When it was time for another election, Mother Mary Cecilia was not re-elected. Sister Anastasie Brown was instead. Mother Mary Cecilia might have thought she would be superior general until her death like Mother Theodore, but some of the younger sisters voted for Sister Anastasie instead. Mother Mary Cecilia was still dearly loved by many of the older sisters.
Since she served as superior general, she had a choice of where she would go next. She chose to go to St. Ignatius Academy, Lafayette, Ind. There she spent one year. Entries in Mother Anastasie’s diary show that the sisters at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods did not forget her:
“Today, we sent a basket of grapes to Mother Mary Cecilia.” Again: “Opportunity today to send a box of peaches to Mother Mary Cecilia.” At another time, “Mr. Webb takes a basket of lovely apples to Mother Mary Cecilia,” says a letter of Sister Mary Joseph, “of which kind attentions Mother Mary Cecilia was very appreciative.”
Mother Mary Cecilia’s sister Rose decided to take her two daughters on a trip to Europe. She mentioned to Mother Mary Cecilia that she should come back to the Bailly Homestead and open a school there. She did just that and it was the first school in that county. She proposed to open an entire mission there, but it was turned down by the Sisters of Providence.
So in 1872 she left Baillytown and was assigned to St. Augustine, Fort Wayne, Ind., for eight years. Bishop Dwenger appreciated her work, but he thought a younger person, who was less conservative, would fit better into the progressive educational methods of that time.
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.