Mother Germaine to P.J. Buckley, Knights of Columbus

Monday, December 29, 1913

Fundraising efforts for the construction of new buildings for Mt. St. Mary’s. Argues the necessity of women’s higher education.

Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary

                                                                         Scranton, Pennsylvania

                                                                        December 29, 1913.


Mr. P. J. Buckley, Grand Knight,

                        Sir Knight,

                                    A short time ago I made known by letter to the Knights of Columbus of Carbondale, Olyphant, Scranton, and vicinity my very earnest desire that they would individually, and in a body support the Alumnae Association of Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in an effort to raise partial funds for a much needed Auditorium Building which we hope to erect on the Seminary campus in the near future.

                        Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary is the first Catholic institution built for the higher education of young women in northeastern Pennsylvania. As yet but one building upholds the cross of the old faith, where it is intended a group of six or seven buildings will yet tower, before the needs of Catholic higher education of to-day and of the future are entirely eliminated.

In whatever land the Church of God runs her way, untrammeled by prejudice or persecution, she desires and does aid women to the uttermost, to the completest development of the mind and body. The one condition that the Catholic religion imposes on the zeal of the woman of letters is, that her culture be compatible with her chief social duties, her obligations to nature and to God. The Church owns the incontestible power of women for good or evil in the world. The wife and mother has always, all

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 times, either raised the souls of husband and her children heavenward, or inclined them towards the bottomless abyss. The first formation of the mind and heart of the human race belongs to the mother. Should she not then have cultured mind? Intelligent piety? There can be no doubt of it, especially in these days when the God of the Universe is telling most wonderful secrets of the air, earth, and water to His people. She must be ready and competent to answer the thousand and one questions of her growing boy and girl. The boy must never learn to despise the ignorance of her, in whom he has a right to look for a preceptor.

                        The morality of women is the salvation of the world. But the piety of women must be educated to intellectuality before it can be the effective instrumentality of this moral elevation. Woman herself sees this, and for Christ’s sweet sake, and the uplift of humanity, she leaves the world in the tens of thousands to labor for this greater good of mankind. She becomes the teacher of the mother and the Sister guardian of the child.

                        In self-denial, in silence, in prayer, in patient endurance, she passes her life, in devotion to the sick, the afflicted, the enlightenment of the little child, and to the building of staunch character by the higher education of woman.

Among such educators are the Sister-Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. With patient endeavor we have created one of the buildings of a cluster that shall in time form a scholarly center, the pride of Catholic culture.                                                                                 

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                        We have now in mind the erection of the second building-the Alumnae Auditorium. We have already made known our purpose to the Councils of the Knights of Columbus and have sought their interest and aid in our new enterprise. To this end, and much to our gratification the Knights of Columbus have manifested a willingness to help us. But since repetition makes assurance doubly sure, I again write to your Council of Wilkesbarre, to ask a continuance of your favor, in order that your co-operation may bring a “Reception and Card Party” planned by our Alumnae Association to a financial success.

                        Representatives of the Knights of Columbus and members of the Alumnae Association met at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary on Sunday, December 28, 1913, to discuss ways and means for the conducting of the above mentioned “Reception and Card Party”. At this meeting a committee was appointed to determine a date for the event; it was decided that each Council of the Knights of Columbus from Carbondale to Wilkesbarre be asked to act as a Reception committee; it was also decided to hold a second general meeting at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary on Sunday, January 4, 1914. This meeting will open promptly at 2:30 P.M. so that business may be completed in time to give the Knights and Alumnae an opportunity to enjoy a lecture which will be delivered by a Brother Knight, Dr.  James Walsh of New York City.

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                        I earnestly request you, Mr. Buckley, to read this letter at the earliest meeting of your Council in order that the members may be kept in touch with our proceedings. You will do me a great favor too, if you will kindly honor us with your presence at the meeting on next Sunday, and also invite others of your Council to attend. With a clever delegation from the Wilkesbarre Council I am confident we shall be able to select a fortunate day, and make definite successful arrangements for the proposed “Reception and Card Party”.

                        I fully appreciate the co-operation of your Society so far given, I hope for an enthusiastic response to my appeal which has nothing personal in it, but which is concerned with the greater glory of God, and in the interest of the Holy Catholic Religion.

Yours with deep esteem,

In the Heart of Mary,

Mother M. Germaine.