The Sisters of Providence provided nursing service during the Civil War at Military Hospital in Indianapolis.

Sister Mary Cecilia temporarily took over for Mother Theodore until she was elected superior general of the Congregation from 1856-1868.

She lead the sisters well, opening many new missions in many different areas. In 1860, a larger Academy was needed to accommodate students. She laid the foundation for this new Academy and showing great faith, this is what she wrote in her journal:

“I am beginning a new academy and I have not one dollar with which to begin. God will provide.”

While leading the Congregation during these years she also built a frame chapel, a brick bake house, barn and stable. The cemetery was also laid out during her administration. A brick vault was prepared in the center circle for the grave of Mother Theodore.

In April 1861, the Civil War broke out. Father Bessonies was asked by the doctors of City Hospital of Indianapolis to ask the Sisters of Charity to take charge. But there were no Sisters of Charity in the area, so the Sisters of Providence were asked to give assistance. Mother Mary Cecilia went immediately to Indianapolis to see what could be done. The very next day she sent three of her sisters to assist. Others were later sent. See our section on the Civil War for more information.

This article was written by Paul Beel, a staff member in the Mission Advancement office and an admirer of Mother Mary Cecilia Bailly. Paul is also a Providence Associate.