Acts of the Sixteenth Provincial Chapter
of the Province of St. Paul of the Cross
Held in the Retreat of St. Paul of the Cross, Pittsburg, PA.
From August 17th to 24th, 1908.


Promptly on his return from the General Chapter of this year, Very Rev. Father Provincial, Fidelis of the Cross, issued the letter of convocation for the sixteenth Chapter of our Province of St Paul of the Cross—the first since our division from the Western Retreats. This letter is notable, because in it we are reminded that we have, in our Blessed Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin, a new advocate before the throne of God, through whom we may confidently seek His light and guidance.

Accordingly all the Capitular Fathers were assembled in the Retreat of St. Paul of the Cross Pittsburg, on the morning of August 17th, 1908. Their number was increased by the presence of the Very Rev. Father Consultor General, Joseph of our Mother of Mercy, and of Rev. Father Cyprian of the Immaculate Conception, Superior of our recently established Retreat of Blessed Gabriel, Boston, Mass.

After the Divine Blessing had been invoked upon the work of the Chapter through the customary prayers, a letter of Most Rev. Father General, Jeremiah of the Crown of Thorns, was read delegating Very Rev. Father Joseph, Consultor General, as President of the Chapter with the usual power of confirming the elections. The Very Rev. Father thereupon assured the assembled Fathers that it was an occasion of great joy for him to be again in their midst. Credentials were also presented admitting the Rev. Father Cyprian of the Immaculate Conception to the Chapter with the privilege of an active voice.

All then surrendered their seals of office and delivered to the President their letterae patentes.

Very Rev. Theodore of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was chosen Secretary of the preliminary meetings.

The remainder of the first preliminary meeting was occupied in a general inquiry into the spiritual condition of the Province, and in a review of various points bearing on the efficiency of our work abroad. The topics deemed worthy of further consideration and which might form material for new and necessary useful legislation were classified and delivered to several committees by the President.

Some correspondence of direct interest to the Superiors of the Province was read and discussed in the following meeting. Genuine interest was shown in a communication from Very Rev. Father Charles Provincial of Holy Cross Province in which were set forth the opportunities that presented themselves to our Brethren of the West, but their inability, from lack of means and subjects, to take advantage of them. In relation to this matter, the Very Rev. President urged the Fathers to take a benevolent view of this call for relief from the superiors of Holy Cross Province. Among several motives he suggested that would be most gratifying to Father General and very edifying to the rest of the Congregation to witness such proofs of true charity and good will between our two Provinces.

The following letter from Most Rev. Father General Jeremiah was then read and elicited great satisfaction by its wise and practical provisions.

In order to avoid unpleasant misunderstandings, and to promote good order among the Superiors of the various Provinces, and in general for the spiritual welfare of the Religious, I declare:

1st. That the spiritual permissions and faculties granted by my Venerable Predecessors are confirmed.

2nd. That the temporal and material permissions granted by the same are null and void, unless they be confirmed by the competent authority.

3rd. That these confirmations and other similar faculties, will not ordinarily be taken into consideration, unless they be reasonably approved by the lower Superiors, and in particular by the Provincials.

Thus much for good order and due religious discipline.”

At this meeting after taking the oath “de secretis servandis,” the Fathers entered upon the discussion of the merits of those eligible to office. At the start Very Rev. Father Albert, Rector of St. Ann’s Retreat, Scranton, stated that, in the supposition that the Fathers might consider him for office, he wished to inform them that certain provisions he had made, with Father General’s permission, to recuperate his health, made it incompatible for him to resume the charge of a Community.

The preliminary meetings continued for three days, a recess being allowed Wednesday morning to afford time to the various committees for deliberation.

Wednesday afternoon, following vespers, the Capitular Fathers with the Community were addressed in the choir on the qualities of a good Superior. Through a discourse that impressively and clearly defined the origin and end of authority, and the characteristics of firmness for the rights of God and of paternal interest for the needs of the subject, which should dwell in those who bear power, there were none but realized how sacred and responsible a task the Capitular Fathers now had in hand.

In the meeting which followed, the Auditing Committee gave a satisfactory report on the pagella of each retreat, covering the custody of the archives, the celebration of Masses, the inventories and litterae patentes. Concerning the finances of the whole Province they were found to be such as to warrant the hope that before the next Chapter we should have a completed Retreat in honor of Blessed Gabriel at Boston, and a community there following the full observance.


Thursday morning, August 20th, at 7 o’clock the solemn Votive Mass of the Holy Ghost was offered up. Very Rev. Father Provincial, Fidelis, being the celebrant and the Capitular Fathers assuming the other offices of the Mass. Again at 9 o’clock the procession made up of all the Religious in the Retreat formed in the Church and with the singing of the Vexilla Regis advanced to the Chapter-room, the President bearing the cross. All having fervently joined in the prayers customary for the opening, those were formally excluded who had no voice in the Chapter.

Before proceeding to the elections the Very Rev. President addressed the Fathers, again reminding them of the gravity of the work before them, its consequences, and the motives by which they should be actuated. There was a roll-call, of the electors and the following responded:

Very Rev. Father Joseph of our Mother of Mercy, 2nd Consultor General and President.
Very Rev. Father Fidelis of the Cross, Provincial.
Very Rev. Father Justin of the Infant Jesus, 1st Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. Father George of St. Michael, 2d Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. Father Theodore of the Assumption of the B. V. M., Rector, St. Paul’s Retreat, Pittsburg.
Very Rev. Father Basil of Holy Mary, Rector of St. Mary’s Retreat, Dunkirk, N. Y.
Very Rev. Father Bertrand of the Heart of Mary, Rector St. Michael’s Retreat, West Hoboken.
Very Rev. Father Felix of St. Joseph, Rector St. Joseph’s Retreat, Baltimore, Md.
Very Rev. Father Albert of the Cross, Rector St. Ann’s Retreat, Scranton, Pa.
Very Rev. Father Stanislaus of the Most Holy Redeemer, Master of Novices.
Rev. Father Cyprian of the Immaculate Conception, Superior of Blessed Gabriel’s Retreat, Boston, Mass.

Again the Fathers called for light and aid in the unctuous words and strains of the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus.

To the formal inquiry of the President whether the Fathers considered the Chapter formally assembled, all replied in the affirmative. Proceeding according to our usual form and the prescription of the Sacred Canons, the acts of humility and mortification were performed, followed by the absolutio ad cautelam, and the decree of the Holy Office and the prescribed chapter from the Council of Trent were read. The Very Rev. Father Theodore of the Assumption of B. V., was elected by secret ballot Capitular Secretary. Very Rev. Father Bertrand of the Heart of Mary and Rev. Father Cyprian of the Immaculate Conception were elected scrutineers, and the balloting for the office of Provincial began forthwith.

There was not much delay until the choice of the Fathers fell upon Very Rev. Father Stanislaus of the Most Holy Redeemer, whose election was duly formulated and published by the Secretary. The Father promptly acquiesced but with evident emotion, disclaiming all personal merit and ability, and begged the Fathers in return to choose as his Consultors those who should be real aids and counselors to him. The Community was summoned and manifested sincere joy as they offered him the customary acts of homage and professed their obedience.

All then withdrew to the Church, the Te Deum was solemnly chanted and Benediction given by the newly elected Provincial.


The second session opened with prayer at 3 P. M. During this session the Fathers balloted in vain to fill the office of 1st Consultor and they adjourned at an early hour more solito.


The third session opened Friday at 8:30 A. M., and after considerable balloting the votes centered on the Rev. Father Paul Joseph of the Five Wounds, a member at the time of our Blessed Gabriel Retreat, Boston, Mass. The decree of his election was duly promulgated, and the President notified him by wire. Subsequently word came from the Rev. Father describing his surprise and confusion and announcing that he would be on his way promptly to meet the Fathers and deliberate with them before accepting. The remainder of the session was spent in balloting for a 2d Consultor but without the desired result.


The fourth session began at 3 P. M. Friday. On the first ballot Very Rev. Father Albert of the Cross was chosen 2d Consultor and the Secretary published the decree of his election. The Father feelingly expressed his gratitude to the electors, and in view of the lighter cares attached to the office as compared with the charge of a community, decided to accept.

It is opportune to record here that the Fathers were requested by the newly elected Provincial not to consider the Very Rev. Father Justin of the Infant Jesus as a candidate for any of the remaining canonical offices. Father Provincial having expressed his confidence in Father Justin’s ability and experience and requested him to take charge of our new foundation at Boston, Father Justin acquiesced in the matter.

Only a few ballots were required to fill the important office of Master of Novices, and the choice of the Fathers fell upon Rev. Father Clement of St. Peter, Vice-Rector at the time of our Retreat of St. Joseph, Baltimore. The decree of his election was formally published and the Rev. Father then was notified by telegram. In a short time a message came from him bearing his humble and grateful acceptance.

The Rectorship of the Province were now to be filled and first that of the Novitiate Retreat of St. Paul of the Cross. On the very first ballot Very Rev. Father George of St. Michael received the votes of all the other Fathers. His election was duly published. In his acceptance he remarked that he realized that the Novitiate Retreat is particularly the home of fervor and exact observance, and declared that it would be his aim to hold it up to that standard. The Fathers now sought a Rector for the Retreat of St. Mary, Dunkirk. N.Y. Not immediately did the choice of the Fathers appear, but eventually it fell upon Rev. Father Linus of the Heart of Mary. The Secretary published his election according to form and notification was sent to the Rev. Father at our Retreat of St. Ann, Scranton. He subsequently accepted the office with characteristic modesty.

The next Rectorship to be supplied was that of St. Michael’s, West Hoboken. The balloting was quite protracted. It is well to remark here that one prominent cause for protracted balloting in some of the sessions arose from some of the Capitular Fathers, among them our beloved ex-Provincial, Father Fidelis of the Cross, begging the Fathers not to consider them, once they beheld the votes turning in their favor.

Finally the Very Rev. Father Bertrand of the Heart of Mary was found to have more than the required number of votes and the decree of his election as the Rector of St. Michael’s Retreat was duly promulgated. The Father declared that it had been his sincere hope and expectation to be freed from an office or environment where he had spent all the years of his priesthood, but as the Fathers had persisted in their choice of him, he would not refuse the burden. During the brief time left of this session the Fathers strove to select a Rector for our Retreat of St. Joseph, Baltimore, but without result, and the session was adjourned.


At 8:30 Saturday morning the fifth session opened with the usual prayers. Balloting was resumed for a Rector for our Retreat of St. Joseph, Baltimore.

In order to expedite matters, the recent incumbent, Very Rev. Father Felix of St. Joseph, whom some of the electors had favored, requested the Fathers not to consider him a candidate stating that that was the original determination with which he had come to the Chapter. He begged to remind the Fathers, however, and they approved of his sentiments in the matter, that our Baltimore Retreat with its peculiar charges, needed a particularly strong and capable, man at its head. The balloting proceeded and eventually the choice of the Fathers fell upon the Rev. Fr. Boniface of Jesus, Vice-Rector of St. Ann’s Retreat, Scranton. The decree of his election was formally published and notification sent to him. For our Retreat of St. Ann’s, Scranton, a Rector was easily provided in person of Rev. Fr. Cyprian of the Immaculate Conception who was chosen on the third ballot. The decree of his election was, duly promulgated and the Father after expressing his repugnance to handle the large temporal obligations of that Retreat, gratefully acquiesced.


The sixth session opened at 4 P. M. Saturday. A message from Rev. Father Boniface was read conveying his renunciation of the Rectorship of St. Joseph’s, Baltimore, and at the same time his gratitude for the honor of his election. The Fathers thereupon voted to receive his renunciation and set about balloting for one to fill his place. On the first ballot the Rev. Fr. Cornelius of St. Ignatius received the required number of votes, and was duly proclaimed elected by the proper form and decree. Notification was sent him at Blessed Gabriel Retreat.

The reports of the Committees were then called for by the Very Rev. President, and first, that of the Committee on Discipline. After thorough discussion and after some of the topics had been left to be remedied by the more diligent application of the Holy Rule and Regulations, the following conclusions formulated by the Committee were adopted:

Much difficulty having been experienced in the Province for some years past, during the annual retreat of our Communities, caused by the pressure of local and parish work, which has caused the absence of some of the priests from certain of the exercises, the Chapter decrees:—

That the exercises in one house of the Province, said house to be designated by the Provincial, be held a fortnight earlier than the time observed in the other houses of the Province, and to this house, thus designated, let those Religious priests of other houses who would be engaged in such local or parish work be sent, to make the exercises with the Community of the house so chosen, to the end that, returning to their own Monasteries, they may be free for active work when the rest of the Religious are making the regular Retreat.

After some discussion the following was also adopted:—

Since the opinion is current among some that the Director of Students is independent of the Rector in his relations to the students, the Chapter declares that the Rector should be recognized as the one possessing full authority in the Community and should be consulted, especially in what appertains to extraordinary outlays and places of recreations for the students.

At this juncture the Fathers were gladdened by the arrival of Rev. Father Paul Joseph of the Five Wounds. He had not yet come to a decision regarding the 1st Consultorship, but finally yielded, not being able to resist the earnest appeals of the Fathers to abide by the will of God as manifested in their choice of him.

The Committee on matters relating to Holy Cross Province then reported. Their recommendations elicited general approval and revealed in all the Fathers a spirit of benevolence toward our sister Province. One regret pervaded the discussion of this report, namely: that our own encumbrances and the projects to which we had committed ourselves, left us with means altogether out of proportion with our good will. However, it was unanimously resolved:—

1st. That we petition the Holy See for permission to donate to Holy Cross Province the sum of $5,000.00 yearly for a period of ten years.

2nd. That a copy of the Decrees of this Chapter when approved, and containing this resolution be forwarded to Very Rev. Provincial of the Holy Cross Province and to the Rector of each Retreat.

Concerning the transfer of Religious it was resolved to let this matter be discussed and decided at the meeting in the West of the Very Rev. Fathers, the 2d Consultor General and the two Provincials, to be held at the instance of the Most Rev. Father General, Jeremiah. The session adjourned with the customary prayers.

Shortly after the adjournment of this session, a message was received from Rev. Father Cornelius of St. Ignatius, declining the Rectorship of St. Joseph’s Retreat, Baltimore, but thanking the Fathers for the confidence placed in him. At a supplementary session the Fathers voted not to receive his renunciation, this being the second time they were obliged to take such a ballot in regard to the aforesaid Rectorship.


Sunday morning at 8:30 the seventh session opened more solito. Very Rev. Fr. Basil being confined to his room by illness, formally and willingly renounced his vote in the deliberations. The report of the Committee on Missions was then presented by its Very Rev. Chairman. There was a prolonged discussion on this report, and while the Fathers did not deem any alteration in or addition to the Directory of Missions necessary, still, they thought it opportune to issue the following :—

1. As a relief for the divers inconveniences resulting from over-lengthy discourses on our missions, and especially that the time allotted for the evening confessions be not encroached upon, the Ven. Chapter decrees that the evening instruction should not extend over 20 minutes; the evening announcements and sermon not over 50 minutes; the early morning Mass and “motive” not over 45 minutes, and the morning announcements and instruction not over 45 minutes.

2. The Chapter calls attention to chapter 23 of the Holy Rule regarding an instruction on Holy Communion during our missions, interprets it a distinct instruction, and urges the missioners to introduce it on one evening of each week of the mission.

3. The obligation we have toward that large class of people, who must be taught through simple and tangible methods, devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, can, in the opinion of the Chapter, be most satisfactorily fulfilled by teaching and urging them on our missions to make the Stations of the Cross.

4. It having been frequently reported that some of our missioners dwelt on topics during the mission only remotely connected with the Eternal Truths, or the subjects customary with us, the Ven. Chapter earnestly recommends that Very Rev. Father Provincial use peremptory measures against those who attempt to introduce such frivolous and extravagant discourses.

5. The Ven. Chapter declares that our Fathers when engaged in mission work may make use of the Apostolic Indult favore operariorum concerning the abstinence.

6. Since the Office of the Blessed Virgin recited on our missions is a commutation of the ordinary office, the Chapter declares that the missioners should consider themselves obliged to recite it, and should not, for trivial reasons, seek further commutation from it.

7. In compliance with the decree of the late General Chapter, namely, that the several Provincial Chapters must appoint two theologians to act as revisers of all the discourses of our young missionaries, the Chapter unanimously selected the two Consultors, Very Rev. Father Paul Joseph of the Five Wounds, and Very Rev. Father Albert of the Cross to act as examiners.

8. In view of recent covert uses of the mail in a manner seriously injurious to fraternal charity, and subversive of authority, the Chapter unanimously decrees that the penalty of suspension ipso facto incurranda is incurred by any Religious resorting directly or indirectly to the abuse of charity or authority by the sending of such anonymous letters, cards, cartoons or valentines.

Session adjourned at noon.


At 4 P. M. Sunday the Fathers assembled for the eighth session. The report of the Committee on Rectors and Parish Priests and on Sunday Work was duly received. Without formulating any legislation on these matters, all were impressed with the need of firmness and discretion on the part of Superiors that no harm should come through these occupations, to the individual Religious, and that there should be no serious detriment to the choir observance.

Having heard and discussed the report of the proper Committee, the following was adopted:—

The Chapter unanimously approves of the introduction of Passionist Nuns into the United States, and requests Very Rev. Father Consultor General, Joseph, in union with Very Rev. Father Provincial with his Council, to take the necessary steps for this purpose.

The report of the Committee on the Preparatory School having been discussed at length, the following conclusion was arrived at:—

In order to stimulate the students of the Preparatory School in their studies, it is decreed by the Chapter that they submit to a quarterly examination, modeled on that of the Regents, written and oral, the oral examination to be held in the presence of the Rector, and the papers of the written examination to be forwarded to the Very Rev. Fr. Provincial and his Consultors.

The session was adjourned with the usual prayers.


The ninth session began at 9 A. M. Monday.

Rev. Father Cornelius of St. Ignatius, who had been summoned to the Chapter after the Fathers had voted not to receive his renunciation as Rector of St. Joseph’s Retreat, was now introduced to the Chapter, and although he had not entirely succeeded in dismissing his fears and reluctance, upon witnessing the good will of the assembled Fathers and hearing their exhortations, finally acquiesced.

The Fathers then, in compliance with the custom of our Chapters, reviewed the conduct of our Lay Brothers. The conclusion was that no new legislation was called for in their regard. The general report was most satisfactory, indicating fidelity and resignation to their work, promptness in the observance, detachment from the world, and a gratifying submission to their Superiors.

The Very Rev. Father President then asked the Fathers whether they had anything further to propose and they answering in the negative, he inquired further whether they thought it proper now to bring the Chapter to a close, and they replied in the affirmative.

The elections of the Rectors and Master of Novices were duly confirmed by the Very Rev. Father President.

The newly elected made their required profession of faith.

The Fathers at the end expressed their thanks to the Very Rev. Father President for the wise and kindly manner in which he had conducted the deliberations, and begged him to thank Most Rev. Father General for having commissioned him to preside over this XVI Chapter of our Province of St. Paul of the Cross.

The Fathers then affixed their signatures to the Acts of the Chapter as follows:

Very Rev. Father Joseph of our Mother of Mercy, 2nd Consultor General and President.
Very Rev. Father Fidelis of the Cross, Provincial.
Very Rev. Father Justin of the Infant Jesus, 1st Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. Father George of St. Michael, 2d Provincial Consultor.
Very Rev. Father Theodore of the Assumption of the B. V. M., Rector St. Paul’s Retreat, Pittsburg.
Very Rev. Father Basil of Holy Mary, Rector of St. Mary’s Retreat, Dunkirk, N. Y.
Very Rev. Father Bertrand of the Heart of Mary, Rector St. Michael’s Retreat, West Hoboken.
Very Rev. Father Felix of St. Joseph, Rector St. Joseph’s Retreat, Baltimore, Md.
Very Rev. Father Albert of the Cross, Rector St. Ann’s Retreat, Scranton, Pa.
Very Rev. Father Stanislaus of the Most Holy Redeemer, Master of Novices.
Rev. Father Cyprian of the Immaculate Conception, Ex privilegio S. Cong.. Episcop. et Reg.

Theodore of the Assumption B.V.M.