could reread these same pages and find a thousand times more examples of Mother Theodore’s compassion, hope, realism, faith in the God who is Providence. For now, it seems I’d rather wallow in my crabbiness, annoyance and impatience.
What I need is one of those frank letters from Mother Theodore. I need a letter calling me out for unhealthy behavior followed by words expressing her deep trust in and true affection for me. Maybe that letter will come in today’s mail.
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