Saint Johns Reformatory Research Project           




Conducting my research on St Johns and Kapunda I came across numerous letters and documents (transcripts) about the excommunication of Mary Mackillop and the disbanding of the  Sisters of St Joseph in 1871. Reading these documents surprised and saddened me at the way Mary Mackillop and the Josephites were treated by Bishop Sheil and Father Horan who was the real puppet master behind it all. What I found fasinating was that there was a Kapunda connection. Father Horan was based in Kapunda during this time and sought revenge on, Father Julian Woods and the Josephites for having his close friend Father Keating  removed from the Kapunda Parish for sexually abusing children and  having him sent back to Ireland. 

Watching the ABC program "Compass" which was aired on the 10th October 2010  about the life of Mary Mackillop and the  Sisters of St Joseph I found the program well put together and accurate except for one small part (I will talk about that later) the headline used before the documentary went to air was that Fr Keating in the Kapunda had been sexually abusing children within his Parish and the Sisters of St Joseph reported him to the Josephites Director Fr Julian Tenison-Wood about the abuse. It was then reported to the Vicar General and Fr Keating was sent back to Ireland.  I was pleased that this story has now gone public although the information has never been confidential or concealed  if you know who to ask or where to look.  The reason this story is making the headlines is because the Sisters and Mary Mackillop did this incredibly brave act and for there  reward  Mary Mackillop was to be excommunicated by an unstable Bishop and a angry vengeful priest looking for revenge  Another headline  for this story is that Keating was a pedophile priest who was sent back to Ireland to continue his work as a priest. But what has not been put forward is that Horan a friend of Keating was a also an sexual preditor himself who had attempted to sexually abuse one of Mary Mackillop's nuns. I have evidence of this from one of the trascripted letters that I have. He was not only friends of a pedophile, mastermind behind the excummunication of Mary Mackillop but was a sexual preditor himself.  

I know this does not have a direct connection to the St Johns Reformatory, but remember Mary Mackillop did open the reformatory in 1897, living up there for three months during the renovations. Again their is a strong connection to Kapunda, the stench of abusive behavior against children and the attempted coverup by the church. I think it is important to allow people to read what happened during this disasterous time within the Catholic Church. 

This section will look at:
*  Mary Mackillop's life & excommunication.
*  Who was Father Charles Horan.?
*  Who was Bishop Laurence Sheil?
*  Who was Father Julian Woods?
* Documents that led to the  excommunication of Mary Mackillop.
* Evidence from the  Episcopal Commission 1872. 
* Shocking letter by a Sister to Mary Mackillop about sexual advances by Father Horan.

I know this section is a very long read but what I am attempting to do is for the people interested, is to understand  the individuals involved, who they were, their backgrounds what they attempt to achieve in life and the consequences of their actions. Its easy to read the headlines or a short article but that only gives the headline grabs.  There is much more to Mary Mackillop life  than the headline grabber, "Saint exposes pedophile priest" she was a strong caring,  passonate, individual who gave her live to helping others, especially the poor and would do what ever it took to achieve this including taking on her own church. Her friend Julian Woods who co-foundered the Josphites is a fasinating man who was self educationed, incedibly intelligent who was a scientist in own right especially in the field of geology. He to was not affraid to take on the Catholic Church but found it difficult to mend bridges with the ones closest to him. 
Bishop Sheil who excommuncated Mary Mackillop, disbanned the Josephites putting them on the street with no money or anywhere to live  should never have been put in such position of responsablity  in the first place, he would become the puppet for malisous priests led by Father Horan. Charles Horan is the real villan behind the excommunication of Mary Mackillop, and the disbanding of the Josephites.  He wanted revenge on Father Woods and Josephites as they were responsible for  his friend Father Keating being removed and sent back to Ireland  by manpulating Bishop Shiel . 

                                                                                          The Life of Mary Mackillop

Mary Helen Mackillop was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne Victoria on the 15th January 1842. She was baptised six weeks later and recieved the names Marina Ellen. Her father Alexanda had been educted in Rome for the Catholic priest hood but left at the age of 29 left before his ordination. He then migrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney in 1838. Her mother, Flora MacDonold arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1840. Alexanda and Flora married in Melbourne on July 14th 1840 and had eight children. Mary was the eldest, Margaret (1843-1872), John (1845-1867), Annie (1848-1929) Alexandrina (1850-1882), Donold (1853-1929), Alick (died at 11 months) and Peter (1857 1878). Mary's brother Donold would become a Jesuit priest and worked amongst the aborigines  in the North Terriory and Alexandrina would become a nun.

Mary was educated at a private school and by her father. She received her first Holy Communion on  August 15, 1850 at a very early age of nine years old. In 1851 Mary's father Alexander left his family after morgaging his farm and livelihood and made a trip to Scotland for 17 months. It was said he was a loving father and husband but was was unable to make a success out of the family farm. He was an unsuccessful politician and had problems holding any jobs. Most of the time the family  had to live on the small wages that the children were able to bring home.

Mary Mackillop started work at the age 0f 14 years as a clerk in Melbourne and later as a teacher in Portland. As her family was struggling finacially she took a job as a governess. In 1860 at her aunts and uncle's home at Penola, South Australia she looked after their children and was a teacher to them. To help the poor whenever possible she included the other farm children on the Camerson estate as well.  This brought her incontact with Father Julian Tenison Woods who was the parish priest in the south-east since his ordination to the priesthood in 1857 after finishing his studies in Seven Hill Clare. Father Woods had been concerned about the lack of education in South Australia. When he finally started his first school he became Director of Education, also becoming the founder, with Mary Mackillop, of the Sisters of St Joseph who would teach in his schools.
Mary Mackillop stayed for two years with the Camnerons of Penola before taking a job teaching Cameron children in Portland Victoria. She then opened her own boarding school, Bay View House Seminary for Young Ladies (today known as Bayview College) in 1864. During this time the rest of her family joined her.  While teaching in Portland Father Woods asked Mary Mackillop and her sisters Annie and Alexandrina to come to Penola and open a Catholic school there. In 1866 the school was opened in a stable and renovated by their brother. The Mackillop children started teaching more than 50 children. Also in the same year Mary Mackillop adopted the religious name "Mary of the Cross".  

In 1867 Mary Mackillop at the age of 26 she became the first Sister and Mother Superior of the newly formed order of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and moved to the new convert in Grote Street, Adelaide. This was the first order to be foundered by an Australian. There they found the new school at the reguest of Bishop Laurence Sheil dedicated to the education of the poor. The rules written up by Mary Mackillop and Father Woods for the Sisters to live by were an emphasis on poverty, a dependence on divine providence, no ownership of person belongings, a faith that God would provide and the sisters would go were ever they were needed. The rules were approved by Bishop Sheil. By the end of 1867 ten more sisters had joined the Sisters of St Joseph.

 Mary Mackillop and the SIsters of St Joseph in attempt to provide education to as many poor children as possible particularly in country areas opened a school in Yanalilla in October 1867. By the end of 1869 there were more than 70 sisters teaching children at 21 schools in Adelaide and the country. They also branched out with an orphanage, neglected children, girls in danger, the elderly poor, a reformatory for girls in Kapunda, a home for the elderly and incurably ill. The sisters were prepared to follow farmers, railway workers, miners into isolated area in the outback and live as they lived.

In December 1869 Mary Mackillop and several sisters travelled to Brisbane to establish the order in Queensland. They based themselves at Kangaroo Point and would row themselves across the Brisbane River to go to Mass at St Stephens Catherdral. A couple of years later Mary Mackillop was in Port August setting up a simular order. By 1871 the Sisters Of St Joseph had grown to 130 sisters and were working in more than 40 schools and had charitable institutions across South Australia and Queensland.  

In 1870 Mary Mackillop and other sisters of the Josephites heard allegations that Father Patrick Keating of  the Kapunda parish had been sexually abusing children. Father Woods was told who in turn reported it to the Vicar General Father John Smyth, who sent Father Keating back to Ireland. The public explantion (coverup) for Keating being sent back was alcoholic abuse. He was not punished for his crimes but continued as a priest in Ireland (sad but true).  Father Keating former partner Father Charles Horan was angered by Father Keating removal and sought retribution on Fr Woods,  Mary Mackillop and the Josephites. Father Horan became acting Vicar General after the death of Father Smyth in June 1870 and from this position of power was able to influence Bishop Sheil. Father Horan met with Bishop Sheil on the 21 September 1871 and convinced him that the Josephites Rule should be changed; the following day when Mary Mackillop apparently did not accede to the request, Bishop Sheil excommunicated her, publicaly citing insubordination as the reason. While the Josephites were not officially disbanded most of the schools were closed in the wake of this action.

Shortly before Bishop Sheil's death, He instructed Fr Hughes, on the 23rd February 1872 to lift the censure on Mary Mackillop. He met her on the way to Willunga and absolved her in the Morphett Vale Church. Later an Episcopal Commision completly exonerated her.

Mary Mackillop then travelled to Rome in 1873 to seek papal approval for the religious congregration and was asked to work by Pope Pius IX. The authorities in Rome made changes to the way the Sisters lived in poverty, declared that the Superior General and her Council were the authorities in charge of the order and assused Mary Mackillop that the congregation and their rule of life would recieve final approval after a trial period. The alterations to the rule of life caused a breech between Mary Mackillop and Father Woods who felt that the revised rule compromised the idea of vowed poverty and blamed Mary Mackillop for not getting the rule excepted in the original form. Just before Father Wood death on October 7th 1889, he and Mary Mackillop reconciled but he did not renew his involement with the Josephites. 

In 1875 Mary Mackillop returned to Australia after two years in Rome. She recieved the approval from Rome for her sisters and the work they did, books for the convent libuary, several priests and 15 new Josephites from Ireland. Even after a successful trip to Rome she still had to content with the opposition of a number of priest and bishops who wanted to remove or control Mary Mackillop and the Josephites. The opposition  with in the Catholic church did not change even when Mary Mackillop won the position of Superior General in March 1875.

The Josephites order was still expanding, by 1877 it operated more than 40 schools in and around Adelaide, with many more in Queenland and New South Wales. The order recieved help from a number of non-Catholics, Dr Benson, Barr Smith, the Baker family and Emmanuel Solomon. Mary Mackillop now  officially the leader and Superior General were able to contiune the religious and other  good charitable works including visiting prisoners in Gaol, this included the Adelaide Gaol were Mary Mackillop prayed with a condemed prisoner before he was excucuted by hanging.

When Archbishop Roger Vaughan of Sydney was appointed in 1877 live became a bit easier for the Joesphites and Mary Mackillop until his death in 1883. She also had the solid support of Father Joseph Tappeiner until his death in 1882. and the support of Bishop Reynolds of Adelaide until 1883. However it all changed after the death of Archbishop Vaughan showed his true colours and had only one aim and that was to destroy or control Mary Mackillop and the Josephites. He did succeed in removing Mary Mackillop as Superior General but was not able to bring Mary Mackillop or the Josephites under his control. 

After the death of Archbishop Vaughan in 1883, Patrick Francis Moran became Archbishop in Sydney. Although he was possitive towards the Josephites he replaced Mary Mackillop as Mother General, replacing her with Sister Bernard Walsh. Bishop Reynolds of Adelaide would not let up on the Josephites. the Sister were frequently the target of Supicion and opposition and were sometimes accused of  incompetence as teachers, some even accused Mary Mackillop of drinking in excess. Bishop Reynolds established a commision of enquiry in 1883. This prompted Mary Mackillop to move her Motherhouse (headquarters) to Sydney where Archbishop was more supportive. 

Pope Leo XIII made the Josephites into a canonical Congregration in 1885. In 1888 Archbishop Moran returned from Rome with a decree from the Vatican settling the dispute that had been festering for years espeically in South Australia. Central government was accepted as well as a separate diocesan congragrations. The two groups were to have different religious dress. Those who remained affliated with Mary Mackilliop and the Josephites wore a brown habit and those under the jurisdiction of the Bishops wore black. From that time the two groops have been generally known as "Brown Josephites"  and the "Black Josephites"

Although Mary Mackillop and the Sisters had been the target of many attacks by a number of  clergy in South Australia they had still been very successful in South Australia. They had schools in many country towns including Willunga, Willochra, Yarcowie, Mintaro, Aubuern, Jamestownh, Laura, Sevenhills, Quorn, Spalding, Georgetown, Robe, Pekina, Appila and several others. Even though Mary Mackilop was now based in Sydney she tried to provide as much support to South Australia, making a number of trips to South Australia over the years.

In 1883, the Order successfully established in New Zealand where Mary Mackillop stayed for three years and then another Order in Victoria in 1889.
During this time Mary Mackillop assited Mother Bernard with the managment of the Sisters of St Joseph. She wrote numerous letters of support, advise and encouragement or just to keep in touch. By 1896 Mary Mackillop was back in South Australia visiting Sisters in Port Augusta, Burra, Pekina, Kapunda, Jamestown and Gladstone. In the same year headed back to New Zealand to establish the Sisters and schools in the South Island. In 1897 Bishop Maher of Port Augusta arranged for the Sisters of St Joseph to take charge of the St Ancletus Catholic Day School at Petersburg (Now called Peterborough).

After the death of Mother Bernard, Mary Mackillop was again ellected unopposed Mother Superior-General in 1899. She held this position until her death in 1909.  During the later years of her life she suffered many health problems which continued to deterioate. She suffered from rheumatism and after a stroke in New Zealand in 1902, became paralyised on her right side. For the rest of her days she was confined to a wheel chair. But her speech andmind was as strong as ever. Even suffering from a stroke the sisters had the confidence to re-elect her in 1905.

Mary Mackillop died on August 8th 1909 in the Joesphite Convent in North Sydney and was laid to rest at the Gore Hill Cemetery, North Sydney. After her burial, people continuously took earth from around the grave. As a result of this her remains were rehumed and transferred on January 17th, 1914 to a vault before the alter of the Mother of God in a newly built Memorial Chapel in Mount St Sydney. The valt was a gift of Joanna Barr Smith who was a life long friend and Presbyterian. The Sisters of St Joseph contuined the schools program and in 1911 opened a new school at Terowie.

Over a hundred years after the death of Mary Mackillop, the Sisters are still working in many towns in South Australia. They bought Pirralilla in 1950, which was originally built in 1902 by Michael Hawker. The property has been used as a convent and spiritual retreat.

                                                                                  Father Julian Tenison Woods

Julian Woods was born in London on the 15 November 1832, he was the sixth son of seven children of James Tenison Woods, Q.C., a sub-editor of the Times, and his wife Henrietta Maria Saint-Elroy Tenison, daughter of Rev Joseph Tenison. James Woods was a Catholic but not a strick Catholic and his mother was belonged to the Church of England and was of the same family as Archbishop Tenison who was fell known around the turn of the 18th century. Julian Woods was baptised and confirmed into the Catholic Church but is said to have fallen away from the church in his youth. In Julians own manuscript  memoirs, that were written during his last illness, told of how he lead the life of an Anglican when he was 16 years old and was converted to Catholicism soon afterwoods. Although Wood's Biographer Rev George O'Neil, discussed this in detail but thinks Woods memory at the time of writting his memoir my be untrustworthy. Julian Woods was educated at Thomas Hunt's Catholic School, Kent House, Mammersmith and for two years at Newington Grammer School. 

In 1846 Julian Woods  obtained the position in "The Times" office but only after a few weeks went to live with his mother whose health was failing. Woods returned to London less than two years later and resumed his position with "The Times" offiice. In 1850 Woods entered the monastery of the Passionate Order at Broadway in Worcestershire and became a novice. He suffered from heath problems while studying at the Marist seminaries near Toulon France. During this time he also taught english at a naval Collage. This was around the time his interest in geology and natural history began.
In 1854 while in England, Woods met Bishop Robert Wilson and travelled to Van Diemens Land (Now Tasmania) arriving in Hobart in the Ship "Bernicia" on 30th April 1855.  There was a disagreement with Wilson and left for Adelaide in the first part of 1855. Woods then worked for the "Adelaide Times" as a sub-editor then entered the Jesuit college at Sevenhills Clare.

Julian Woods was ordained  as a diocesan priest  on the 4th January 1857 and took charge of a large parish of Penola. The now Father Woods published his first book :Geological Observations in South Australia in 1862. With Mary Mackillop he help to set up the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart at Penola in 1866. Woods worked very hard travelling his large parish and visited every place where he could find a member of the church. The good climate of South Australia improved his health and had many good years.

Woods joined an exploring party that was starting for the interior (outback  Australia)  and began a methodical study of geology and mineralogy.  
In early 1867 Father Woods was appointed  as Director- General of Catholic Education and secretary to Bishop Sheil with the title of the Very Reverend. Another one of his duties was the administration of the newly built cathedral.

Father Woods  founded a small monthly magazine called the "Southern Cross" in 1867. It lasted only two years but wass revived in 1870 under the new name of :The Chaplet and Advocate of the Children of Mary".

Father Woods was working long hours and was under many anxieties (during the time of the excommunication) causing his health to fail once again. in 1872 there was an espiscopal into the genral conditions of the diocese of Adelaide. The results of this was that he was deposed from his various positions and soon left Adelaide.  He began working in Bathurst NSW dioceses and in 1873 went to Brisbane Qld  and worked as a missionary for nearly a year. In 1874 he headed to Tasmania, stopping for a few days in Melbourne Vic where on February he gave a scientific lecture. While in Tasmania he had great success as a missioner.

Father Woods was fortunate that his district (Penola)  contained many geological marvals. He kept in touch with other scientist and built up a large libuary of scientific books. Woods published his first book "Geological Observation in South Australia" in 1862. Wood's "History of the Discovery and Exploration of Australia" (London 1865) in two volumes, and his serialised "Australian Bibiography" in the Australian Monthly magazine (1866-67)
Father Woods had a broad knowledge of science and on his occational visits to cities he sometines gave scientific lectures and were ever he wnet he always showed an interest in the geological and natural history of the distict.

In 1878 Father Woods joined the Linnean Society of NSW as he had taken up his scientific work after leaving South Australia. He was elected President of the Society in 1880. In 1883 wrote "Fisheries of New South Wales" and was published by the colonial government and William III of the Netherlands awarded Father Woods a gold medal for it.

In 1883 Father Woods was invited by a friend and the Govenor of Singapore, Sir Fredrick Weld to take a scientific tour in the Straits Settlements. He also travelled extensively in Java, the Adjacent Islands  and the Philippines and provided the British Government with a confidential report on the coal resources of the east. He also travelled to China and Japan returning to Sydney in 1886. Shortly after returning he spent four months in the North Territory exploring the geological sites.

In 1887 Father Woods found his eyesight and general heath were weakened. He had found a home in Sydney in one of the charitable communities he had founded but was told by Cardinal Moran that if he widhed to remain in the dioceses and conduct his priestly faculties he was to take up his residence in a location appointed by him. Woods would not agree to his instructions. Woods had recieved and given away a large amaount of money paid to him for his scientific work for the goverment and was now poor and feeble. Luckily Woods had many friends and was well cared for. One of the last works was a paper on the "Natural History of the Mollusca of Australia" for which he recieved the 1888 Clarke Metal for distinguished contribution to Natural Science and a grant of 25pounds  by the Royal Society of New South Wales.

Father Julian Tenison Woods was described as having a remarkable personality he was describled as being fasinating  and charming. He had great knowledge, was a good musican and had artistic ability. In his church his power as a speaker made him a great missionary. He was an unselfish man, he had great respect for his fellow man and had great piety. Yet Father Woods had many disagreements with his superiors over the years including Mary Mackillop. As a scientist he did excellent work in bontany, zoology and particularly geology. A list of scientific writtings which included 155 items was published as a pamphlet without imprint around 1887.

In early 1889 his health steadily got worse and after much suffering he died at St Vincent's Hospital  on October 7th 1889 and was buried in the Roman Catholic  section at Waverley Cemetery, Sydney.

                                                                                   Laurence Bonaventure Sheil

Laurence Bonaventure Sheil was born on December 24th 1815 at Wexford Ireland. He was educated at St Peter's College, Wexford and from 1832 at the Franciscan College of St Isidore, Rome where he remained teaching theology and philosophy after his ordination in 1839. After returning to Ireland he became guardian of  the convents of St Francis at Cork and Carrickbeg. He was recruited for the Australian mission and arrived in Melbourne with Bishop Goold on February 1853. He was appointed President pf St Francis's seminary, later St Pattick's College and was the secretary and manager of the Catholic education board of Victoria. He suffered ill health and was transfered as Archdeacon to Ballarat in 1859 and remained there until 1866, when he was appointed to succeed P,B Geoghegan as the Bishop of Adelaide. He was Consecrated by Bishop Goold on the 15th August and was installed as Bishop on the 16th September 1866.

The now Bishop Sheil of Adelaide main mission was great expansion. By 1871 twenty-one new missions had been established, nineteen new churches built. One of his first undertakings was the St Laurance's Church at North Adelaide opened in January 1869.  The number of priests had been increased from seventeen to thirty. There was also a rapid  increase in Catholic education. In 1866 the teaching congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph was founded by Mary Mackillop and Father Tenison Woods and the next year Sheil appointed Father Woods Director General of Catholic Education. By 1871 there were sixty-eight Catholic Schoolsin the diocese. Thirty-five of the schools were run by the Joesphites nuns. He also recruited a community of seven Irish Dominican nuns.

Despite hight expectations, Bishop Sheil was not a successful Bishop. He had spent less than two years of episcopate in Adelaide, he travelled to Rome and Ireland from April 1867 to December 1868 and from October 1869 to February 1871 to recruit clergy and to attend the Vadican Council and carried out intercolonial visitations in 1869 and 1871. All this travelling and his bad health left the diocese of Adelaide with virtually no leadrship and resulted in bitter clerical amdministation factionalism and disunity. The most serious and dramatic result of this was his precipitous and uncanonical excommumnication of Mary Mackillop and the temporary disbanding of Josephites in September 1871. After his death there was a Apostolic Coomision to investigate the diocesan affairs. 

It was thought by many that Sheil was better suited to teaching and scholarship than coping with the problems of the Adelaide mission. He did suffer badly from the heat and in his last years it is believed that poor health contributed to his erratic and autocratic behavior. He moved to Willunga, south of Adelaide in December 1871 and died there of carbuncle on the 1st March 1872. He was buried in West Tce Cemetery Adelaide.

                                                                                                       Charles Horan

Charles Horan was born in Galway Ireland on the 19th November 1837. He was recieved into the Order of the Friars Minor in Ireland on the 17th March 1859, at St Isidore's College, Rome. During this time he took the name Charles. On returning to Ireland, he was guardian of the Friaries of Bantry in 1863, Cashel in 1864 and while resident in Cork, Meelick in 1866. On November 26th he was appointed the guardian of Cashel. At some point during these years he was stationed in Ennie. He had the reputation for being a eloquent speaker at sermons.

Charles Horan left Ireland for Australia in 1868 in the comapany of Bishop of Adelaide, Laurence Bonaventure Sheil. In 1869 he was reported for over-consumption of alcohol. He became the Vicar General although he was never formally appointed. After the death of Bishop Sheil a feud broke out between him and Fr Christoper Reynolds, as Reynolds was a friend of Mary Mackillop and she was the target for Horan's anger because the Joephites had reported his friend Father Keating for sexual abuse against children in his care and was sent back to Ireland.

A divisive issue over juriddiction and canonical distinctions between Mary Mackillop and the Josephites led to a meeting with Father Horan.
(Transcript of meeting)
" On Thursday evening , 21 September 1871, Horan told Mary Mackillop that the Bishop (who had called while she was out that day) wanted her to go to another convent. She would not go that night and wanted to discuss matters with the sisters and the Bishop as well. Horan told her the Bishop would not see her and added, "I suppose you won't go."  She answered; "Father, how can I under these circumstances." Horan led her to believe that she was excommunicated. The next morning the Bishop arrived with four priests and, in a ranting mood admid the hysteria of some of the sisters, and with Mary Mackillop kneeling down on her knees in the chapel, he excommunicated herand sent her back to the world."

Citing this account Ignatius Fennessy stated that, " Horan was at least in  part respossible for setting the spark to the Bishop's short fuse" . Fennessy went on to say that the entire business may have been based on a misunderstanding as Horan never claimed to have excommunicated her; when some of the sisters in the presence of Sheil did not go to church the following day as they believed they were excummunicated but Sheil thought they were defying him. Five months later the excommunication was lifted five months later just before his death on March 1st 1872.

Sheil was succeeded in June 1873 by Reynolds who later become the first Archbishop of Adelaide.  A visitation by the Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) in August 1872 informed the Minister General of the Franciscans that Horan should be recalled "for the greater tranquility of the region" . Horan excepted his recall the following August.

Not much is known about Horan's life after leaving Australia. It is thought that he may have served in various diocesses in the United States for approximately 15 years from 1876. He was back in Ireland by October 1892, dying at Limrick in 1900

                                                                                          Letters and Documents

The letters and documents in this section were written between 1871 - 1872 and are directly connected to the excommunication, the  Episcopal Commision of 1872 and a letter implying sexual abuse by a young nun to Mary Mackillop.  I will give a brief discription about each letter or document and then let you read them for yourself.

                                   Sister Mary Angela. Reporting to Mother Mary Mackillop (September 1871)

[ This letter was written by Sister Mary Angela to Mary Mackillop. The letter describes the serious conserns that Mary Angela had about the behavior of Father Horan towards her. She told Mary Mackillop that Horan had attemped to make sexual advances towards her and that she was  mentally tormented by Horan.  She also told Mary Mackillop about how Horan accused her of stealing the "Blessed Sacrument". and forced a confession out of her.  The removal of the "Blessed Sacrument" was also mentioned in the ABC "Compass documentay they explained that a young nun aged 17 removed the Blessed Sacrument and that she was mentally ill and was over come by delusions of the Supernatral. In this letter the sister denies taking the object or has no memory of taking it.  What this letter tells us is that she was sexually harrasted, verbly and mentaly abused. This poor girl suffered terribly by Horan. This was never mentioned in the documentary they only suggested a mentaly ill girl stole the Blessed Sacrament.]
( Brian Condon: Letters and Documents in 19th Centary Australian Catholic History)
[ Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG Vol. 1000, 1272 - 1284v Original in English]
My Dear Sr. Mary,

In accordance with your wishes I state the facts of this case but feel I can't go through all this painful duty and will ask Sister Josephine to write what I can remember.

On the first Sunday night of my arrival in Kapunda when in Habit Fr. Horan came to the convent, assembled the Community and forbid any Sisters to speak of visions or the devil, also of the harm that was done to religion by so doing. He called me outside the door, told me the visions and relevations I was said to have were delusions and that many looked on me as a Saint, that he knew otherwise. He related an an example of how a young girl was deluded by the devil, and how through those things she became a miserable fanatic. He spoke of the investigation  that was at St. Joseph's Convent about the Blessed Sacrament, and accused me of taking it. At first I told him I did not take it. He took my hand in his and drew me to him and tryed to put his arms around my waistand told me not to be affraid of him, that he knew very well the way I was driven to take it, that he would not let me go away from him till I confessed it, and if I would not nay hour might find me in the deepest pit of hell. I said again I did not take it. He then spoke of Father Woods and wished me to tell him if he ever spoke of the Blessed Sacrament and told me that I took it in a fit of fanaticism and, as he said those words, he put his arms arms around my waist and derew me some paces from where I was standing. At this I said while I tried to loosen myself from his grasp, "Well Fr. Horan, I suppose I took it as you say I did, in that way, and you may tell the Bishop and Sisters of this".

During this time his words had an influence over me that I could not resist and made me quite sick. I felt as if I was going mad. He then told me I should to to confession to him directly. I asked him If I should tell in my confession I took the Blessed Sacrament. He said I could confess that way he told me. He then went to the oratory and asked and asked for a stole, there was not one to be had and he said,  "Never mind I can do it without."  When I knelt down he put his arms around me and I pushed the away, he said he wanted only to show me that he wanted to be father and a brother and that I need not fear anything from him. He spoke again about the Blessed Sacrament and asked me what I did with it. I said I did nothing with it. I don't remember taking it or doing anything with it, and begged him to leave me alone. He then called the Sisters into the oratory and told them that I confessed taking the Blessed Sacrament and other things and other things that I cant remember. After this he left and returned in the next morning and told that I should say something about what was done with the Blessed Sacrament. I told him I heard one of the priests said after the investigation that he thought I consumed it and said, "Can you say you did this?" I said "No" He asked me if there were any things on the  alter where I could have put it. I said I remembered there was some boxes sometimes on the alter. He said, " I suppose you put it there", and I said " I suppose so". He said, "Now you will be happy" and I answered, "Yes in the Asylum, for what you have told me will soon put me there". He left then, My mind was in a strange state and I longed to write to you, dear Sister, but he forebid me to write to anyone without letting him see the letter, as this was the Bishops wish. The next time I saw him I asked if I had made  sacrilegious confessions and communication . He answered yes, for the last six months I had been making them and was completely in the power of the devil. This completely upset my mind and deprived me of my reason for sometime.

One evening when I was ill he came to see me and told Sister Bernard I was going to bed and when I had he came into the dormitory and I must say acted in the most unpriestly manner. He sat and spoke in the most disrespectful manner of Fr. Woods and you, he told me how you disobeyed his lordship and said in the presence of his God that he did not speak of new rules to you and that you were in a state of moral sin. And now I will canidly own to you, dear sister, that I lost all confidence in you particularly when he told me that it was your duty as my Superior to forbid me to persist in thing supernatural as you could not know they were delusions. He spoke in length of bad training I got from Fr. Woods. When I expressed my displeasure of this, he said. " I can easily see you are a poor deluded devotee to Sister Mary and Fr. Woods". He threw his arms across me and said he would be a father to me. I said, "Dont", and he laid his head on me and said only wanted to feel my pulse. I was going to sceam and he said he was only treating me as a simple little child. I said I wanted Sister Bernard. He said he would go so he did so. I several times asked him to let me leave the institution and he said if L returned to the world I would lose my vocation and he tryed to put that thought out of my head. Some time after he came to the convert, he siad two of the Sisters had written to the Bishop saying that they would leave the institute if I remained in it, also that it was his loadships wish that I should leave, for the interest of the religion, and a rumour of the Blessed Sacratment had gone abroad.

There was one circumstance which I forgot top mention; he insisted on seeing some letters we had recieved from town and I refused to let him see them, but he told me I should tell him what was in them, so I said I would not. Then he insisted on it, so I told him part, which was to have courage and not to fear that they were not keeping a new rule and to practice charity. He seemed surprised at the latter part of what I said. The night I got my dispensation he told me what I have above about the Bishop's wishes with regard to leaving the institution, and left it to my own option whether I would leave or not. I told him I would leave. He asked me to allow him to go my parents and tell them how I took the Blessed Sacrament. At first I consented; after thinking a little I refused, so I told him that I would not tell my parents, but that I would tell my Sisters the way I was accused of it. He would not listen to that, he told me it was my duty to tell my father, that I was not theologically guilty, and that he would say so to him. I insisted on saying that I would not consent for him to speak to my people as he had spoken to me concerning it. He then wanted Sister Bernard to go to my father with him and he would tell them; I would not consent.

My Sister Elizabeth and M. Anne came to the convent after this so I told them that Fr. Horan accused me of taking the Blessed Sacrament, that I had given in to his accusation and that he wished to see them about it. M.A wished to see him. So Sister Bernard and I went to his house and I asked him to come, which he did. He said to M.A he did not blame me, that it was the bad training I got which led me to do it. He told me not to look on my ring as a professional one and on no account to go near the house in town, as now I was quite free. He spoke a great deal of the Sisters and how they were living in opposition to the Bishop, how they were speaking uncharitably about him. He said I should return to my parents. I told him I would not, that I would go to Queensland. I went to Adelaide on the Wednesday after and laid aside my habit.

You know, my Sister, that I went to Fr. Hinteroecker and told him part of what occured here, and now I'll tell you why I did not tell him all. The impression that Fr. Horan left on my mind of being deluded led me to believe that all I ever said to you or Fr. Director was from the devil I even told Elizabeth and M.A. Before I went to Adelaide, so told them not to believe anything they ever heard of me in the way of recieving favours from God. He also told me that these had gained for me a great name. And this was the reason, dear Sister, why I refused to answer Fr. Tappeiner's question out of confession. As well as I can remember, Fr.Tappeiner asked me what made me think there would be a sign given that night and Expostion after, at Benedication I was trying to make reparations, and it seemed to me that no outrage had been commited by any human hands and to confirm this I had  an impression that a sign would be given the next day, but I know nothing of what the sign would be. This is what I would have said to Fr. Tappeiner If I had the courage to speak to him out of confession.

When Sister Paula and I came back to Kapunda, Fr Horan told Sister Bernard to send for me as he said he heard that I was reporting things in town which would get him silenced. When I got this message I went to his house with Sisters Bernard and Paula, where we saw him. He called me into his own room and asked me If I reported in Adelaide that he revealed my confessions. I said "No". He then asked me if I was willing to contradict the report, That it[?] must have been the Sisters who did it. I said " yes", but I said, "Before I shall do so, you must promise not to say anything about the Blessed Sacrament", he answered "O well, i'll either write it myself or get someone else to do so, and you can just sign your name to it".

He said "who have you  gone to confession to while you wee away?" I said "I cant tell you." "You know dear Sister, you told me not to tell who I went to". I felt very uncomfortable and, as he insisted on knowing. I said "I'll tell you in confession". He went to the next room and got a stole and when I knelt down he asked me the same question. I told him Father Hinteroecker, he made me tell him what I told in confession to him about the Blessed Sacrament. I said I told him I did not remember getting into a state that he told me I did the day of the disappearence of the Blessed Sacrament and that I did not remember her, taking it at all. He said that was an untruth and told me it was now my duty to go to and write to Father Hinteroecker and tell him so, also that my confession to him were bad. I said " I dont think they were bad", and argued a deal on this point with him. He said "Father Hinteroecker could not believe you were telling the truth, for he said he was one of nine priests who signed the document stating that you took it and if you dont write and tell him that you misrepresented things you may get him in trouble, as I hear he has denied it and said you did not take it. " I told him I would be very sorry to get Fr. Hinteroecker in trouble that I could not and would not do what required of me. I said " I'll send for Father Hinteroecker and speak to him about my confession" but he said "This will not do; you must write and let me see the letter. " I again refused, so he said " I will not give you absolation till you do it. I said "Very well let me go".

He then called in Sister Bernard and Paula who were in the parlour and said to Sister Bernard "You are to write at my dictation". She did so. I was standing by but would not say what he told her to write, I was so confused and stupefied. I think he said something about the Blessed Sacrament. When it was finished he told me to sign my name to that, which I did, asking him at the same time if it was to be preached from the alter, so he said no.  This paper was reguarding  the report of my confession being revealed by him. When we were leaving he said to me "Remember I won't give you absolution till you write that letter.

Some time after this my mother questioned me very closely and frequently about my not going to the Sacraments. She said she wondered what was coming over me.  My dear Sister Mary, I can't enter into details here as tell you all I am suffered at seeing the sad state of my poor mother's mind at the apparent neglect of my religion, my conduct in this respect nearly deprived her of the reson so she remarkedmore that my conduct made her believe I was guilty of such an awful crime, and you may imagine what state of mind we were in. Some weeks later I went to Father Horan and said I wished to see him, so he came to the vestry and asked what you wished of me to " I asked him to give me absolution". He said " I can't till you write that letter". He then called Sister Bernard and asked her to bring some paper. When she was going for it I was going also and he pulled my dress and told me to stop with him till she returned. He asked me what I would do about the letter, I said " What shall I say in it?" He said "Tell Father Hinteroecker you told a lie in confession."  I said " No, not if you were to leave me for centuries without absolution". He said "Well, I'll write it myself and you can just sign your name".

When Sister Bernard came back with the paper he wrote for a while and asked me to sign my name, which I did. He then read it and I looked at him in wild dispair and thought if he was a man or a devil? The only feeling which I think kept me up was the thought of easing my mothers mind. He said "Will you go to confession now?" He said " I'll go to the convent in the evening and hear you there". He came to the convent and I went to confession. I said "Father Horan, why did you tell Father Hinteroecker in the document that  I told a lie?"  He said "The very fact of you telling him that you did not take the Blessed Sacrament was a lie." I said "Father Horan, will you assure me on the word of a Catholic and a priest, that I took it?, and he - at the same time raising his stole - said "As sure as I Have this in my hand you did", and I said "Yes" and spoke of Father Director and the bad traing I got. 

Well, my dear Sister, I could not doubt him and thought he was my friend and knew me better than I knew myself. He said that I was to write to Father Hinteroecker and tell him I signed the document of my own free will. In fact he told me all I wrote in the letter to Father Hinteroecker so that I should send it to him. At first I refused, and he said "You can't get absolution till you do it". I consented to do this as I was affraid to go home, fearing it would drive my father to destruction and break my mothers heart. He also said he would not give for my salvation what he would give for that of Judas if I ever returned to the house in town. He said I was not to go to communion for a month, also of the power the devil had on my mind.

Before the month, though, because of my mother's uneasiness I sent my Sister to aske him if I could go to Holy Communion. He said I was to go up to his house, which I did in her company. I went to confess and he spoke much of visions and revelations, he put his arm around me and I told him what I thought of him when I  was speaking to him in the vestry sometime before, he said he only did his duty and that he would not give absolution until my mind was calmer, that I should get all these things out of my head, that they were delusions. I said to him "Your words and actioons towards me have made me think strangly of you, and only I dont like speaking to you I would tell my superior, he said " It is not that all, it is the way that you have been living all the time which makes you think so." He said " You are better, have some wine" I said "No, no I won't, and when I saw him going to get it I felt quite ill and frighened and said "I cant take it"

I often wished to tell you, my dear Sister, his conduct towards me but there was so much talk about Father Keating here and he often told me he meant no harm and was only treating me as a simple child.

The next time I went confession he gave me absolution and allowed me to go to Holy Communion, though I told him over and over again that I did not take to Blessed Sacramant. I forgot to mention that when I wanted to tell my father and mother I said to him " Father Horan do you want to send my fathers grey hairs in sorrow to the grave and if he dies I'll leave his death on your shoulders. He said to me " I put you under holy obedience never to speak to me again about the Blessed Sacrament." There was time dear Sister that his words and manner towards me seemed to weaken my mind and, no matter how I tried, I had to believe whatever he said to me about myself and it completly threw me of guard.

You know I had no one to tell me anything different to what he did, and you may rest assured I felt the want of your counsel and advise. I assure you, my dear Sister, my parents and sisters at home will tell you that I was something completly insane through the influence his words had on my mind. There are many things which I cant remember now.
Trusting you will pray for me.

I remain

Your ever affectionate child
[signed] Sister Mary Angela

                                                 Priests' Petition to Sheil on his return from Europe  (February 1871)

[ This was a petition presented to Bishop Sheils by a group local priests to get his suport  to take control of or disband Mary Mackillop and the  Sisters of St Josephs. I believe Father Charles Horan is respossible for putting this petition together. This petition was the start of a  negative campaign that would eventually lead to Mary Mackillop's excommunication and the disbsanading of the Josephites later that year. ]

(Brian Condon: Letters and documents in the 19th Century Australian Catholic History)

(Source Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SRC Oceana 1873 vol. 1000, 1378-1382. Retranslated from the Itanian version)
May it please Your Lordship

We the undersigned request your permission to explain to Your Lordship the following allegations.

Since the departure of Your Lordship, we sorrowfully observed, powerless to supply a remedy, the loss caused dirctly to educate and indirectly to religion by the Sisters of St Joesph in this Diocese. We have considered it our imperative duty as persons responsible for the souls commited to our care to bring match this matter officially to your Lordships attension.

Having had an opportunity in our respective districts to judge of the ability of the said Sisters to give a satifactory education to our children , we conscientiously declare that they are in fact unfit for such a purpose and that consquently a great injustice is being done to the children of the Catholic community in denying them a proper education that would put them on par wih colonists of the other dominations.

In many of the far-districts no provision in fact has been made for the education of young boys, and therefore Catholic boys have frequent the schools of other demoninations.

If this state of affairs continues to exist it can only work to discredit and shame the Catholics of this Diocese.

We wish however to clare that, with the exception of their Father Director, the priests of the Diocese are regarded by the Sisters as persons of no standing, as proof of the truth of this declaration we offer as only one example that, on a recent lamentable occasion when the Blessed Sacrament was taken from the tabernacle and the priestson thier oaths without a sole dissentient gave judgment against a particlar Sister as being the unfortunate and foolish one who was guilty of the sacrilege, the same accused Sister was, in disrepect of that judgment, retained in the responsible position of Mistress of Novice.

We wish further to declare that the oppinion of the local priests is never sought or respected in the matter of education; and furthermore that without thier permission (and sometimes against their express orders) collections are made in their districts by Sisters of St Joseph.

It is known that the said Sisters have, on their own initiative and without knowledge of the local priest, established religious confraternites, from which they recieve money which was sent to Adelaide for Mass to be said for the members of their contibuting confraternites. Ignorant young girls are continually joining the Sisters of St Joseph who have neither charactor nor recommendations nor spiritual advise in the matter of their religious vocation from the local priests.

It is our firm conviction, based on the circumstantial evidence above:
that the Sisters or those by whom they are guided are instructing to the foregiving effect those who present themselves as postulants.

That at least 3/4 of the actual members of the community are in fact incapable of teaching:

that the number of candidates admitted in future continues in the present formidable ratio, the Diocese will be quickly inundated with multitude of uneducated and ignorant Sisters who will be an intolerable burden on priest and people while being of no use in the instruction  of the Catholic youth of this colony.

Patrick T. Russell.
Fredrick Byrne.
C.A Reynolds.
Peter Hughs.
Timothy Murphy
C.H Horan OSF.
Bernard Nevin.
James Maher.
Modestus Henderson.
Michael Kennedy.
John J. Roche

                                                         Mary Mackillop to Bishop Sheil (10th September 1871)

This letter written by Mary Mackillop to Bishop Sheil was written just before the excommunication. Mary Mackillop explains in this letter that she would not change the Rules of the order worked out by herself and  Father woods and that she would rather leave the church than change the rules of the Josephites.  Bishop Sheil was out raged by this letter, as it was read out by Father Horan. Shortly after Mary Mackillop was excommunicarted and the Sisters disbanded.
(Brian Condon: Letters and Documents in the 19th Century Australian Catholic Hitory}
[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: 1873 vol. 1000, 1385v - 1386v]
[ Latin version sent to Rome replaced by original English version, to be found in "Life and Letters of Mother Mary of the Cross" [ Mackillop]. by a Sister of St Joseph. Westmead, Sydney, 1916, pp49-51]

My Lord,

Will you kindly permit me to write a few thoughts which it troubles me to keep you from, and yet which I can hardly express when talking to you.

I would speak them, my Lord, and I am sure you would wish me to be unreserved with you, but I seem to lose courage in trying to be unreserved I would displease my Lord.

It is in most docile and humble spirit, my lord that I can venture to say what are and have been for many years the thoughts of my heart. I longed for a religious life, one in which I could serve God and Hs poor neglected litte ones, in poverty and disregard of the world and its  fleeting opinions.

When an opportunity of entering another religious community was offered to me, family circumstances, for one reason prevented my vailing myself of it, but there was another reason as well, known only to my Confessor, namely, that in the Order I could not find what my heart craved. I looked for a poverty more like unto that practiced in the early Religious Orders of the church, a poverty, which in its practice would make a kind of reparation to God for the little confidence now placed in His Divine Providence by so many of His creatures. Circumstances, as well as choice, having for many years compelled me to live as a teacher, I saw so much of the evils attending a merely secular course of education, that all my desires seemed to centre in a wish to devolt myself to poor, in some very poor order.

My Confessor at one time thought I would have to go to France ere I could meet with that what I desired. But after a few years I went to open a school in Penola, under Father Woods, who gradually unfolded to me the idea of endeavouring to do something in the same way for the neglected poor children of South Australia. The way in which he described their wants so completely agreed with all my previous desires, that when he asked me whether (provided he got the Bishops consent to commence an Institution to meet these wants) I would remain and become one of his first children in the flock, I joyfully consented.

From that time I gave myself completely to the work, which almost every day seemed to confirm as the vocation I had no long sought, and under the direction of my good Confessor I found true peace.

On your Lordship's return from Europe in 1868, I was, with another Sister present when in your presence Father Woods went over each chapter and point of our rule previous to its getting your entire approbation. Upon this occasion, my Lord, you made some remarks about the wording of some of the sentences, to which Father Woods attended, and then in the end you kindly approved of the Rule as it is now.

From that time I looked upon it as sacred, and can you blame me, my Lord, if I do so still? I know that you can withdraw your approbation from it, and if our good God so wills it I am resigned. But Oh! pardon me, my Lord, if I say that I cannot in conscience see the rule altered and still remain a Sister. I am your child, my Lord, your humble, helpless child. I wante to please you, but above all to please God, and do his Holy Will. If then in any way it may please Him that you should alter the rule then, my Lord, I feel that I must take the alternative that you have offered, and leave the institute, until it may please God to give me in some other place what soul desires. Though Father Woods was God's instrument in drawing out the rule, I never regarded the work merely human investion. I had done so, I could not be here.

I grieve to think that as a body we have commited many faults, and offen erred in judgment and prudence. I am glad, Oh, so glad! that you my lord, are taking the Convent from us. It was much to comfortable for us poor Sisters, and I never satisfied in it for that reason.

I love and respect our Pastors, but yet I do feel it hard that, as soon as Father Woods is gone, the work for which he had so long and patiently toiled should be replaced is such danger, and he not here to say one word in its defence? He would not thus act to any of those who are now opposed to him.

These are the thoughts  I wish to tell you, my Bishop and Father, and I implore your pardon, my lord, If I have presumed too much, To whom can I tell them, if not to you, who besides being my Bishop. I regard as an exalted father who would wish to help even the lowest of his children.

Humbly craving your Lordship's blessing, I remain,

your obedient child in J.M.J

Mary of the Cross

                                                                                 EPISCOPAL COMMISSION 1872

Shortly before his death, Bishop Sheil instructed Father Hughs on February 23rd 1872 to lift the censure on Mary Mackillop. He met her on his way to Willunga and absolved her at the Morpett Vale Church. After his death an Episcopal Commision completly exonerated Mary Mackillop.

I have found a number documents from the Episcopal Commission, that include evidence from all conserned including Mary Mackillop, Father Woods, Bishop Reynolds,  Josephite nuns  and clergy including Father Horan.  

So here it is, most of the evidence from the commission. There is a lot to read and take in but remember this is evidence by the people directly involved,  in their own words. This is the real story. So make yourself a hot drink, get comfortable and read the trascripted documents from the darkest period in the South Australian Catholic Church.

                      Mary Mackillop to the Episcopal Commissioners, Bishop Murphy & Quinn (June 1872)

[ Brian Condon: Letters and documents in 19th Century Australian Catholic History]
(Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol 1000, 1308-1311v [Original English text?]

My Lord,

I will endeavour as briefy as possible to mention certain things which may throw some light upon matters you wish to know. I believe it to be the wish of your Lordships that I should do so - and my own disire is to obey these wishes and leave the rest to God.

Our late and much loved Bishop was far to kind to the children of the institute for any, much less than myself, to forget his memory now. I think he thought too kindly of us - and then when some who did not understand our struggles and intentions spoke perhaps too harshly of us, be believed what he heard and consequently felt bitterly disappointed in us. He never was anything but kind, extremly kind to us until early September Last.

I had frequently before then wished to have seen more of him, and to have him more thoroughly aquainted with many little things which I thought that as our Bishop he should know. I felt that for our Bishop he knew to little for himself of many of our difficulties both internal as regarded our rule, and external as regarded our schools. Father Director, to whom I mentioned this desire, thought well of it provided I did not try to tell the Bishop of the treatment to which the Sisters were sometimes subjected by some who did not seem friendly to us.

Father Director's motive in this was one of extreme charity, and besides he thought it more pleasing to God that we should suffer any of these little annoyances in silence.

It was  on my return from Queensland that I wished for this, but the opportunity of quietly talking matters over with his LOordship was not afforded me. I returned in the end of April, and was sent immediately with the foundation to Port Augusta. Then as the Convents in the North and on the Peninsula required attention, Father Director thought it better that I should see their first, and afterwards attend to those of the Mother House. Owing to this I was but very little in town.

I believe that much much injury was done to the schools in some places through the frequent changes of the Sisters, and that this was one reason why the Pasters found fault with us. Another  reason was that some were under the impression that the Sisters who taught in their schools were in the habit of sending money to Adelaide to Fr. Woods. Some thought the Sisters disregarded their authority and could not understand why that Fr. Woods was so often referred to In general terms, too fault was found with inefficieny of the Sisters.

My wish was to mention all these things to the Bishop, to tell him how far I thought we had given cause for complaint, and how, as we were then getting more settled  and had gained more experience, we might be better able to remedy any such evils in the future.

First with regard to the frequent changes of the Sisters, we did not like them ourselves. I am sure Father Director did not. but as we were but beginers and many whom we had to send to counrty schools required encouragement and instructions, it became necessary in their care to change such. At other times, their spiritual welfare required it, thier very Confessors even obliging them to write to town asking to be removed. In some cases they had to be removed owing to thier extreme discouragment at things said to them by thier Pasters. In others throught ill-health. In all this I do not for a moment mean to say but that we might often have managed better. 

In any case where I was able to explain our difficulty in this matter to the Pasters, I found them extremely kind and willing to admit that they were satisfied that in the beginning of our work we could not quite have avoided some changes Father William Kennedy of Kadina, to who in particular I had an opportunities of talking over these matters was very kind and has always been so all through, both to the Sisters and to Father Woods . So also  have the Jesuit Fathers, and some more kind Priests. I do not know how many of our Pastors have been under the impression that the Sisters under them were in the habit of sending money to Fr Woods. Some I know were, for they accused the Sisters of it, but the truth is that in some of these were cases, Fr Woods had to give the Sisters money, and the Sisters in town had to provide them with necessary clothing.

In one or two Convents it is true that the Sisters were able to occasionally to send a little help to the Mother House, but this was from what they had over and above what they required for the immediate wants of their own Convents or schools. However, the Pastors of those who did this were not the ones accused the Sisters of sending thier money to town.

According to our rule it was but just that whatever was not actually required for any particlar convent should be given to support of the Novitiate or any other poor convent, as the Chapter might decide.

I therefore thought that if the Bishop really knew the truth he might apply some remedy or at least in some quite way disabuse the minds of those who thought money was coming to town when instead of that the Mother House had to incur debt to meet the wants of many of the Country Sisters.

At the same time I believe that many of these very Sisters through inexperience , bad management and timidlity were themselves to blame for being so badly off - but I also knew that they were  willing to be taught  the way to do better, and I felt  perfectly satisfied that a little kind consideration on the part of the Pastors in such cases together with a candid explanation on our own would make all parties happier.

Where there were some who thought the Sisters disregarded their authority I believed that they only did so from the fact of their not understanding our Rule, and their not taking into consideration that we were but young body, who required a head to guide - and to be our teacher in the Rule which he had given to us.

Sometimes these Pasters thought that I interfered with their authority. On one occasion a priest had expressed himself so bitterly to the Sister that in much trouble she wrote to me about it. With some difficulty I obtained Fr Director's permission to go and see this priest and try to know in what displeased him. He was much displeased at first, and accused me of somethings, one of which I remember was - that I induced a penitent of his to come to the Convent without his premission. I assured him that I had not done anything of the kind - and that I would have thought it very wrong to have done so. When I left him I had every reason to believe that he was satified with this or any other of the things we then spoke of,  but I do not think he has been a friend to the  Institute since. I am sure though that he thought he had good reason for all he ever said to us or of us.

I think that during the time I was in Queensland one of the Sisters who taught under this priest, and who was not very patient, answered him in some occasions more hotly that a religious she should have done, but no matter what provocation might be given, the Sisters were always taught by Fr Woods to submit with patience, and even to try to believe that actually deserved all the hard things from time to time said to them. He therefore never encouraged a Sister in the slightest murmur against her Pastor - and I am happy to say that I heard very few, for usually the Sisters thanked God for what they recieved, believing that their Pastors were actually  doing what they thought most for thier good in the sight of God.

Another matter caused some of the Pastors annoyance was the uniform system we were taught to maintain in our schools. This system  had obtained the Bishop's sanction even before he first  went to Europe, and it was afterwards confirmed by the rule. When therefore some of the Pastors wished to alter certain portions they felt displeased with the Sisters for saying that "such would be against the Rule, or for referring them to Fr Director.

Then to the inefficiency of the Sisters I really cannot remember previous to last September any 'particular' complaint, unless perhaps three. One was against a Sister whom, from having been previouly known to the people as having lived very humbly, the Pastor though they could not respect as a teacher for their children - nor did he think her fitted for the office. This was in the early days - but Fr Woods who had examined her though differently. She was then removed to another school. Another complaint was made in the course of time that she was unfitt for the second school, and as the Bishop was then back, Fr Woods asked him if he would kindly examine the school and the Sisters method of teaching himself, which he did, and told Fr Woods to keep her there, that he was very much pleased with all that he saw and heard. I may add that very Sister is now one of our most useful teachers.

The third complaint was about a remote county school to which the Bishop's own disire I at once went, and found not the slightest cause of complaint, as I was afterwoods able to explain to the good Pastor himself. The truth was that one of the Sisters sent to that school had been known to the priest as his own servant and he therefore could not understand how she was fit for the school. But the school was a small one - not more than 30 children at the most - and consequently this Sister had very little to do in it. She was of course under a little Sister quite competent for the duties of that school.

As far as I can remember these were the only particular charges though many general ones were spoken of against the Sisters inefficiency. Father Woods from position with regard to the schools had full opportunities of knowing the class of teachers they required. There were at first but a few schools in which children could pass the Third Class standard, and this they could only do in Arithmetic and reading. All other subjects, even the very Catechism, were comparatively speaking new to them.

According to our school regulations we had certain subjects for every class, from the first to the Fifth, and to be able to do justice to these, had far as possible to divide the Sisters into First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Class teachers. At the night study in every Convent, the little Sister of the same had to see that the class subjects for the next day were prepared beforehand, as also the object or gallery lessons. She had also particlarly, if she were a Fourth or Fifth Class teacher, to see that she was herself prepared for any difficulties that might come in the way of her own class the next day. If, as in some cases, the little Sister were not the principal teacher in the school herself, it would then be her duty to see that whatever Sister had the change should not neglect its duties. The regular and strict attention to study was not in every Convent so carefully adhered to as it should have been. Various causesd had interfered, or the Sisters themselves had been at fault.

From somethings I heard last September, I believe that fault was found with my visiting Convents, it appearing to some of the priests that I did so for personal gradifacation, or from a love of authority. My simple opinion about this is that in an institution such as ours with its subjects in so many ways exposed to dangers form which other religious are exempted, it becomes  the bounden duty of someone from time to time to see and encourage them, and to endeavour to keep uniformity both in the schools and the Sister' minds. It was proposed for this Province that the Sister Guardian or Provincial should visit each Convent and school twice a year and thus, with the help of the Pastor in each case, be able ascetain whether for the Sisters' own good or for that of the schools, any change would be deemed necessary.

Again, with regard to the internal matters affecting our Rule of which I wished to speak to the Bishop. I have them now. as then, pencilled out in the Rule book and - should your Lordships at any time wish it - can show them to you.

Supplementary Information from Mary Mackillop

[Source Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, ff 1387 - 1394 (Original in Latin: a continuation of folio 1383, in the same hand and on the same type of paper BC) Adelaide Archdiocesan Archives note: " This section more or less the same as SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, ff 1387 - 1395, sent to Rome by Reynolds in English..{MF}]


At the beginning of September 1871, while I was in the Convent of St Joseph at Kadina, I was informed by the letters from Adelaide that the Reverend Bishop no longer held that Convent in good regard, nor the Sisters generally.

I returned without delay, and on the 7th of September went with Sister Teresa to the Bishop. He said that he had sent a letter to me in Kadina in which I was directed  to bring Sister Ursula from Kadina, since Fr. Kennedy had complained to the Bishop that Sister seemed unfit for the Institute. Since on the pevious day I had returned from Kadina, where I had Fr. Kennedy praising this same Sisters, I suspected that some mistakes had been made. I made this known to the Bishop. But he would not listen. He said that Fr. Kennedy had complained through Fr. Corcoran, and that I was to return immediately to Kadina  and remove Sister Ursula.

Then he complained about a number of  Sisters in the Mother house: how useless they were; what could he think of the frequent singing in schools?; that many other things were to be changed; there were to many ingnornant Sisters, so that this was a cause of shame to him, as had happened when visited his friends in Victoria. He thought all should be examined and those incompetent to teach to be dismissed, so that they could save their souls in the world and earn a proper livlihood. He added that higher subjects should be taught, particulary music; he himself knew that many Sisters could teach this, so it could be done. He did not wish to have so many Sisters in the City itself: 4 for one and 2 for another school would suffice. 

I enquired what would become of the schools for the poor: "These will have Dominican Religious". And what of the Convent? "They will have also have that. A small house sufficinent for you". He wished that we should procure something of this kind for ourselves. Since he permitted only a certain number of Sisters to live in the Motherhouse, where they were asked him what was to be done with the sick (we were acustomed to send them to the Motherhouse, where they were cared for by Dr Gunson in his charity). The Bishop replied: "Each Convent can care for their own sick". He would send this instruction to the priests who supervised the schools: The Sisters were to make thier annual reteat in thier own house; all the houses were to be separate, having nothing to do with the house in Adelaide, he himself would care for the latter, nor would there be a Superior there. I said that I hoped it was not his intention to dismiss any professed Sisters, ill - educated or no. He made no reply to this question but seemed disturbed in mind, complaining of certain Sisters who, a few days before, had written a letter giving her opinion conserning the prayers of children, a matter which His Lordship and the Sisters had discussed together. 

It seemed to me that nothing further could be attempted that day but a more favourable time be waited for and my mind be made clear, lest he get the impression that I aggreed with these changes in the Rule. He had also stated that the Sisters who did not excpet the changes in the Rule would be dismissed to returned to the world, their vows having been dispensed by him. The examination of the Sisters he wished to be made before the end of the present year. 

I returned to Kadina by steamer but Sister Ursula had already left by another route. Fr Kennedy was very annoyed that mention of him had been made in this affair, and that he was so far from sending any complaints about that Sister that, having recieved letters from the Bishop in which Sister Ursula was ordered to go immediately to the City, he had at once written to the Bishop in terms which fully vindicated that Sister. He gave me these letters. This being the state of affairs, I returned to Adelaide on the same day and arrived, and on the following day (10th September) I gave the letters to the Bishop. 

On the evening of the day on which I went to Kadina His Lordship directed that no Sister should go to the schools on the following day, since they were to be examined. On September 8th Father Horan and Murphy went to the Convent a second time, firstly that they might examine the Sisters, secondly that an inventory might be made of the things the Sisters had brough to the Convent. 

The Sisters who had taken the place of others in teaching were not examined at all. Those who were called were called were from the Orphanage and the Providence, also  a few of the juniors  who taught under the direction of the Seniors, the Sisters engaged in domestic duties, and the sick who had the strength to leave the dormitory. The priests went themselves to the dormitory, refusing to take the Superior's word that those who remained were too ill to leave it. 

When the priests returned a second time their manner of questioning very seriously afflicted all the Sisters, to the point where the Superior was unable to bear it and objected to their way of acting as one which a well - disposed layman, not to mention a priest, would not have used and accused them of taking advantage of both the condition of the Sisters who were unable to help themselves, and the absence of the General Superior. 

Overcome by anger, she added that while some of the forebears of the Sisters had shed thier blood for the faith, so also the Sisters were ready to defend thier Rule unto death. She quickly regained her composure, however, and asked pardon on her knees if she had offended them, they said they were not offended. The same priests, in my absence made various arrangments concerning the Sisters, giving them duties for which they were in no way fitted. For Kapunda Fr Horan chose whom he willed, among them being one who belonged to the Convent near the city and another who for her own good should not have been sent to Kapunda. 

About an hour after I had sent my letter to his Lordship (10th September), he and Fr Nowlan came to the Convent. They asserted that my letter showed a lack of religious submission, adding that they had not expected this of me, the Bishop had made the Rule and could change it, nor did he think I could deny him this right. Greatly afflicted and upset by this, I said I did not deny any of this and grieved me to be the cause of his distress. I wished nothing more from these letters than to indicate that I was making it clear that, leaving aside the changed Rule, I would wait for the time when I would be able to keep the original one. The Bishop reproached me for having complained in the letters about the priests, and I asked his forgiveness. I added, however, that it was hard for me to bear that he should complain of my openness without taking in to account my obligation not to coneal anything from His Lordship.

From that time until the day before the inquiry I neither saw the Bishop nor heard from him. On the day before the inquiry he told me to go to Bagot's Gap. Since I had heard so much about changing the Rule but nothing certain, and  since at the same time news came from Bathurst from Fr Woods asking that I send Sisters there, I very much wanted to see the Bishop concerning these matters so that I might have clear idea of his thinking. But before I could see him I was told that, while I was at the school, the Bishop had come to the Convent and had ordered me to go to Bagot's Gap. He dismissed Sister Ursula for recalcitrance. Then he went to the Orphanage, where he proposedthe new Rule to some of the Sisters there. One of the Sisters, having said she preferred to live under the old Rule, was dismissed from the Convent etc. Since  I did not have the necessary money I was unable to start my journey. Therefore I stayed with the Sisters, I felt I could  not leave them without help, and I thought I should at least see the Bishop before I left. I went to my director, who advised me to see the Bishop. 

Returning home I heard that Fr Horan was there questioning some of the Sisters. He said that the change of the Rule was of no account, and that he wished to be a true father and friend. I was not able to reconcile this with that I had recently heard elsewhere. 

When Fr Horan had finished his inquiry I spoke with him. Fr Horan said I was not to go Bagot's Cap but to St John's early the following morning. When I said that I greatly disired to speak to the Bishop he said he did not think the Bishop wished to see me, but that he was prepared to tell anything I wished to say to him. Since there were so  many rumours about the Rule, I said I wished to hear from the Bishop's mouth  what the changes might be. Fr Horan replied. There will be choir Sisters and lay. Sisters; each Convent will be subject to the local priest, there will be subject to the local priests, there will be no bound between the houses, nor with the house in the city; no appeal can be made to anyone except the Bishop. Since this was so opposed to our Rule, I said I could not conscience remain in the institute. Then he brought up my letter to the Bishop and condemed it vehemently. There was  much talk between us, which it would take too long to recount. 

However, I remember that I said, "Why not call a Chapter of the Sisters to which this matter could be proposed?" He said the Bishop was the Chapter and the wishes of the Bishop should be sufficent. I asked him whether the matter could be postponed until Fr Woods, the founder of the Institute, should return Fr Horan replied with indignation that his Lordship would hear neither Fr Woods nor others. 

Among other things, he added that the Sisters considered Fr Woods as the Bishop, but that Fr Woods was not the Bishop. I dared to observe in the wake of this that there was  no necessity foe Fr Woods to be the Director, but that changing  the Rule was a matter of cardinal importance. Finally Fr Horan asked me, " As I understand it, you are not going to St John's tomorrow?." "Father", I said "how can I, under that rule?" I spoke with deliberation because I feared to refuse, nor was I willing to give the Sisters any reason to think that I exepted the new Rule. At this point Fr Horan left, saying that the Bishop would see me on the following morning.

When Fr Horan had left I called together all the professed Sisters to inform them that Fr Horan  had told Sister Teresa, namely that Sister Mary Angela had admitted that she had taken the Blessed Sacrament. I was well aware that this information greatly afflicted them. I wished to make it known then, lest perhaps they should hear it the following day when they were unprepared for it; I lifted their spirits lest they be cast down because we had been deceived by one of the Sisters.

The Sisters asked me what they should do about the new Rule. My constant reply was always: Each one should do what would most please God; they should not try and please Man, but rather choose what they would do  at the moment of death, nor where they to follow my example. I left them in the hands of God with the fullest confidence, since I am persuaded that if they seek the will of God alone in the matter. He will not permit them to take the wrong path. To one in particular who urged me with - as I feared - a wrong intention I said, "Read the formula of your profession and then decide".
[ff 1389+] On the 21st of September his Lordship with Father Horan and Murphy came to the Convent and announced that all Sisters, including those of the Orphanage and the Providence, were to come next day to the Convent, where he would see them at 10 a.m. Sister Theresa said the school near the Cathedral *was more suitable*. She was told that Sister Mary was no longer in authority, and that she should procure a house as soon as possible. The Sister replied that it was already arranged. At midday the Bishop and Fr Horan came up to the school near the Cathedral and the Bishop said to the Sisters. "You will have a new Rule: The Sisters are to be lay or choir [teacher]. Those who are Postulants are to return home and educate themselves for a year. If any Sister wearing the habit and not suitable for teaching should refuse to except the new Rule, she is to return home. The local priests will be the superiors of the Convent. They will be the only ones to have that title, and there will be no Superior Genreal and no head except the Bishop.

Sister Monica said she wished to adhere to the old Rule approved by him. The Bishop said that he had written it  and he could also change it, that he knew what would benfit the Sisters, nor had a Sisters vowed obedience to Fr Woods. "We have not wowed to him,"  said the Sister, "but I prefer not to be under the changed Rule." The Bishop, " You are free to leave the Institute if the change is not acceptable." He went on to speak of the school of the poor, which he had visited a few days previously, and [where] he had found four Sisters engaged in teaching and about a dozen walking deign to give to the Sisters clearly, and in writting the changes to be made. " I will not do that, "He said, "nor will I indulge feminine whim." He then complained that the Sisters taught devotions which pupils did not understand, he said he intended to put a stop to these.

From there he went to the Convent to see Sister Mary. Since she was absent, he left directions that she should go to Bagot's Cap.

That same evening Fr Horan came to the Convent to question several Sisters. Again there was talk of the new Rule, a matter which he did not think to be of great importance: the sisters unable to teach would serve the teachers, none who already wore the habit were to be dismissed. Sister Mary should go to Bagot's Gap the following day. He replied that the Bishop wished to send her to St John's. Sister Mary then came and spoke with Fr Horan, as reported above.

Fr Horan returned to the Convent between 10 and 11 o'clock that same evening announcing that Sister Mary had been excommunicated by the Bishop for rebellion. Fr Horan did not see Sister Mary. Not feeling well, she had gone to bed before the other Sisters, but they were all by then in the dormitory, except for one or two detained by thier duties. Fr Horan gave  Sister Teresa the instructions he had received. she passed them on to Sister Mary, who replied that there was no help for it, that she  could not have acted in any other way. Sister Teresa related this to Fr Horan, adding that all the Sisters still in the Convent were of one mind, and that this conviction had not come to the instigation of Sister Mary; he was reminded about another occasion when Sister Teresa and another Sister talking with him about the new Rule and had expressed the same convictions.

Just after 8 o'clock on the following day, His Lordship and Father Horan, Poach, Murphy and Cleary came to the Convent and asked why the Sisters had not been at Mass in the morning: Sister Teresa, "The Sisters thought Sister Mary had been excommunicated". The Bishop, "You have misunderstood this, like everything eles. The devil dwells among you. I will dismiss all of you." Sister Teresa asked pardon on her knees for any misunderstanding. Fr Horan declared he had not said that Sister Mary "had been" excommunicated, but that "she would be" unless she obeyed the Bishop.

The Bishop wished to see Sister Mary without delay. Since Sister Mary was not well, they were to wait for the Bishop in the Community room while Sister Mary got up and the Sisters from the Providenceand the Orphange came.

When Sister Mary came she asked on her knees for the Bishop's blessing, but he refued it. They went to the Orantory. Here, having taken the mitre and seated himself, the Bishop told Sister Mary to kneel before him. He said that, on account of her disobedience and rebellion, he had to pronouce against her the terrible sentence of excommunication. On hearing this, Sister Teresa came and knelt beside Sister Mary. When the Bishop saw this he said, "What is this? Go away." She got up and returned to her place in the choir. Then the sentence of excommunication was pronouced. The Bishop said, " Mary Mackillop, you are free to return to the world, whose evils, I fear, you are largely responsible for introducing into the institute". and much more of the same.

As Sister Mary left the Oratory the feeling of the Sisters, restrained up to this, burst out. The Bishop had said that when Sister was excommunicated, the others would be excommunicated. But some of the Sisters at least did not seem to care about his being present, nor even about the Blessed Sacrament. Overcome by sorrow, they embrassed Sister Mary and called out her name. Sister Mary prayed and commanded that there be more quite and that they should remember in whose presence they were.

Two Sisters in particlar seemed to be totally distraught. But gradually order was restored, and the Bishop said Fr Horan was to call by name thoses who were to be lay women. Four werre called, who all refued the new Rule and to whom the Bishop said they were free. Then many asked for a dispensation since they could not follow the new Rule. These the Bishop ordered to remain as long as it should please him, he would teach them obedience, which they had never learnt, and whoever of them should leave the Institute without premission wouldbe  immediately excommunicated.

The Blessed Sacrament was taken away. The alter furniture had been taken the day before to another house, in which four Sisters lived. An Inventory was taken. The Bishop himself cleaned out the whole house. The alter furnishings, which had been moved to the new house, were to be handed over to him; this was done. On September 22nd the Sisters handed over the Convent.

On the 3rd October, the Bishop said to Sister Teresa that it was his duty to remove her from the Institute because she had acted with such contempt of him on the day of the excommunication, but that her vows remained until she puts of the habit.

On October the 13th, the Bishop made Sister Monica the Superioress. When she asked the Bishop what was to be changed in the Rule, since she could not live under a new Rule, he replied, "There is no change to the Rule, he replied." Sister Monica: "But. Your Lordship, we do not have a Superior General or a Mother House, and almost all the rest has been changed." "All this is no great importance", and the Bishop said, " each Convent is subject to the local priest; he is the Superior of the Sisters." Sister Monica: "In this way, with the passage of time the whole Rule will be changed, since every Bishop could do likewise." "That is so", said the Bishop " and in all orders, as mine, it is done in the way." But he repeatedly  said that nothing was changed, and that since the Institute was noth confirmed by Rome the Sisters were subject only to him, and he could make changes. Sister Monica: "I know that your Lordship can do as you please." "Not what pleases me as a person". said the Bishop, But what I as Bishop consider necesary." He also said that he had dismissed Sister Teresa from the Institute becuase she had knelt at the side of Sister Mary on the day of the excommunication, thus showing contempt for him. Sister Monica: "She did not do this out of contempt for Your Lordship", The Bishop: Sister Teresa also wrote a letter in which she was contemptuous of me."

Other Information Relevant to a Fuller Understanding  of These Matters:

[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol.1000, 1391v-93. Original in Latin. ( Adelaide Archdiocesan Archives note: 'N.B. English text has more detail e.g. the Rule')]

The Bishop concerned himself greatly with us. Before September 1871, If anyone who did not understand our purpose and the difficulties confronting as spoke against us, the Bishop would listen to him but judge him to be deceived. I often wished to inform the Bishop more fully about a number of things small enought in themselves, but which I thought he should know. He did not know much about us, about the Rule, about the schools and their difficulties. I communicated the desire to the Father Director who agreed, so long as I made no mention of the  injustice which were being inflicted on us by those who showed little inclination to support us. He urged, out of his exceeding charity, that silent acceptance would be more pleasing to God.

Various matters kept me either in the other colonies or in places far from the city, so that I was very little in the city. Nor did I find the time, in my sloth, to transact  business with His Lordship as matter demanded.

I think it was the detriment of our schools that the Sisters were transferred too frequently from one place to another, a matter which had become a source of complaint for the priests. Some priests also though that the Sisters were sending money to Fr. Woods, others that the Sisters despised their authority because they so frequently mentioned Fr. Woods, hence they complained that the Sisters were not fit for their. I wished to make these matters known to the Bishop and to discover the cause and the underlying truth, and thus give greater hope for the future.

Certainly the Sisters were frequently tranferred from one place to another. This was to disturbing to the Father Director and to me. It must be taken into account that those sent to the schools were sometimes unsuitable, also, for the good of thier souls some had to be recalled at the request of their confessors, which sometimes happens following  particular  directions by priests; others were recalled  for health reasons. I do not doubt that human weakness and the lack of wisdom prevented much from being better done.

Whenever I had an opportunity to explain to the priests the reasons for frequent transfers they were satified., since they readily understood that they could not avoid this, especially at the outset. Fr William Kennedy at Kadina, the Father of the Society of Jesus and the other Priests always supported the Sisters and Father Woods.

I knew that some priests thought that the Sisters in the more remote places sent money to Father Woods. The truth is, more often, that money is sent to these Sisters, and the Sisters in the city provide them with money for clothing. One or two convents sent small amounts to the Mother House from thier surplus. But this this should have been so cause for complaint: Sisters acted according to the Rule, which  is that what is superfiuous  in one Convent should be given to the Novitiate or to another needy Convent, as the Chapter may decide. Had this been always clearly understood everywhere, all parties would have been more content.

The complaint that the Sisters belittled the authority of the priests in favor of Fr Woods has its origin in a lack of knowledge of our Rule. Because the Institute of the Sisters is in its infancy, its is altogether necessary that the one head direct it, and it is he who composed the Rule who can best explain it.

I am often accused of belittling the authority of the priests. In one particlar matter, by permission obtained from the Director, I saw one priest who was displaced by many things I had done and who had asserted, among other things, that I had said, without consulting him, that he would come to the convent. But I had never done so. I had made my excuses and that he was satified that the complaint was groundless. I have come to the conclusion that our Institute did not have support from that day on.

Something else happened while I was away in another colony [Queensland]: a Sister who suffered from certain failings offended him with what she said. Fr Woods is not to be blamed; he always admonished  the Sisters with patience, so that they accepted that they were in need of corrections. It pleases me to be able to say that few indeed the complained, and that everything had been borne in patience.

Another source of complaint from some priests was the uniformity of teaching which prevailsin all our schools. But the method of teaching was appoved by the Bishop, and when the Sisters tell a priest that the changes be wants are against  the Rule., or say they will let Fr Woods know about the matter, he takes offence. Up to September 1871 there was hardly was a complaint that the Sisters were unfit for their work. One priest complained that a Sister was sent  who was well known in the district and of a humbl station in life; it was therefore feared that she would not be well recieved in the school, and that she would not teach well. Although Fr Woods thought otherwise, he removed her. Another complaint was made, however, that this Sister was not suitable to teach a second class. At the request of Fr Woods the Bishop himself examined her, approved her, and wished her to remain in her post. I may add that she is now one of the most accomplished of our teaching Sisters.

Another priest also complained that a Sister was sent to the school who had formerly been his housemaid and who, as far  as he knew, was not qualified to teach; hence the first Sister bore little responsibility. The complaints against these two SIsters were the only specific ones; about the other Sisters there were complaints only in general terms.

When we began to conduct schools, Fr Woods used to examine each grade. There were a few schools in which the Third Class was well conducted, especially in Catechism. That we might be equal to demands of teaching , the teaching Sisters were divided into five classes. Each evening the lessons of the following day prepared. This rule was not always observed everywhere with the necessary care because of various hindrances, including a lack of Sisters.

My visiting the Sisters in distant places was ascribed to me as a fault, some priests asserting that I acted from a love of my authority, or from self-love etc. I was persuaded, however, that sice it is the form of Intitute and sice dangers threaten our Sisters from which the members of other Congregations are free, that there should be someone who sees the Sisters from time to time , gives encouragment, and sees to it that uniformity is preserved in the schools and in the lives of the Sisters. Therefore the Provincial has the dutyof visiting each of the schools in the Provincetwice a year so that, helped by the priest, she may see whether in the preceding six months of the year the Sisters have given satifaction, and whether some should be transferred, for thier own good or the good of the school.

Since the Bishop ordered me to leave the Convent immediately I did so, especially since I could see that the Sisters did not understand the Bishop's order that they should not talk with me. The wild behavior of two or three Sisters afflicted me me greatly - but I at length from them a promise to be quiet. I then left the Convent - but wearing the habit, as I had no other clothing.

I went to the house of Dr Woods, not far away; his daughter [Sister Mechtilde], whom the Bishop had dismissed from vows in the morning, accompanied me. It was my wish to remain in this house only until I had prepared what I needed, and because I was weak and sick I could not travel far.

What had been done was already known in this house: a Sister of Providence' had brought them the news , one who was not present when I warned the Sisters not to divulge this matter. I do not excuse the Sisters through whom the matter was opened up; I would wish to add, however, that it was all the more serious because the younger one's were present. It caused me the greatest distress to here a Sister, a convert to the Catholic Faith speaking about the Church's tytannical way of acting. The same Sister had suffered much after her family account of religion and the day before the excommunication had been dismissed from the Convent, no cause having been given except that the Bishop said she did not have a vocation. She left in distress, asking the Bishop whether he would be responsible for her soul if he sent her back to her Protestant relations. This was Sister Ursula, who has been mentioned above. [ The italicised material does not appear in the second version, which follows. They are otherwise virtually identical]

Dr Wood asked me many times to stay in the house. I agreed, on the condition, however, that he promise in explict words that he would not expose the matter in the public press, and that as far as possible he would prevent others from publishing it. He promised, and his wife added that she would that care that I was unknown and hidden. I wished this to be so arranged to avoid scandal, since I was in a Catholic House. I did not wish to see any other Sister, only to obey the Bishop's command.

I remained in the house for a month, when the matter became known through the newspaper. I complained that Dr Woods had broken his promise, and I was pleased when he denied having done so. However, I did not wish to stay any longer in that house, and I hid in the house of a certain Protestant, closely enquired after by newspapers. I would have fled from the place entirely, except some people deterred me by warning that I risked losing my soul. I wished to go to the Bishop to ask for absolution from my sentence, but I was afraid. It was not the Bishop I feared, only some of his companions, and was afraid that I would be induced to say something from which some reason could be drawn for asserting that my sentence was deserved. I acknowledged that these grave matters, certainly I think them to be so. I am heartily sorry if they are injurious to anyone.

Since the Sisters were in the city were dispensed from thier vows, I saw them, but did it secretly. Finding that only a number could live by thier work, it was my wish to exhort them to live in the way rather than return to their relatives, but I did not wish to live with them, nor to visit them, nor to visit them more frequently than necessity demand.

A Jewish person who formerly been a  benefactor to us offered us a house in which the Sisters could live without rent. It was there that I recieved three Prostulants who had come from Sydney and who strongly desired to join us. On the same day I instructed the Sisters about certain difficulties put on me about the allocation of time amongst work, study and prayer.

I was accused of holding Chapters; I only held this one. The Sisters are accused of speaking ill of the Bishop and the priests; but as far as I know, with the exception of two or three, all sought forgiveness for what they had done. Those who spoke in this way are of the excitable disposition, but they now regret that they did not exercise more patience.

Some parents whose children were in the schools of the Sisters were asking that the schools should be opened, which the Sisters said they were unable to do without acting against His Lordship's will. During this period some of them worked as governesses, others supported themselves as housemaids and all, as much as could, helped to pay the debts; help was given particularly to younger Sisters, least they be exposed to the dangers of the world. The refuge' laboured under great difficulty since the unual assistance was not at hand, nor was any gainful employment found. "The Refuge' laboured Providence' stayed in the care of Sisters until the parents decided what they wished done with the children."The Solitude' was worse off than the rest, and I think it was the fault of the Sister in charge. She did not wish to take up the new Rule and cared little for the old one. In the end she left the Institute.

                                                                 Evidence of Father Charles Horan,  4 June 1872

[ Source Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome SOCG `873 vol. 1000, 1397 +v Original in Latin]

I have been in the dioceses for three years, My Mission Station  is Kapunda, about 49 miles from the city.

I was not chosen as Director either of schools or of the Sisters. I examined the Sisters at the direction of the Bishop. There were complaints against the Sisters. One escpecially was made to the Bishop by the priests, and another after his return to Europe. A public document was handed to him, of which this is a copy.

"Those whose names are attached seek it as a favour from Your Lordship that we may be permitted to put forward what follows. From the time Your Lordship left for Europe, with sorrow, and powerless to supply a remedy, we have observed the damage which first of all education, and through this Religion itself , suffers in this dioceses through the Sisters of St Joseph. We consider it is for us to make  Your Lordship aware of this by reason of our duty to the souls commited to us.  It fell to us to judge whether those Sisters were suited to educate the children  in satisfactory way, and we declare religiously that they are altogether unsuitable for this. Hence a great injury is done to the children of Catholics, since they are deprived of an education by which they would become the equal of other citizens of the colony. In more remote places no means of education are supplied for the children , and hence they have to go to the state schools. The necessary efect of this  inprefect method of education is that the greater part of the Cathiolic youth, if not the whole diocese of Your Lordship, have become ingnorant compared to the young people of other schools. This state of affairs, if suffered for long will destroy the good name and honour of the Catholic dioceses. At least three quarters of the Sisters as they are now are altogether useless for education, and if the same conditions prevail as up to now, and postulants are admitted in such great numbers, the dioceses will shortly be overrun  with Sisters who have neither education nor knowledge of religion, all of whom will be an intolerable burden on priests and faithful and completly useless for the work of enlightening the youth of the Colony.

Venerable Archdeacon Russell            Rev. C. Horan      
Very Rev. C.A Reynolds                          Rev. J. Hahar
Very Rev. F. Byrne                                    Rev. JJ Roche
Rev. P. Hughs                                               Rev. Micheal Kennedy
Rev. T. Murphy                                           Rev. B. Nevin'

[Insertion in pencil]:

Father Horan read and submitted the document, which stated 'was the original from which was transcribed the one shown to Dr Sheil and apparently sent to Rome. That document was read by the Bishop or to him [directe vel indirecte] before his death, and he promised that he would consider the matter. In fact, he did nothing about it for six or seven months. At the end of the period , at his wish I then examined the Sisters, about 50 of them in all'.

Q: Were there other complaints?
There were concerning the visions and revelations, but all will be contained in the domument. I do not know whether there was another domument, perhaps the complaints of individual priests. I myself have a document from such a Sister who removed the Blessed Sacrament, in which she says she went out at night and was outside the house for 4 hours. I knew this case: the name of the Sister is Angela, formerly Catherine Carroll. The case was referred to the Bishop, who had gone to Europe. This same Sister had previously been accused of taking the Blessed Sacrament, and a document was sent to Rome in which the following priests testified that they thought that Sister had taken the Blessed Sacrament: Rev. J N Hinteroecker SJ, Rev. J. Tappeiner, Rev. P. Hughes, Rev. P. Bongaerts, Rev. C.A Reynolds, Rev. FZ. Byrne, Rev. C. Horan, Dean Daniel Fitzgibbon and Venerable Archdeacon P.T Russell. 

The Bishop did nothing in this matter after his return from Rome. I know of no other complaints, except on conserning a Sister in Kapunda who pretended to have visions. She later became insane. 

I was present at the communication of Sister Mary and this is my account of what happened. When the Bishop recieved from Rome the document stating that Rome was not a little disturbed at what the Sisters of St Joseph had done, I understand the Bishop said: " Whatever else may be the case, I now believe  that it was one of the Sisters who took the Blessed Sacrament; I have to do something immediately, and certain chnages are to be made in the Institute".

He directed me to examine the Sisters and to let him know how many were suitable for teaching, and how many could be made suitable throught study: I examined up to 50 Sisters in the city and in other places. I  had not brought this work to an end when the Bishop told me that he had heard that the Sisters' Convent had debts of up to 1500 pounds despite Fr Woods's having written to him in Rome saying that not more than 800 pounds owing, and that not more that 700 pounds was already in hand. The Bishop added that he thought that the Sisters would never be able to repay this, and it would be necessary to hand over the Convent to the Religious of St. Dominic together with the burden of debt.

He put this protocol to Sister Mary, who freely agreed. At the same time he made known certain changes he would make in their Institute. The Sisters would be divided into those teaching and those serving. The teachers would attend to schools only, the servers would preform the domestic duties. Against this they advanced difficulties. His Lordship thought that Sistar Mary was the cause of the other Sisters' rebelling against authority of the Bishop, and sent me to tell her that she should go to Bagot's Gap, about 43 miles from the city. This was on the day before the excommunication, Sister Mary asked me whether her gong meant that she would be under the new Rule. I replied that I had nothing in my instructions regarding the Rule, there was only one thing: that she was to go. She said she was not going. I gave her reply to the Bishop. He instructed me to return that same evening and warned her that she  would be excommunicated on the following morning unless she obeyed. In spite of these threats she would not go. She said, or sent the word by Sister Teresa, that she was not going. Going back to the House, I told the Bishop this.

On the morning of the following day the Bishop called 4 or 5 City priests to accompany him to the Convent; Father Horan, Roche, Cleary and Murphy.

The Bishop called together the whole Community and commanded Sister Mary to kneel. Up to 20 Sisters were there. He accused he of committing a great fault in trying to get the Sisters to rebel against the authority of the Bishop. On account of this he had to inflict on her the heaviest censure of the Church, Sister Mary did not reply.

The Bishop then sent all into the Oratory, and read  the sentence of excommunication. When Sister Teresa knelt besides Sister Mary, wishing to share in the excomunication, the Bishop removed her. Then he attempted to speak to the Sisters. They left the Church and did not wish to hear him. Many asked for dispensation, which 5 or 6 or even more obtained. His Lordship told the Postulants that if they wished to  study and improve thier minds they could remain in the Institute. I do not know whether a document was written concerning the changes he wished to make the Institute, one which was to be sent to the Sisters, nor do I know whether the Sisters asked for a document of this kind. I do not know whether that had a Superior from that time until the present. It was the Intention of the Bishop that as they asked for dispensations they would gradually leave, since he would judge them to be useless for the schools. I do not think any school  was closed because the Sisters left.

The Providence was closed. The Bishop thought the Institution useless, since the State would supply enought of what would be expected from an Intitution of this kind. I do not know if the other Institution was closed.

                                           Evidence of Fr. C.A Reynolds, Administrator of the Dioceses,  7 June 1872

[Source Archives Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, fols 1401 - 1403 Original in Latin]

It was a great joy for everyone that the Sisters of St. Joseph were set up in Adelaide, so that what had been so long desired would be brought about them i.e. the education and instruction of the poor Catholic youth. Certainly in more favoured regions education had been available for some time to those who were able to pay, but this was not the case with the poor, either in the city or elsewhere.

The Sisters brought a remedy for this great evil. They were waited for in many places, in my opinion the founder Fr. Woods had to great a disire to satisfy all who asked, the which Dr. Shiel strongly urged on him. It was this that brought about the admission of so many to the Order, a decision which created much dissension.

While the Bishop was in Rome many Sisters were admitted who did not have the level of education necessary if they were to satify the purpose of the Institute. Because of the reasons already given, some of the latest admitted were sent to the country areas and the more skilled were reserved for the city and more populous places. This caused great murmurings even among the priests, both because their advice was not sought and because their schools suffered.

When the Bishop returned from the Vatican Council, I - who was one of the four priests eo whom he commited the government of the diocese in his absence - put my name to the document in which we asked His Lordship to investigate the matter of education, and other matters concerning the Sisters of St. Joseph, but the thought of dissoving them was never even crossed my mind. I declare that neither then nor with the passing of time did the majority of the priests who signed that document wish anything more of His Lordship but that he deign to inquire into those dissensions I have mentioned above, and that he decide what authority country priests should have in the management of the schools in thier district.

The document was composed for this purpose, and I had no suspicion of the construction which would be put upon it on the part of Fr. Horan, who organised the matter. Afterwards I learnt to my extreme sorrow that Fr. Horan's motive in this matter was vengeance and conspiracy against Fr. Woods, to destry him through the Sisters. He himself admitted this more than once. The matter was made known by Fr. Woods in some way to Fr. Keating, Horan's Brother in religion, and from that  could, repaired the injury done to Sister Mary by her excommunication; he restored her to her former position, and left instructions for me that dying Bishop and at the same time that we might be able to have schools I needed in five places distant from the City. I restored Sr. Mary to her former state and restored the habit to those many Sisters who were worthy and who ardently asked for this.

I must add that certain of those priests who were instrumental in engineering those harsh actions agaist the Sisters in September of last year were asked by Bishop to at least tolerate the Sisters in the districts. I myself satified the request of one of thesem Fr. Henderson OSFC, which ws also the wish of the people. I sent back to Port Augusta the SIsters who had formerly been dismissed from there. Fr. Horan also dismissed them from his district, were they had houses in at least three places: Kapunda, St. John's and Greennock. Since thier restoration, Sister Mary and other Sisters have given me every satifaction.

Because of the way in which Fr. Horan conducted himself after the death of the Bishop, and particularly because of his so-called funeral oration concerning the Bishop, giving full consideration to these matters and also with the advise of my Counsellors, I have been led to withdraw diocesan faculites from Fr. Horan. He not only did not obey, but he tried to stir up disobedience among the junior priests whom he had drawn to his side, and induced them into actions injurious to the good name of the priesthood and the good of religion. That unfortunate and aggresive sermon give on Palm Sunday 1872 in the Catholic Church was the primary cause of the later disturbanceand division. Hence the most vile calumnieswere issued in the public press against the Sisters of St. Joseph and myself (the Administrator of the Diocese), leaving us with the unpleasant necessity of vindicating our good name by recource to law.

The faction of Fr. Horan has been less troublesome now that those priests are separated and sent to distant parts of the diocese. Fr. Horan OSA was in charge of the Mission of St. Laurance's North Adelaide. He promoted difficuties as such as he could, privately calling the laity together and fostering national prejudices also persuading people to meet togethe, disclaiming from the alter every Sunday, prasing from the alter and in the meetings what Fr. Horan had done. He hastened the devotions at St. Laurence's on the evening of Palm Sunday so as to bring everybody with him to Fr. Horan's sermon in the Cathedral; he also announced it twice in his Church, and sent word to those who were absent to make thier attendence more sure, thereby stirring up factions through continuous effort, in this, unfortunately, he successed only to well. All this ensured that theere was nothing left for me to do but to act as I have done.

I think I should also say that Fr. Horan began only then those machinations and consultations which he spoke about. Indeed, when he entered the Diocese, peace departed. He disturbed the unity among the junior priests by his indiscreet talk, machinations and plotting. Given to disturbing and plotting with his equals, he stirred up many difficulties for Fr. Smyth, the late V.G, and I have often heard  the Bishop say that he did not know what should be done with so  troublesome a priest. His life was never a consolation to the Bishop. In his first Mission in Port Adelaide he was the cause of many scandals  in seeking money for sacred functions. On Saturday evenings there was usually a market at which he presided, wearing the habit of his order, behaving in away that was not fitting for a priest man, let alone a priest.

                                                 The Evidence of Father Juliane E. Tenison Woods,  28 June 1872

[Source Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, 1422 - 1424. Original in Latin]

I, Julian E.T Woods, Priest and Missioner of the Dioceses of Adelaide from January 1857, depose the following  evidence given in due obedience to the Bishop's Commision established by the Apostolic See to enquire  into difficulties in the affairs of this Diocese.

1. In 1866 I founded the Institute for the Catholic education of poor children, both with the approval of the Bishop of Adelaide and the consent of Dr. Goold (Bishop of Melbourne) and Dr. Elloy (Bishop of Tipasano, in partibus)

2. The Institute was known by the title of Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

3. The Congregation is of religious women, a religious community whose members follow a fixed Rule and. having properly gone through a probation, take simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedence, adding a forth vow promising  to promote in the minds of the children a worship and the love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

4. In 1867 the Bishop of Adelaide brought me from my M ission so that I should have the position of his Secretary, committing to me the care of those matters which in any way pertained to educate in the Diocese and constituting  me as his Minister, if I call it that, armed with his authority as regards school matters.

5. There were only 19 Catholic schools in the Diocese at the time, providing education for 1,100 children i.e less than quarter of all the Catholic children in the Diocese.

6. The rest of the children frequented the system of Government school. They gave only secular education without any admixture of religion except  what the Protestant Bible gave, and so were in effect an heretical system.

7. At that time there did not exist in the Diocese any religious community of women, and those which were called Catholic schools were all in care of lay teachers.

8. Three months after I took up the post of Director General of schools I thought of calling the Sisters of St. Joseph to the City and handing over to them the teaching in all the City schools and in places without schools.

9. The Novitiate was set up in Adelaide and the Order increased at such a large gratifying rate that at the end of the fifth year there were 120 teachers.

10. Because of the success which the Sistersin South Australia obtained in the schools they were invited to take up the same work in the Diocese of Bathurst, where there are nowsix schools and twenty Sisters.

11. The Sisters were also asked by the Bishop of Adelaide to take over the Care Orphanage as a home for the reform of unfortunate women, and also set up a home for those who were decrepit  through age and or sickness.

12. To support these Institute the Bishop promised that a collection would be made for each of those Institutions once a year in every Church in the Diocese, but he did not keep this promise.

13. The reason why the promised project was not completed was absence of the Bishop from the Diocese and the opposition of some of the clergy, who refused to allow collections to be made on my authority alone.

14. The opposition of the clergy arose principally because they were forced to renounce the government subsidies of money, which were unavailable  to those schools in which children were taught Religion.

15. Other opposition arose from the Fathers of the Francisian Order, to which  religious Order the Bishop himself also belonged, because I was the instrument in dismissing from the Diocese certain priests of the smae Order who were known to be addicted to drunknessand immorality.

16. A few priests, on account of some particular matters concerning the conduct and procedures of the Institute of the Sisters and especially their judgment that some Sisters were incapable of teaching, were opposed to me.

17. About a third of the priests of the Diocese thus took a stand against me.

18. In 1868, when the Bishop returned from Rome with religious Sisters of St Dominic, the Vicar General directed the Sisters of St. Joseph to hand over to the Dominican Nuns for their residence the Convent in which they had lived up to this , as it was Diocesan property.

19. That Convent was used as a Novitiate and training school for School Teachers, so that it was my responsibility to seek out and to acquire another house at my own expence.

20. Three months later another house was given to the Sisters from the Diocesefunds, but it was to small, however, I was permitted to build a small extension , including a so-called "fee school", for the support of which I was allowed to collect money into two churches each month.

21. In the year 1870 I recieved permission to build out from the other wing, since for those in training there was no place suitable, nor was there an Oratory or Chapel; because of these conditions the Sisters were unable to be properly prepared and educated, and also the health of the Community was endangered. 

22. In June 1870, in the absence of the Bishop, the Vicar General died. His successor as Administrator of the diocese was greatly opposed to the Sisters and hindered, as far as he could, the making of collections for the free school. 

23. In February 1871, when the Bishop returned, a third of the Diocese clergy presented a dicument against the Sisters in which they asserted that three quarters of the Sisters were incapable of teaching. 

24. Of those clergy, who signed, more than half were young priests, recently arrived in the Diocese, and who had never administered a Parish nor had the care of a school in charge of the Sisters.

25. When the Bishop examined various schools, his conclusions showed the assertions of that document to be not foundered on truth.

26. By this time the number of Catholic Schools had increased to 68. They gave a solid and sound religious education to 3,500 children. 35 of these Schools were in the care of the Sisters.

27. I here solemnly declare that no school was entrusted to the care of any Sister incapable of teaching, nor could the Catholic education of ou children have been impacted in any way without the help of the Sisters.

28. The Bishop saw clearly, and issued a Pastoral Letter declaring his complete faith in this teaching system, and forbidding the Sacraments to those who still dared to send their children to the Government schools.

29. The Bishop did not appoint a new Vicar General but introduced among his intimate counsellors certain religious brethren who were much opposed to me for the reasons already mentioned.

30. Not long after, he moved me from the care of the Catholic Church and gave me a Parish of North Adelaide, certainly not be considered seriously as of importance, and prevented any kind of collection for the schools and for the Institution of Charity.

31.  I constantly warned the Bishop that the Diocese could not be preserved from the threatened ruin unless he strenuously set to work to help the schools and Institutions of the Charity by gaining  the cooperation of the people and the clergy; but except for  promises which never issured in action. I gained nothing.

32. For many days I sought to give up my position, but the Bishop refued to concent, promising that he would give help, which in realityhe did not give help.

33. A little later I became ill, hence the Bishop sent me to the Diocese of Bathurst to have a change of air, and for the Sisters who were *settled* there.

34. In my absence the Bishop suddenly dissolved the religious bonds of all the Sisters, again handing over the Convent to the Dominican Nuns to whom the Convent had already been given, although they were only seven in number and did not need so large a Convent.

35. The Bishop never communicated his mind to me on any of these matters nor gave any hint of his ideas except that he finally sent me permission to leave the Diocese.

36. I never agreed with the Bishop on any matter, nor ever disputed, nor does any reason occur to me why he should have been displeased with me.

37. I have incurred certain debts, namely.

        1. For the Convent.
        2. For the schools.
        3. For the Institution or reforming women.
        4. In favour of the Bishop himself. 

38. I could easily have paid these debts, if they had not hindered me so often in my duties with troubles, and if they had kept the promisesmade to me. I contracted no debt  until I had exhausted my own resources, about 800 pounds sterling and what ever the Sisters could supply me with besides, which was not sufficient. 

39. I conclusion, this is a true account of all the matters which are known to me with reference to the enquiry of Your Lordships pursuance of the commission  of the Apostolic See.

Julian E.T Woods
Secretary to the Late Bishop of Adelaide
Adelaide 19 June 1872

                                                                  Evidence of Father John J. Roche, 5 June 1872

[ Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000 1399 - 1400 Original in Latin]

I came to the Diocese with Dr. Sheil and the Dominican religious 31/2 years ago. I was nine months in Mt. Barkerand the City and up to that time 2 years in Kapunda.

At the command of the Bishop I was present at the excommunication of Sister Mary. This happened  when I heard from  Fr. Horan, in the Bishop's House, that on the Bishop's order he was going to tell Sister Mary that early next morning she was to go to Bagot's Gap, under penalty of excommunication if she did not obey. Afterwards i heard from him that she had refused to go and that the Bishop wanted me to come to the Convent on the following day.

I accompanied the Bishop with Fr. Horan, Cleary and Murphy. First the Bishop wished to see Sister Mary and hearing she was lying down, asked Sister Teresa why Sister Mary had not come to Mass. She replied that Sister Mary had been excommunicatedlast evening. At this point Sister Mary entered the room. The Bishop told her to kneel down. I think there were twenty-five Sisters present. The Bishop told everybody to go the Oratory and there told Sister Mary to kneel before the Alter. He added he was about to utter the terrible sentence of excommunication against her on account of disobedience in not being willing to go to Bagot's Gap. Then he formally read the sentece of excommunication, wearing mitre, stole and cronzier. I do not know whether he wore a cope. While the sentence was pronounced, Sister Teresa knelt at the side of Sister Mary so that she might have a share in the excommunication. The Bishop twice told her to return to her place, which she did. When Sister Mary left the Oratory after the excommunication the Sisters began to cry out loudly and lament. Turning to the Sisters, Sister Mary gave them a sign to compose themselves in quiet. All the Sisters with the exception of three, unless I am mistaken followed Sister Mary to the school next to the Oratory. Still crying out, and they would not return when told by the Bishop himself. Then the Bishop sent the priests to tell them  to return without delay to the Oratory. Some returned, the remainder refused. The Bishop returned to the Oratory and the priests tried to get others to return to the house. One Sister took and shook Fr. Horan's cloak, telling him he had no business in that place. They were brought back to the Oratory with difficulty. The Bishop spoke to them about the excommunication of Sister Mary, instructing them to listen and obey him as a Father.

Three or four days after the excommunication of Sister Mary the Bishop expelled Sister Teresa from the Institute, and certain others who came and asked he resolved from their vows, saying he would always be a father to them and would care for their welfare. He sent one Sister to the Orphanage, and she refused to go. Two in particular seemed greatly to rejoice that thier vows were dissolved.

On the following day he told the remainder to go to their own homes. Before they left the Convent  on Sister asked for her vows to be dissolved. I told the Bishop she was and a niece of Fr. Woods. He spoke of her kindly, and she seemed surprised at this. He dispenced her, and I would wish to add this: that during the act of excommunication, and Sister Mary, and through the excited state of the Sisters, all the Sisters (with the exception of three of whom  I have spoken) showed neglect of the Bishop and hence, in my judgment rebelled.

I have recieved letters through Father McClusky (they were sent to him by Sister Teresa about two years before the excommunication of Sister Mary) in which she asked him to come to the Convent, since  the devil had seized Sister Angela. I did not wish  to accompany him, he went himself for her but could not find her. Two hours afterwards another was brought which began; "Praise be to Jesus", in which it was said that it was the devil who had brought Sister Angela came back to the Convent.

Father Horan, Father Henderson and I wrote almost two years ago from Kapunda to Fr. Smyth V.G, concerning the visions and relevations of Sister Rose. She was called away by Fr. Woods and sent to the Convent at Mitcham, and 12 months later she became insane.

                                                                Evidence of Father William Kennedy, 7 June 1872

[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, fols 1401 - 1401v. Original in latin]

Last November I completed my fifth year in the Mission, and outside the City. I have three schools in my district under the care of the Sisters, who give me great satisfaction.

Q. Did you lodge any complaints against the Sisters with the Bishop? 


Q. Nor to anyone else?

Never officially.

Q. Were you with the Bishop during his illness?

I was, for 14 days continuously. I have never heard him speak badl about the Sisters. I was present also when the faculty of absolving Sister Mary was commited to Father Hughs. The Bishop always spoke with much praise of the Sisters, except for a few months before he died. In the last period whe he was on visitation he spoke much aginst them. "Always the same ignorance in the young of my Diocese",  he said, "the Sisters will be the cause." Without advancing any particular reason, he thought they were not enlightened enought to educate the young. I knew of no definite reason for his changed opinion. All the while lay people taught in my schools I had many difficulties, but these disappeared with the coming of the Sisters, who have given every satifaction. They have been great edification to the people and have thus brought many to the Sacraments.

For almost thre years many thought badly of Fr. Woods and the Sisters. Father Woods was accused of collecting money in my district for the SIsters while he held Mission there. The accusation is totally false. The Sisters were also accused of collecting money from people and sending to Father Woods, but they never collected without my consent. I never heard the Bishop, during his illness, express any regret at the excommunication of Sister Mary.


Fourteen days before his death, when he spoke with me concerning the disturbed state of the Diocese, His Lordship  Dr. Sheil used these words, "Dear Father Kennedy, my heart is broken and I am dying. Those whom I trusted contracted bad habits, and I acted according to their suggestions. I am sorry about this. This is the cause of my distress. It is human to err." At this point he wept bitterly and I asked that I should make this known.

                                                            The Evidence of Sister Mary Ignatius, 14? June 1872

[Source: Archivesof Propaganda Fide, Rome SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, fols 1420v - 1421 Original in Latin]

The night preceding the day of the excommunication I saw Father Horan talking with Sister Mary and he when he left I heard these words: "Will I tell the Bishop that you are going to St. John's tomorrow?"  Sister Mary said  "No I wish to see His Lordship before I go".

On the dayof the excommunication Sister Teresa said to me that we would not go to Mass, but would say prayers at home in the Oratory. When at about 8 o'clock the Bishop came with four priests in the Convent, he asked Sister Teresa why we were not at Mass, to which she replied that since, Sister Mary was excommunicated, we did not know whether we should go or not. The Bishop seemed to be upset in mind and said, " You have misunderstood, as always. Where is Sister Mary? Tell her to come here". When she came he would not give her a blessing. He wanted all the Sisters to gather and send them to the Oratory, to which he came with the priests. He said to Sister Mary, who kneeling near the Alter; "I expel you from the Institute. You are the woman whom I should first excommunicate ".  He read the sentence from the book, wearing mitre and stole, and a priest held the Crozier while the Bishop extended his hand over Sister Mary. "And now, Mary Mackillop, go and thereforth lay aside this habit, to return to the world of sin from which you have taken so much with you. I fear you are a possessed woman, you will be deprived of Christian burial after death, and you are separated from the church during life."  Then turning to the Sisters; "If any of you have communion with her, you will incure the same sentance." When Sister Mary left, some Sisters ran after her, unable to control themselves, and weeping they said: "Do not leave us,".

Since everything was confused, I was so overcome by fear that I asked on my knees to be absolved from my vows, which was done. The Bishop sent me to recall the Sisters, many of whom were greatly disturbed and did not then return.  Since the Sisters did not wish to be divided into Choir and Lay Sisters, the Bishop said they were free to return to the world and, since they wished to leave, he said to them again that they should remain until they *had* thier place; they agreed to this. The Sisters asked if they could remain, wearing ordinary dress, in the Orphanage and the Providence until they could leave. Since I had not have relatives in the Colony, I stayed with Sister Mechtilde and was accustomed to go to Mass in the Cathederal, until the priests spoke against the Sisters from the Pulpit. Because of this I was afraid to contine to go there, so from this time on I attended the church in Norwood.

                                                                      Evidence of Sister Paula,  14? June 1872

[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome SOCG 1873 vol. 1000 fols 1419v - 1420v. Original in Latin. Adelaide Archdiocesan Archives note "Check end Feb 22 of Diary notes + photo of original]

About 8.30 in the morning of the day of the excommunication, His Lordship with four Priests came to the Convent. I heard His Lordship asking Sister Teresa why the Sisters were not at Mass. The Sisters gathered in the Community room of the Sisters and the Bishop wished to see Sister Mary. Sister Teresa told His Lordship that Sister Mary was not very well, but he insisted. I went to Sister Mary's cubical, saying that Bishop wished to see her.

After a short while she came and knelt before the Bishop asking his Blessing , which he refused to give. At the suggestion of one of the Priests we went to the Oratory  and there the Bishop indicated a place in the centre when Sister Mary should kneel, near the Alter rails. Then he addressed her these words  "Unhappy woman, I am about to pronouce over you the most terrible sentece". Then with mitre and crozier he read the sentence from the book held by a Priest. When he finished he added, "From now Mary Mackillop, you can freely return to the world, full of iniquity and pride, a great part of which, I fear, you have taken with you into the Intitute. From now, whoever has communion with you is excommunicated, incurring the same sentence". He added many things full of hurt which I can not remember.

When I saw Sister Mary rise and leave I could not restrain myself. I went to her and embraced her, crying out, "I don't know how we came to the school. " What I recall is that I saw the Bishop and Father Horan, Sister Martha and the other Sisters around me, and Sister Monica trying to restore calm, and I heard the Bishop ask, "Is she hysterical?" I felt a hand placed over my mouth, whose I do not know, since I was not clear in the mind. I then said, "A sad day for the Church." I heard Father Horan telling the Sisters that they should go to a certain place, I dont know which. I heard a Sister Martha saying, " Do you think you are dogs?" Afterwards the same Sister placed her hand on my shoulder and repulsed Fr. Horan. I was taken to the cubical where Sister Mary was preparing to leave. She tried to compose me, and to make me promise her that I would be quiet in the future were possible. I gave that promise.

About 10 o'clock Fathers Horan, Murphy and Michael Kennedy returned to the Convent, and the Sisters Teresa and Martha accompanied them. I was then in the school, and heard from them as they passed by that we had to leave the Convent, leaving the candlesticks and the schools benches etc and that a list of those things which were to be left would be sent. When I heard them speaking of the candlesticks, again forgetful of myself, I said that the candelsticks were given by Mr. McMullen and Mr. Donovan, the one on the left was given to the Sisters by Mr. Hewitt, and the other a gift of Mr. de Normanville, but they paid no attention to my words. I ment them again in another room and I said to Sister Teresa, "You should give these to Fr. Horan for his trouble". I had in mind what was in the room. He looked at me, indicating that he was not please with this, but Sister Teresa excused me, saying that he should take no notice of what I was saying that I was overwrought. When they came back to the community room the Sister Teresa told me to apologise for what I said, which I did in the presense of the priests, and she said she forgave me. I must confess that from that time my mind was misery, and no one could comfort me.

When I went to confession I was told the Sisters were decieved, that the Institute would not last, on account of the life the Sisters led. I said to one priest that it was not to his credit to say from the pulpit what he had said about the Sisters. He replied that what he siad was nothing compared to with what he was going to say next Sunday in the Cathedral. He certainly carried out his promise.

I recieved the dispensation with the rest of the Sisters when we left the Convent, and I was sent to accompany Sister Angela when she went to her parents at Kapunda. I was there for sometime, hoping I would get back the habit again. In confession I was warned by Various Confessors not to think of returning to the Convent, and that I would be better staying in the world. Two refused to absolve me because I had  it in mind to return to the Convent.

I often saw Sister Angela seriously ill after she had seen Father Horan, and she spoke of his excessive liberty with her. On one occasion she said how wretchedly indefensibloe it was that Fr. Horan had asked her to sign her name to a document which she had not previously read. From there I lived with the Sisters. Fr. Kreissl came there to celebrate Mass, and give me absolution.

I returned to the Convent in April and recieved the habit. This what I can recall to memory, and I cannot but express my deep regret for what I did and said on the day of Sister Mary 's communication.

                                                              Evidence of Sister Teresa McDonold,  3 June 1872

[ Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, 1394v - 1395. Original in Latin]

Q: When did you enter the Institute?

October 1867. There was not yet a novitiate and I was under the care of Sister Mary for some months. When Sister Mary was excommunicated I knelt at her side, on account of this. His Lordship expelled me from the Institute.

About 3 weeks later, I took off the habit. On the 19th of March of this year I entered the Institute again, since I had earler told the Bishop it was not my intention to take up the new Rule, I knew the original Rule  had been approved by the Bishop. For the most part I was away in the country, and was in no position to hear anything from His Lordship as to whether His Lordship was satified or otherwise that the schools should be conducted and the Institute carry on.

Q: Were you present at the excommunication of Sister Mary?

I was present and this is my acount of what happened. About half past ten on the night of the 21st of September, Father Horan came to the Convent, where we were already in the dormatory. I immediately spoke to him myself. He said he wished to see Sister Mary. I replied that she had already gone to bed. Then he passed on to me the Bishop's instructions, namely that Sister Mary was under excommunication if she did not obey the Bishop's wishes with regard to the changes to the Rule. When Sister Mary learnt this, she said " I am not able to change. I cannot accede in this wish.

The Bishop came to our house the following day at 8.30 a.m, four priests accompanying  him, and arranged things as he thought fit. Then before the excommunication of Sister Mary, Fr. Horan told us that he was our Director, which office he would excerise as well as the Director General of Schools. As far asd I know the Sisters showed him obedience to best of their ability.

{ Teresa contd. [1396?]}

His Lordship asked me for what reason we were now absenting ourselves from Mass. I replied, " From what I had heard the previous day we thought that we were all excommunicated with Sister Mary and hence it would be wrong to be at Mass, "Fr. Horan interposed that he had not said she was excommunicated, but that she "would be" excommunicated. Then kneeling at the feet of the Bishop, I asked pardon for having badly understood his meaning. To this the Bishop replied that we misunderstood everything, the devil had entered into us, and that he was going to dismiss us all from the house.

Then he wished to see Sister Mary and the rest of the Sisters. When Sister Mary arrived he commanded her to kneel. But one of the priests said to the Bishop that the room in which we were was too small, we went to the Oratory. Again His Lordship called Sister Mary and said to her that he was about to excommunicate her on account of acts of rebelion. He added that there was much spiritual pride in her which she had brought with her into the Convent, and that we were all led by the same spirit.

Having taken mitre and staff he pronounced the sentence of excommunication. When this was done I knelt at Sister Mary's side. When the Bishop saw me, he commanded me to return to my place. He said to Sister Mary that she was no longer a Religious, she was to return to the world, and if the Sisters communicated with her in any way they would be subject to having the same sentence of excommunication pronounced on them.

When Sister Mary left the Oratory two Sisters accompanied her and five or six followed he to the school.
*      *

When the sentence of the excommunication was pronounced, about 30 Sisters were in the Oratory. One of them raised a great cry which reminded me of  that of a woman in the pain of childbirth, certainly the Sister was very distressed.

The Bishop sent me to bring the Sisters back, and one or two Priests went with me. In about 5 minutes the Sisters came back with me to the Oratory. Sister Mary had told them not to approach her, and that she was about to leave the House.

Then the Bishop called by name the Sisters whom wished to appoint as choir Sisters and those whom he wished to be lay Sisters, and directed that I hold the office of Superior until another one was chosen. He had already given me the same office the day before in the place of Sister Mary, whom he would not recognize as Superior.

When the Sisters whom names were read out said that they did not wish to take the new Rule, he dispenced some from their vows, But when he saw that all were of the same mind he commanded that each one should  return to her place so that he might teach obedience to the Bishop, but he dispenced four or five. Afterwards the Blessed Sacrament was taken from the Tabernacle and we were told to leave the Ventments' Candelabra, and the rest of the Alter furnishing. We had got them together for transfer to another house which in the meantime he had been rented for the Community, as the day before we had been told to leave the house. Fr. Horan came to recieve the key, which we handed over.

The Convent was Episcopal property. First of all we had lived in the Convent later occupied by the Religious of St. Dominic, but when the Vicar General asked us to give it to them, we of course had to comply. We retired to another small house which was nearby and also belonged to the Bishop. The House was enlarged while we were there, with money collected publicity which, when we afterwards left the House, we also handed over the same religious, who occupied it shortly after.

I remained in the office of the Superior of the Mother House for about three weeks. The Bishop then came to the school in which I was teaching and made known to me that, since I had opposed His Lordship on the day when Sister Mary was excommunicated, I was now to be expelled from the Institute of St. Joseph, he added that my vows would remain in force until I relinquished the habit. Fr. Horan and Murphy were present on this occasion.

The Bishop made Sister Monica Superior. On the same day, she sent letters to the Bishop asking for a dispensation from the vows for myself and remaining Sisters of the Mother House, and affirming that the Sisters would hold school until other provisions were made. He visited us later, informing us that we were dispensed from our vows.

Since in these circumstances we were incapable of paying for the rented house, we retired to the house supplied by aforementioned Jewish person, one which he offered rent-free.

Since they were no longer bound by vows, some Sisters left the Institute. Some went home, others remained in the Jewish person's house, supporting themselves by working. About 15 who remained lived in the Jewish person's house. . The Sisters who had schools in the more remote parts of the Diocese carried on, since nothing certain was communicated to them. Fr. Horan was nominated our Director.

                                                                  Evidence of Father Timothy Murphy,  5 June 1872

[Source Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, 1397v - 1399. Original in Latin]

I have been about six years in the Diocese, in both City and country. I was in the city for 14 months with Dr. Sheil, and on the 19th of May of this year was sent to another place.

I think that the Bishop approved the Rule of the Sisters and have heard him praising greatly the Institute of St. Joseph, up to the month of July 1871. He said that the Sisters were very useful for teaching and directing the Institute of young women. But after that time I heard him complaing of the Institute, especially on a certain day (1st September 1871) when he visited the Convent. Up to 20 Sisters were then in the Conven, of whom most seemed to be doing nothing. He said they were lazy and indeed a burden on the Diocese: it would be necessay to  choose the good or separate the useless. Then he asked me how much in all the expenditure had been. I enquired and informed him that  the outlay was small. Later I was to enquire and have the Sisters examinded. He thus found individual institutions with heavy debt, since only incomplete accounts had been given to me.  Institutions which were said to support themselves instead lived from public collections, since the total sum they normally recieved would provide for only half of the weekly needs of their 14 to 16 people. This was especially true of the Solitude, which was said to be able to provide for itself in no way was there sufficent. After this His Lordship sent Fr. Horan and myself to examine the Sisters. There were then 22 0r 23 in the City whom we examined. We found they scarcely knew how to write and they read imperfectly, nor have I heard worse reading.

Q: The Sisters whom you examined were teaching in the Schools?

Many of them were.

Q: Were there others you did not examine?

We did not examine five or six, as they judged them suitable for teaching. 24 or 25 of them on trial [probatio] some were postulants, some wore the habit, and some were under instruction. At least that is what His Lordship was told. They taught in suburban schools. I have heard many complaints from the priests the Sisters are not suited to teaching, they are disobedient to the local priests, and they collect money although the priests have prohibited this.

Among the incapable I name Sister Andrew and Sister Gabriel; amonst the disobedient, especially to me, Sister Cecilia and Sister Raphael. I have indicated to the Bishop that they tried to work miracles. Sister Gertrude often affirmed this in my presence. She also applied the crucfix to a sick child and told the mother, Mrs. Geary, not to go to the doctor any more as the child would be better in the morning.

I know that complaints were made to the Bishop and that he signed a document which is now known, stating that most of the Sisters recieved into the Institute were unsuitable for teaching. We wished to draw the attention of the Bishop to this so that he might see for himself. Once they reported to the Bishop an amount of money less than what they had actually recieved. On this and other occasions the sum recieved was so small that it immediately made us doubtful and we made inquiry. In the school for the poor the Sisters recieved more than their accounts showed, as I found on consulting the parents of the chilren.

I was present at the excommunication of Sister Mary and this is my account of what happened then. His Lordship indicated to me and Fr. Horan that his intention was to divide the Sisters into Teachers and serving Sisters. When he announced this to the Sisters they grave great signs of disobedience, saying they would not remain. His Lordship indicated that Sr. Mary was inciting the others to rebelion, and commanded her to Bagot's Gap,  about 40 miles distant from the city. He told her at midday, in the evening and the morning of the day of the excommunication, that she was to go to Bagot's Gap and she either avoided the matter or refused to go. Since she did not go, he threatened her with excommunication.  

The behavior of the Sisters before and after the excommunication of Sister Mary greatly displeased His Lordship. On the morning of the day of the excommunication the Bishop with four priests (Fr. Horan, Fr. Roche, Fr. Cleary and myself) came to Covent and formally excommunicated Sr. Mary, the other Sisters being present with the four priests. I do not know exactly the number of Sisters, I think 25 or 26 were pressnt.

After the excommunication there was a great turmult among the Sisters and the manifest disobedience to the Bishop. Notwithstanding the excommunication they said they would go and see Sr. Mary, although some of the priests told them not to do so. One of them Sr. Teresa, was expelled by the Bishop. At the command of the Bishop I dispenced 6 or 7 from their vows, and they seemed to be greatful that I had done so.

Q: Were all dispensed?

His Lordship dispensed as many as wished it.

Q: Who was to direct those who remained?

His Lordship chose Sr. Teresa. For a few days she filled this office, then refused obedience to the Bishop but not accepting the new Rule. Afterwards His Lordship mand Sr. Moinca Superior, she was in charge for a short time, then  asked for a dispensation from the Bishop. His Lordship asked for the house from them, since he said he had already rented a house for 10 shillings a week. The Bishop wished that they should pass it to him, since there was no work for them to do in the city. He proposed to pay  the rent of a house if it became necessary. Finally he came to the conclusion that the Convent should be handed to the Dominicans on the condition that they pay what the Diocese had spent on the building, which share they paid.

Q: What Superior did they have after Sr. Monica?

They came to that house under obedience.
I do not know whether a Superior was elected after Sr. Monica resigned. Some came to the Bishop, who told them he would pay for thier clothes. as far as I know, no one went to him without recieving something. He offered money to Sr. Monica if she was going to return to Melbourne, or clothes if she came to him, and said he would give more money if she asked for it.
No Institute of the Sisters was closed. His Lordship wished to close the Providence but the house had 6 months lease. The Institutions were conducted by Sisters who remained there at the wish of the Bishop.

Q: Did they accept the new Rule?

They did nothing publicly against it.  No change was made to the Rule. The Bishop only said he favoured it. Nor do I know if any document was sent to the Sisters regarding the will of the Bishop in regard to changing the rule, nor do I know whether the Sisters asked for a document. There was much disturbance among the Convent. I have experienced this myself. I do not know whether any petition was made by the Laity in favour of the Sisters for their restitution. I read in a public paper called the "Irish Harp" that a petition was sent to Rome in favour of the Sisters. I visited the Convent left by the Sisters and I have never found a house as dirty, the Bishop said, " I am very pleased I dismissed them." The Convent was built by public subscription organized by Fr. Woods and the Sisters. I know for a fact that many relatives of the Sisters were brought there who did not need to help others, since they supplied by other Sisters with what they needed at the expense of the Convent.

                                                               Evidence of Fr. Joseph Tappeiner SJ,  11 June 1872

[Source Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOGC 1873 vol. 1000, 1405 - 1413v. Original in Latin]

I will have been in this Diocese for twenty years come October. I have been the Superior of the Jesuit Fathers in various places for 14 years. Besides doing the pastoral work in the Mission, I also taught in the schools.

I did not sign any document other than the one which delt with the taking of the Blessed Sacrament from the Oratary of St. Joseph. In this document it was asserted that Sister Angela took the Blessed Sarcrament, since we could not find any explantion other than the natural one.

Since the Most Rev. Bishop's inquiring into the causes and circumstances of the disturbnce of the Sisters of St. Joesph have asked my oppinion and testimony, I made the following observations.

The aforesaid disturbance was so sudden  and extraordinary that it could only have been produced by extraordinary causes. The change of mind of the Bishop regarding the Sisters, coming as it did in the space of only a few weeks, could not have resulted from his own observations, but from the persuasion of others.

On the first of August the Rev. Dr. Woods, who up to this had been the Secretary and Counseller of the Bishop, was called to Victoria by the Bishop himself, and upo to now he has not returned. From this time the Rev. Horan was the companion of the Bishop alsmost continuously , except for the time whe he travelled to the Murrey River to collect money, while in the meantime the Rev. Nowlan took his place with the Bishop, being even more with the Bishop until midnight, and the Bishop frequently went to Fr. Nowlan at North Adelaide.

It is these things that we must attribute the change in the Bishop, since no other cause is apparent. This change had not yet come about on the 24th of August, for on that day I had a conversation with the Bishop while we walked together in the garden during the priests retreat. He spoke of the Sisters of St. Joseph with great praise, he recounted how much good they did , as he himself refuted with ridicule the objections he had heard, namely that the Sisters were not sufficiently educated. I well remember his words: "Whenever I visit the schools, especially outside the City, I find that more than half the childen can recite only the ABC and the Lords Prayer, and certainly for these great learning is not required. " I replied, " It has always been oppinion, too, that if there is the school one Sister who is sufficiently instructed, apart from the others, that would sufice for the children," and many other things of this kind, to all of which he completly consented, nor did he utter a word which would express doubt or the least suspicion that the Sisters were useless or lazy, as he was reported to have said very shortly afterwards.

We then spoke of the two families of nuns, namely the Dominicans and the Sisters of St. Joseph. I said that it did not seem to me to be desirable that the two houses should be so close to one another. It seemed better to me that one of the Communities should be in another part of the City, and that perhaps the Sisters should be given a home somewhere else. He admitted that this was desirable in itself, by it would not appear to be just, since the Sistershad been there first. I replied that if certainly would not be just unless equivalent compensation or a dwelling be given to them. From all this it appeared even more clear that up to this day he had not thought of disturbing the Sisters from thier house, nor had there been any doubt in his mind about the usefulness of the Sisters. He himself spontaneously initiated this conversation, without my provoking it in any way. I was so certain and secure about his intensions that when, a little later, I heard that the house was to be taken from the Sisters without another being assigned to them and the Institute was to be changed I constantly denied it, since I considered I knew the mind of the Bishop better. When however that was done which I thought could not be done, I could not explain it in any other way except that those whom the Bishop trusted had so worked on his mind that he was no longer capable of judging for himself. His faculties were indeed very much weakened, and thus it would have been possible from him to be drawn in a competely opposite direction. Not long after that conversation, fears began to trouble the Sisters concerning the change of mind of the Bishop in their regard.

When Fr. Woods left Adelaide he gave me an office of hearing thier Confessions and assisting them in other ways. I had been especially nominated by the Bishop previously, for the last retreat at Christmas. I therefore had in this position more frequent dealing with the Sisters and particularly with the Superior General, and since i was the only one whom they could have recourse for advice in time of difficulty and doubt, I learnt many things which disturbed them and caused them to be fearful.

Hence I came to observe first of all that up to the time of the departure of Fr. Woods, the Rev. Nowlan was always his intimate friend. He always cared for the Sisters in the absence of Fr. Woods by hearing their confessions, was frequently with them in the House, instructed them in the Office in Latin and was completely held in the second father and intimate friend. 

The friendship was so close that he would approve and defend what were clearly errors. Thus when someone who had the good of the Sisters and the Church at heart mentioned a need for greater care being necessary regarding the Novitiate of the Sisters, he stated in all earnestness that while  this might  be necessary in other Orders, it was not so for these Sisters, who had the first fruits of the Spirit and did not need such help. In many things he appeared to me to confirm the Rev Woods even in judgments which were evidently erroneous and wound finally work to the detriment of the Institute. Hence to me his friendship was always suspect, as though he would use Fr. Woods as an instrument when he had scarcely another friend amoungst the priests. But when he saw another way of obtaining  his end he changed charactor, and from a freind was changed into bitterness enemy of Fr. Woods, the Sisters and Brothers - so much so that when one of them (Brother Camillus, a relative of Fr. Woods) was dangerously ill Fr. Nowlan scarcely visited him, although he had been summoned. An explanation of this is all the harder in a priest and religious, and in my reflections I have not been able to find any mitigation.

This change appeared only in the week  or two before Fr. Woods was called to Victoria and so obvious was that Fr. Nowlan could hardly manage a civil word thaty Fr. Woods was forced, as I said above, to commit the care of the Sisters to others. From that time Rev. Mowlan no loonger visited the Sisters and began to frequent the Dominican nuns, where formly he had been rarely seen. I heard then also, for the first time, that the Sisters had been notified in the name of the Bishop that their house was given up to hime in three weeks, and that they were to provide another dwelling for themselves.

The first mention of introducing a new Rule was then made. That Rule never appeared in writting; the proposals circulated by word of mouth in the name of the Bishop were such as would overthrow not only the Spirit, but the very existance of the Institute of the Sisters. According to the new Rule, there would be distinctions among the Sisters, some would be lay (that is servers), others choir or teaching, they were to teach not only elementary (that is what was necessary for the poor), but also higher (designedonly for the rich), such as music, foreign languages etc. Also every congregrational office was to be abolished, so that there would be no superior (neither General or Provincial), and each house, although of only two or three Sisters, would be independent and subject only to the local pastor and the Bishop. The two primary principles of poverty and humility were to be taken away and the Sisters gradually directed away from the poor, for whom they were principally founded, and towards the higher classes. As is easily seen, the Institute would be totally destroyed.

These matters were at first proposed only in a confused wat so that the Sisters themselves did not know what the Bishop really intended, especially since the Bishop himself appeared to change his decision frequently. When he said that it was not a new Rule the matter was totally confused and almost to the day of the excommunication, it was hoped that there would be no change. Frequently the question was asked of me; to what were the Sisters bound in conscience  requarding the new Rule? My reply was the Bishop has the power of dispencing from the vows. They are not obliged to this by the present vows, since these oblige only reccording to the Rule under which the vows were made, and although the Bishop can change the Rule approved by himself, he cannot change the vow already taken and substitute one other than that intended by the person taking the vow, if this is contrary to the person's will.

The examination of the Sisters by Fathers Horan and Murphy followed. Certain Sisters had been transferred from one place to another without consulting the local Pastor (as the school, where the priciple Sister was removed and no other subsituted), and other things of this kind. Then came the 22nd September, and the celebrated excommunication struck almost the whole of the City with wonder. The story itself can be better discribed by the witnesses present. Therefore I pass over it, adding only that this desporable matter seemed scarcely possible to me unless falcehoods and false replies had been tranmitted to the Bishop the preceding night. But this is only supposition.

The lamentation and cries of the Sisters which followed the excommunication were such that people would stop in the street and ask what it was about. The news quickly spread through out the City. Most of the more respectabloe people were filled with horror, the malevolent rejoiced. Since all knew the gravity of such a penalty they suspected that there were horrible crimes among the Sisters. Hence were spread the most disgraceful rumors,which did not spare the Sisters, Fr. Woods or the Bishop himself. It is not necessary to go into detail.

Immediately after the excommunication the Sisters left their house and moved to another rented in the City. Some returned to thier families, a few left the Institute. A little after the excommunication, a letter writen by Fr. Murphy in the Bishops name was sent to us which indicated that the Sisters were to confess to thier Pastors (i.e of their district), and were to be subject to him, nevertheless they were to deal with Fr. Woods on the matters relating to the schools. I think this letetr was sent to all the Pastors in areas where there were Sisters. My office as their Confessor therefore ceased except in regard to those who were in my district. Those who lived together in the rented house frequented the Sacraments in the Cathedral, as did those who remained in Orphanages and the Providence in St. Patrick's [West Terrace].

I am not free to refer to the torments of conscinece to which the Sisters were subjected in these confessions. They can testify to that themselves. They were accused, even in public sermons, of being hypocritical, malicious rebels. This was done repeatedly by two or three priests, and one sermon of this kind more vehement than the others was reportedly sent to the Archbishop. The consequence was that the Sisters no longer dared to go to the Cathedral; they went instead to other Churches even the more distant ones, where they could attend Mass and hear the word of God in peace. Some who were not yet dispendedsought a dispensation so that they might reciece the Sacrament without fear of turmoil. Eventually they rented a house near the Church of St. Ignatius in Norwood, and gradually they gathered there. There they continued a community life as far as possible as Seculars, and trustingly awaited better times. Certain people already called this "rebellion against the Bishop", in that after thier vows were dissolved they continued to live together, and the Fathers of the Society of Jesus werre accused of assisting this rebellion. Both would indeed be grave crimes if proven true. In the case of the Sisters, however, no act even of disobedinece, much less of rebellion, is proven.

Even though the excommunication might well have been considered nul and void by all the people of good sense, the excommunicated Sisters conformed perfectly to it, she often hid among the Protestants, her intimate friends hardy knew where she was, she never appeared in church or even in public, nor was she ever heard to complain of the injury doneto her, or say anything in the way irreverant against the Most Reverend Bishop. A letter in fact exists in which she heroically expresses her reverances towards him who had treated her so harshly.

As the SIsters continuing to live in community, it needs to be said that this was never forebidden by the Bishop, although it was said by certain enemies of the Sisters to be against his instruction; however, no such direction was ever expressed by him in any way in which it could been known to the Sisters, so their action can not be called disobedience. In any case, secular women can scarcely be forbidden to live in any way they wish, so long as they do nothing contary to the Laws of God and the Church. The Sisters lived together not to oppose the Bishop (which they tried to avoid doing, as was apparent on many occasions) but in the hope that the Order would be restored. In many rural areas the Priests supported the SIsters and did not disturb them, nor did the Bishop take any action against them; there was hope, which proved to not in vain, that they would be restored, being innocent of any wrongdoing. Further , I have never heard it alleged that any of them refused either to relinquish the religious habit or to tranfer to another place when the Bishop ordered it. No basis of any suposed rebellion is apparent, therefore.

To the charges against the Fathers of the Society of Jesus - whom some called fomenters of rebellion and adversaries of the Bishop - it is easier to reply. It is scarcely to be expected of the Ministers of Christ that they should expel from the Church women whom they never thought to have abandoned that love of God which so many of them professed, and in whom there was found no vice meriting such a penalty.

No-one would quenstion  that in confession each one was directed according to the state of her conscience, and the respect due to the Bishop was not lacking. The Bishop himself never made any such complaint. Although he said much to me during his illness at Willunga, including a complaint about the superstitions of the Sisters, he said nothing to others about this, nor did he signify that he was in any way displeased that the ex-Sisters lived together. This accusation, therefore is no better founded than the other.

Since I have mentioned the last days of the Bishop at Willunga, I think I should add a few observations on this subject. In the last months of has life, i.e. three or four, the Bishop hardly ever lived in Adelaide, but moved frequently from one place to another, as he sought relief for his weakened health in various places. Fr. Horan was almost always his sole companion, first at Kapunda, then at Mt. Barker, finally moving to Willunga. The Bishop was in the latter place for many weeks. However, his health changed for the worse. One day he suddenly became worse and when he was advised to recieve the last Sacrament he agreed, and asked the host, Fr. Quinlan, to call me (I was never his confessor). By the time I arrived the danger seemed to have passed, and there was no further mention of the last rites, because it was thought he would soon recover. However I remained with him for two days and often conversed with him, for, Fr. Horan  had gone to Kapunda. On the second day he often talked of absetn things as though in a daze, but whenever he was asked about anything he replied clearly, so that it appeared certain that he understood perfectly - though a little later, if left to himself, he returned to his previous train of thought. He always repeated pious exactly.

During  these days many priests were there and some were always with him, especially Fr. Nowlan, who could scarcely ever be removed from him and who was clearly guarding the Bishop for some purpose. Hence it happened that others who were not of this faction, suspecting some sinister intention, began to guard the Bishop's room, and so there were almost always two parties with him, except at night, when there was usually only one. I heard Fr. Murphy say that the mind of the Bishop was incapable of putting anything together. I did not know then to what he was referring. It seemed to me that his mind was incapable of putting anything together. I did not knowthen what he was referring. It seemed to me that his mind was clear enough to understand a simple question, though not, however, any complicated matter. Afterwards I heard that the Bishop had nominated Fr. C.A Reynolds as Administrator until the Archbishop shopuld make an appointment; it than occured to me that, since this would not please Fr. Murphy, he therefore judged the Bishop to be mentally incapable.

As to the rest, I was not present when the oral nomination was made. However I do not doubt it both on accout of testimony and on account of the singular benevolence which the Bishop showed towards Fr. Reynolds during these days. This was particularly notable to all present in the way in which he imparted the last Blessing on him. Each of us approached his bed and on our knees before him recieved his blessing, which he gave in these words, "God Bless you. [Benedictio Die Omnip (otenti)] etc". When Fr. Reynolds came he placed both hands on his head and said much more than to the others, so that an altogther singular affection was apparent. When I approached he also added something, and when I was asked a blessing for the others Fathers of the Society he gave it also with great benevolence.

I mentioned this because we were accused of being adversaries of the Bishop. If the Most Rev. Bishop had thought so at this time, he would have acted otherwise. Indeed, he now seemed to treat with great indifference those who in the last months had led him into error and in whom he had placed so much trust. He seemed to know now who were his true friends, although they had been forced in conscienceto withhold approval from some of his actions. I remember a noteworthy remark which he made in the presence of many. Fr. Horan asked the Bishop whether he knew him, he replied "Yes." "Who am I?"  He replied, " You are the Father who does all the great things." Father Horan left the room at once, evidently confused but understanding the irony of the words.

Since many conflicting accounts have circulated regarding the last days of the Bishop, I thought it valuable to state those things which I saw myself, and what I heard him say. I could not stay until the day he died; others can be referred to for what followed.

After Fr. Reynolds ws confirmed in office by the Most Reverand Archbishop, he restored the religious habit of those Sisters who had been dispensedand permitted them to renew their vows according to the first Rule, so that they might live under the original form of Government. His enemies condemned this as being done in contempt of the deceased Bishop. Most careful consideration provides no warrant for such a conclusion.

The Bishop himself had begun to correct his mistakes, having of his own accord removed the excommunication; thus removing the injury done, no doubt he desired to repair the injury inflicked on others in the same way and, since it was no longer possible for him to do so himself, it had to be done by his successor. Besides, the Institute of the Sisters was not abolished or changed by any public etc: the majority of the Sisters throughout the Diocese continued to live according to the Rule, with the knowledge of the Bishop. Therefore the Institute still existed integrally as it had been approved, since it could not be destroyed by the dispensations and dismissals of some of the Sisters; it would be plainly absurd to dismiss the Sisters against whom no fault or impediment had been been proven. The least that can be said is that the restoration was too quick, because it gave enemies a pretext for complaint. But this reasoning will hardly serve, since innocent Sisters who have ben deprived of thier rights for an even longer period, therefore, almost all the Sisters who had been dispersed began to ree-assembe and to work to restore the original Order, they opened new schools, and reopened some which they had formerly abandoned. And so things stand at the present.

It seems opportune to express some opinion regarding the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joesph. My view, gained through diligent observation from the commencement of the Institute, is that no more suitable means can be found for imparting religious education to the poor and middle classes than the Institute of the Sisters, because secular teachers generally neither have spirit of piety, nor can content themselves with small wages on which the Sisters can support themselves even in the poorest country towns.  

The difference between the pupils of the Sisters and those the seculars as regards piety was everywhere to be seen to the notable, and in the mind of the Church this gain in religion and quiet is greater than secular knowledge. I have known many schools which I find outstanding. I also know that other Pastors highly approve of them. I know that a considerable proportion of the Sisters possess more than ordinary education, and only a few who are used for domestic work are inferior in education: the outcries, therefore, about the ignorance of the Sisters are either exaggerations or imagination.

The Sisters are also very useful in visiting the Sick and exhorting them to penance and reception of the Sacrament, also indeed persuading sinners to go to confession. I have seen examples where people away from the Sacrament for many years were reconciled through their help. I myself have heard the confession of one way for fourteen years which brought about the help of the Sisters and the children in thier school. Many such examples can be given. Much work for the salvation of souls which the Pastor cannot do, either because he cannot obtain access or because the cirmumstances of the time and place do not permit it, can be done through the Sisters and is so done. It is well known how useful  thay are in orphanages and Institutions of this kind; hence I pass over these. To sum up, I regard it as certain that the Institute of the SIsters of St. Joseph, if it is well directed, can cecome a most effiecent instrument.

In conclusion, I offer various recommendations. First there should be much greater care of the Novitiate; in the Rule, too much should be changed, not indeed regarding the essentials and the spirit, but as regards detail. Some matters are too vague, and are more suited to an ascetical exhortation than to a Rule, which should be clear and moderate so that it can be observed by all, and not be perfect people only.

Again, the form of government should be determined much more clearly and stictly. With regard to the mode of election to offices, similarly, the law and procedures for active and passive votes should be detailed, fopr otherwise confusion and disputes are unavoidable. Considering the nature of the Institute, whose members are for the most part spread through the country areas and surrounded by the spirit of the world, it seems to be absolutely necessary that there be a more strict central unity and a strong rule on the part of the Superiors, both General and Provincial, so that threatening abuse can be removed, perhaps not so necessary in religious familes who live permanenly in greater numbers in the same house, and who can thus more easily preserve the religious spirit; in houses where two, three or four Sisters often live alone in remote areas, this cannot be done without the greater care.

But if this is done, if the Bishops help the Superiors of the Sisters with thier power and authority and provide suitable Spiritual Fathers, the greatest gain to the Church and the salvation of souls will come, I firmly trust, from the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
J. Tappeiner SJ


[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, fols 1414 - 1415v. Original in Latin (Almost certainly from Tappeiner? It follows his  testimony immediately, in the same writing and on the same type of paper [BCJ])

While the Bishop was in Rome at the same time of [First Vatican] Ecumencial Council, scandal occured in the Kapunda District. Fr. Keating OSF was accused of sexual offence in the Confessional, committed frequently and with many. Having examined the Matter Fr. J. Smyth VG judged Keating guilty of the offence and oredered him to return to Europe. The matter had been discoveredby the Sisters of St. Joseph and brought to Fr. Woods and, through him, to the Vicar General. Fr. Horan was then the companion and Superior of Fr. Keating  and they were of the same Order of St. Francis; he himself was judged by the Vicar General to have been not altogether free of fault, even if oly turning a blind eye. The Reverend VG declared that he would send them both home [back to Europe], unless he ascertained a contary intention of the part of the Bisshop.

This was the begining of the hatred of Fr. Horan for Fr. Woods and the Sisters. It was gradually communicated to other priests, and it was fanned by Fr. Woods imprudent and too imperios management of school affairs when he was Director General of Schools and other Sisters. In such a way had been prejudged the minds of even the best priests when the investigation regarding the Blessed Sacrament was held, one in which Fr. Horan ws the first principle interrogator, so constituted by Archdeacon Russell, the then Administrator. In that investigation, however, the Institute was not under examination. In the beginning Fr. Wood protested against the position of Fr. Horan, since he acted from personal motives on account of the Fr. Keating matter, his protest was not admitted. We were all called  'nominatim' to the investigation by the 'Administrator' . This was not, a spontaneous meeting of the priests but an official one, and we testified to nothing except our opinion regarding the fact of the remval of the Blessed Sacrament, It was therefore a maliciuos perversion of the truth when he who presided affirmed that those who signed their names were adversaries of the Sisters. 

Another Document handed to the Bishop after his return certainly treats of the Sisters. Composed by Fr. Horan  and signed in the same frame of mind as the first, if not worse, it was directed more against the administration than against the Sisters themselves, i.e. against the mose rather than substance. It is to be noted that at the time Fr. Woods and Nowlan were intimate friends, and thus somewhat distant from others, all of which certainly caused a greater aversion. Fr. Nowlan often made difficulties for the Administrator, and refused to submit in ways which were clearly contrary of the law of the Church. A great dispproval of all this flowed over onto Fr. Woods who, as his friend, was thought to approve of his actions. From the facts, therefore, it became clearer how men of otherwise diverse charactor could sign the same document.

Regarding the conduct of Fr. Horan and Nowlan certain facts need to be noted. Both together were reported to the Bishop by Byrne, who was then in charge at Kapunda, for having gone about in a carriage with a woman, even after dark. Fr. Nowlan was then accused of that, while he was in Port Adelaide, he used to walk to the hotel, arm in arm with a woman late at night. The Bishop himself mentioned to me that Fr. Nowlan had gone about in a carriage with a woman when he was at Sevenhill, and added that the informant did not carry enought weight to justify the launching of an investigation. As I heard it, the matter was taken to the Bishop, and on his Direction Fr. Nowlan was forced to sell the carriage.

He imprudently attacked a man in the Church, for which he was fined in the Civil Courts. This was excused by some, but on reflection it can be judged to be very impudent and the product of a disturbed mind. Without any reason he often publicly denied Communion to those seeking it, and when he was officially questioned by the Archdeacon, to whom an official complaint had been made, he replies that he acted on the direction of the Bishop, and gave no other justification. The matter was such that the Bishop could not direct him. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding and he intended something else. Another priest saw him in secular dress, without collars, wearing a white waistcoast and *     * in cirmumstancesof time and place which would make impossible any reasonable explanation of this change of dress.  Again, his acts agaist the Sisters during the absence of Fr. Woods were not simple offences agaist Charity: they were inhuman and cruel. In a public sermon he attacked the SIsters while they had to sit close by; he would not allow them to absent themselves from the semons: he would not allow others to hear their confessions; when they asked a dispensation so that they could at least go to confession he replied that he could dispense them, but that  he wished to hold them as long as it pleased him; and many other things of this nature. I have never witnessed a like torture of conscience. There were strong rumours about money matters to the effect that he had appropriated for himself what belonged to the Church. But I do not know if these were sufficiently proven. The opinion was, however, wildely shared.

When agitations against the Administrator began either directly or indirectly, north Adelaide was the original source, and this certainly could not have happened without Fr. Nowlan's knowledge or against his wishes. He had a body of a man, secular, to defend him; before he was accused he sent men of his congregation to the celebrated funeral oration, to which he himself went with so much haste that it was clear that he was among those who were agitating against the Administrator. The whole  present ferment was, without doubt. partly fomented by him. For the rest he was praiseworthy as a Pastor, assiduously promoting the good of the Church and the religion in the pulpit, in the confessional and with the sick.

So much was rumoured concerning  Fr. Horan' against both Chastity and temperance that it is scarcely necessary to enumerate it all: that he had brought drunken woman to his home, and she was constantly there, that he had indecencies with the Sisters themselves; that he washed himself naked in public baths with laymen; there with other priests he vomited, so that a message was sent to the Govenor not to come at that time as the place was dirty because of drunken priests, that he was ordered to leave an hotel for disturbing the peace; that at the Pier Hotel  in Glenelg, things similar to what happened at the public baths had occured; that a great commotion had been caused at a hotel in Willunga on the very night of the death of the Bishop; that he had gone to the beach in the Bishop's carriage on Sunday for a swim, while the body of the Bishop lay in the Cathedral with *     * . The seditious funeral oration given by this priest, and others in which the rebellion of the people was fostered, and is still being fostered, are so well known that merely to mention them is enought.

From Easter until Palm Sunday he was often absent, either in the City or a the beach, so that there was no sermons at Kapunda; the school about which he professed himself to be anxious, disclaiming  against the Sisters, was never visited. I have seen letters from the people at Kapunda in which they bitterly complain about all sorts of neglect. Influenced by these facts and perhaps others, the Administrator, with agreement of his consultors, though it necessary to impose silence on these men through whom so many evils were brought on the diocese, so that the spirit might be suppressed.

                                                          Evidence of Father Ambrose Nowlan OSA, 10 June 1872

[Source: Archivesof Progaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol 1000, fols 1403 - 1405. Original in Latin]

I have been in the Diocese for four years, working either in or near the City. I gave certain documents to the Bishop concerning changes in the Institute. In these it was proposed that each Convent was subject to the local priest. The Bishop wished to give himself the sole power to transfer Sisters from one place to another, and also to compel a Convent to recieve the Sisters of another.

I do not know whether the Bishop wrote any Rule. He desired these things, he had it always in mind until the Sisters began to resist. So far as I know, the Bishop did not write a Rule nor entrust such a task to others.

I do not know whether the Bishop sent a written document to the Sisters regarding the changes to be made in the Institute, nor do I know whether the Sister in charge of the Sisters wrote to the Bishop asking that she might know what changes would be made, so that she might submit herself if the substance of the Rule were not affected. Likewise I do not know whether they asked permission to dispense if they werre not able to keep the essentials of the Institute Rule. I have knowledge of one document Sister Mary sent to the Bishop in which she complained and approached the Bishop that destroying the work to which Fr. Woods had given so much time. When the Bishop recieved the letter, he asked that I come to the Convent with him. I saw Sister Mary.

The Bishop reprimanded her for writting to him in a matter which relatedto the good of the Diocese, and because she had judged his action to be injurious to the Diocese since it was contrary the actions of Fr. Woods, he warned her that he, and not Fr. Woods, was the Bishop. It was certain that the Bishop thought of suppressing the Institute before the excommunication, on account of particular acts of disobedience. The Bishop did not wish to supress but to emend the Institute.

We tolerated the Sisters' continuing to teach under the old Rule, but I wanted to have seculars teaching as soon as possible. I had the power to release the Sisters from their vows, and they were to remove the habit before leaving the Convent; this is what was done in my schools.

I wish to indicate to your Lordship that Dr. Sheil, when he went to Rome on the last occasion, asked me especially to help the DIrector of Education (Fr. Woods) in his work, to the best of my ability. Obeying  this wish, I worked with Fr. Woods and I consulted him if anything of any moment regarding the schools should occur. Consequently I alienated myself from many of the priests of the Diocese by constantly affirming that I could do nothing to direct any change in the schools before the return of the Bishop.

The were many complaints that the schools would not respond to the priests' wishes. Certainly my schools in Port Adelaide would not have flourished as well as they did except for my care and direction in thier regard, something which I think was neglected by other priests, despite its necessity. Indeed I was at the school almost daily and for hours, hence my schools were better than others in the Diocese.

When I was transferred elsewhere, many things introduced by me but not in conformity with the rules of the schools were abolished. I understand Dr. Sheil gave authority in the schools to Fr. Woods alone by constituting him Director General of the Schools. But he was to visit the schools so as to judge the aptitude of Fr. Woods for so great a duty, and to assess the state of the schools. When he had done this, His Lordship stated that he would change the system: the priest were to be the Superior of the schools and would have the religious under their direction; they would render an account to him of the good and bad state of the schools.

When he visited the schools the manifest ineptitude of many of the teachers did not escapre him, and he complained that Fr. Woods did not require greater knowledge in the teachers or at least an aptitude for acquiring it, since without these they could not teach: to teeach in schools is, of course, the first object of the Sisters. Understanding that well, he found many suitable for this duty and he wholeheartedly approved; but he found it otherwise in other places, hence he said they were not to be admitted because the object of the Institute would thus for the most part be neglected. since however he understood that the power given to Fr. Woods had been abused, his Lordship said Fr. Woods had power in the Bishops name; he wished to retain all the Sisters as they were, but some would teach religion and the rest would be used for various works. The former would teach, being unqualified for it, were to do domestic work and serve, and be content with the lot to which they are called by God.

The local priest was to give a report on both schools and teachers. Hence he alone would direct them, he alone would hear confessions, so that he might have greater responsibility for schools. He wished each Convent to have a Superior, and they be subject to the priest, who would be to them  as the Bishop. Only at the request of the priest could the Superior or another Sister be removed or changed by the Bishop. The reason for this is that the priest is called the Director, but he does not regulate their consciences. Hence some Superiors prohibited Sisters from discussing with ordinary confessor matters which certainly were related to conscience. As a result the authority of the priest was lessened, in the eyes of the Sisters, as if he were to ignorant of the ways of God, and as if they preferred their own judgment to his. The Bishop thought all this to be the root of many evils, and injurious to the dignity of the priests. It was also injurious that frequent transfers were made in the Schools: the costs outweighted the benefits, and this was contary to the poverty which the Sisters professed.

These were the changes namely: the Bishop was to be thier immediate Superior; the Sisters. according to their aptitudes were to be divided into teaching and non-teaching, there was to be no Mother House which would unite the Sisters should haver an occupation and not to be idle: those suitable were to engage in manual work; before admission, applicants were to be approved personally by the Bishop. These were the changes that the Bishop wished to make. But some or all the Sisters together resisted the changes, and this eventually led to the excommunication of the Sister Mary and in time, to the dissolution of the whole comuniity.

I know that the Bishop approved the Rule. However he did not therefore think that he was precluded from making those changes which, as the Bishop, he thought necessary for the good of the Diocese. Since the rule did not have any maker other than the Bishop, since it derived whatever power it had from its conformity with the direction of the Bishop, and since from experience he would know what had to be changed, he wished unhesitatingly to remove what inclined to ruin rather than edification, as he had learned by experience and observation.

I may be permitted to observer. What would I have done in the circumstances? Everything inclines me against intruding my opinion; but I would carry out the will and desires of the Bishop with diligence and exactitude and I would ensure that it was so done by others in order to defend the authority of the Bishop in everything, being firmly persuaded that he is the judge of  these matters, having been placed by the Spirit to the rule the Church of God in this part of the vineyard.

Regarding the Sisters and the religious Community, the first conclusion of the Bishop was that those who had no aptitude for the object of the Institute and for the teaching order were recieved without discrimination. Moreover, the Sisters were by no means deeply instructed in the principles of Christian life, nor were they directed along the path of sublime perfection. They seemed to be directed in a certain supernatural way: there were diabolic visitations, visions and prophetic admonitions: these and similar things were the Rule for thier direction, so that they fell into superstition and spiritual pride. Hence a most severe beginning, gradually declining into levity, degenerated matters to the point where all religious observations were deprived of thier due gravity and majesty.

Worthy of note is the great estimation which the SIsters had for Fr. Woods and the priests who he favoured. I was of this number. Thier speech was otherwise towards other priests, and as I hear, so was their mode of acting. Dr. Sheil bore this with difficulty and desired to remedy it. Dr. Sheil indicated that if Fr. Woods had been present at the time of the disturbances he could have used his authority with the Sisters to have the changes easily brought about. This would indicate, as Dr. Sheil said, that the Sisters would obey Fr. Woods rather than himself, the Bishop of the Diocese. He feared that this attitude would be communicated to the young people in the schools, that authority would be forgotten and obedience would degenerate into salvation in matters of much moment. He complained also that, inspired by mysticism, they neglected thier common religious obligation. He feared the effect of these things so much that, having called the Sisters together (if I have rightly understood his words), he forbade them to talk about mystical matters, visions etc., declaring that what had happened of this kind among them should be held as illusion.

The Bishop was of the opinion that Fr. Woods was a kind of a like inclination and that, trusting in the effects of a heightened imagination and at a time when his spirit was over-excited, he had communicated a similar spirit to the Sisters, by which they would (unless protected by divine Providence) give an opening to the temptation by expecting miracles and their ilk without valid vision. The Bishop found that there had been a lack of due candour in matters of great importance e.g. money was taken for constructing buildings, and he was not informed of the removal of the Blessed Sacrament (a most grave matter and one which should have been made known to him, but which was treated with silence by Fr. Woods until the person herself admitted it in writting before witnesses). A great distrust now succeeded the confidence he had with Fr. Woods, and the actions of the Sisters in voluntarily resisting him engendered in him a fear of evil consequences.

I submit this, being persuaded in my conscience that I am fulfilling a duty of my deceased Father and Prelate. I have abstained from more vehement expressions, being mindful of those in whose presence I am.

This is the sum of virtually everything I heard from the Bishop's own lips.

FIRST REPORT of Bishops Daniel Murphy of Hobart Town and Matthew Quinn of Bathurst [in Adelaide]  to Barnabo' in Rome. 17 June 1872

[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome: SOCG 1873 vol. 1000, 1325 - 27v. Original in Latin]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bishop's House, Adelaide
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    17 June 1872

Your Eminence,
We arrived at Port Adelaide, seven miles from the city, on the evening of Corpus Christi, 30th May last. There with four priests to receive as was the Very Rev. Christoper Augustine Reynolds, the interim Administrator of the Doicese. He brought us to the Bishop's house, where he treated us with great hospitality and gave us every help in bringing to a happy conclusion the difficult investigation which it has pleased the Holy Father to assign to us. On the following day we made our preparations to begin the investigation and on the very next day we began. Since we finished  this investigation only yesterday, we can give no more today than a brief summary of it and of our findings.

It appears that right up to last September, i.e. five months before his death, Bishop Sheil not only continued to laud the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph both publicly and in private but, further, never lost an opportunity to point out all the great benefit that it brought to the Diocese. At that time he completly and suddenly changed with regard to the Sisters. He excommunicated the Mother Superior, Sister Mary, sent them all away from the Convent and gave it to the Dominican Sisters who were living nearby. He expelled some of the Institute, dispensed others from thier vows and left others, especially those in the country school, in a state of uncertainty. All of the Sisters in the city who were allowed to retain thier habit rented a poor house, were they went to stay. But before long even these were sent out into the world. some took employment as governesses in private homes. Others took whatever employment was offering at the time, and with the money they earned, maintained the rest of the Sisters, who lived together without their habit in a private house given to them by a Jewish person whose daughter that had converted to the faith. Sister Mary kept herself apart and never appeared in public. From the time the Bishop's attitude changed towards the Sisters until some weeks before his death he was entirely under the influence of the priests Horan and Nowlan, of whom Your Eminence makes mention, and of two or three priests of their party. Unfortunately the Bishop had an exaggerated opinion of the merits of Horan, both because he had a talent and because he was a member of the same religious Order, and he made him the principle intermediary between himself and the Sisters. There can be no doubt that the Rev. Father Horan abused his position, exaggerating - not to say falsifying - the acts, the words and the feelings of the Sisters towards the Bishop. Here is to be found in our opinion the true cause of the excommunication of Sister Mary and of the other harsh measures taken against the Institute of St. Joseph by the Bishop, who (whatever other fault he may have had) was "in the opinion of all" rather tenderhearted and a singular benvolence.

Shortly before his death the Bishop repented of having excommunicated Sister Mary and of his harsh acts against the Institute  of St. Joseph. Indeed, he gave a commision to Rev. Peter Hughs (alumnus of Propaganda) to lift the excommunication from Sister Mary. He had Rev. Father Reynolds called and asked him to stay with him. In fact he stayed and said Mass in the Bishop's room every day during the last week of his life and gave him Holy Communion often. The Bishop appointed Rev. Father Reynolds orally (he had no strenght to write)  to the post of Administrator of the Diocese after his death and gave him orders to re-establish Sister Mary as Superior of the Institute of St. Joseph. The Bishop not having however, made mention in his will of the administration of the Diocese after his death, the Archbishop of Sydney believed the oral appointment might be invalid, so himself formally nominated Rev. Father Reynolds Administrator until the Holy See should provide otherwise.

So long as matters remained in that state, the disturbance caused by the excommunication of Sister Mary and the dispersal of the Sisters would never be forgotten. But on Palm Sunday the priest Horan ill-advisedly took advantage of the absence of the Administrator in a country parish on church matters to deliver in the Cathedral what he called a funeral sermon on the Bishop (already some weeks buried), but which was nothing but cruel abuse of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

This sermon gave much scandal  in the other colonies that it had the saddest effect on the people of Adelaide. The most intelligent were scandalized and the leat intelligent , believing inplicitly in the priest in the pulpit, because antagonistic towards the Sisters, producing serious divisions between among the people. The Administrator  (some days after the sermon, and with a complete accord of the council) took away the facilities of the Diocese from the priests of their party against the Sisters and the Administrator increased the division. Since our arrival the division has began to ease, notably beacuse the people gave great faith in the Holy. See and trust in the prompt and effective remedies that it has provided for the good. There is by now little discussion of the Sisters. But divisions remain among the priestrs. Several among them, as generally happens in such circumstances, took sides with the Bishop when he was under the influence of Horan and Nowlan, epecially those who lived in his house at that time and, being so opposed to the Sisters, now took sides with those priests. If it were not for these cirmumstances Horan and Nowlan would have had none on thier side but a certain priest ( A Chapuchin by the name of Henderson, whose life was not exemplary), and two or three others.

Rev. Father Reynolds is truly respectable priest and has twenty years of experience as a missionary in the Diocese. Since he was nominated Administrator he has always taken his Council's advise on major matters and has conducted himself with prudence and firmness in exceedingly difficut cirmumstances in which he found himself. Since our arrival we have confirmed him in the office of Administrator, we now have practical knowledge of his difficulties and he has increasingly grown in our esteen. In view of the division  among the clergy, however, we leave it to your Eminence to decide if it would be more prudent to appoint to the Episcopal See of Adelaide someone who is a stranger to the Diocese, and to its divisions. Leaving this the prudence of Your Eminence, we strongly sugenst that a Bishop be appointed as soon as possible for this Diocese, and that orders be given to the Superiors of Horan, Nowlan and Henderson to recall them to thier monasteries immediately.

We humbly recommend these measures in the belief that they will produce calm and restore peace and consolation to a truly good people. We will leave to more lenghty report - which we hope to be able to send Your Eminence by the next post. The evidence taken by us on the financial state of the Diocese because it had little to do with this communication. Further, we have not taken evidence on the tendency the Bishop was said to have towards intemperance because, his death intervening, we believe we interpreted the mind of Your Eminence in not pronoucing on this painful subject. All the priests speak of him with the greatest respect and veneration.

Asking Your Eminence to offer the Holy Father our veneration and our humble homage, we beg your Holy blessing. Asking the Lord to long preserve Your Eminence for the good work  of the Church, we are Your Eminence's most humble and devoted servants.

+ Daniel Murphy
Bishop of Hobart - Town.

+ Matthew Quinn
Bishop of Bathurst

FINAL REPORT of the Apostolic Commissioners Daniel Murphy (Bishop of Hobart -Town and Matthew Quinn (Bishop of Bathurst) 10 July 1872

[Source: Archives of Propaganda Fide, Rome. SOCG 1873 vol 1000, 1359-1377v. Original in Italian and Latin. { 1359-1375 form a series numbered
1-17 at top. 1376-1377 completes body of report on a different (and mauve) paper type. This type of paper ends with 1382 BC)}

(FInal Report of the Apostolic Commissoners Daniel Murphy (Bishop of Hobart-Town) and Matthew Quinn (Bishop of Bathurst) regarding Bishop of Adelaide of happy memory, Bishop of Adelaide, and the Sisters of St. Joseph and other matters to which the Holy See has been pleased to draw their attention in this Diocese. 10 July 1872. 


Previously elected as Secretaries:
R.P [ Reverendissime Pater: Rev. Father/ Maher, for English language.
R.P  John Nepomucence Hinteroecker S.J, for Latin. (who having unfortunately fell ill)
R.P Antony Stele SJ