The Missioning, October 30, 1856
No sooner was the date of departure set than preparations for the journey began. When it became publicly known that the mission was accepted, response from clergy and friends was mixed. Many could not see the necessity of this remote mission and their congratulations were less than wholehearted. Others came and encouraged the missionaries. Monsieur Billandèle, Superior of the Seminary of St. Sulpice, inspired them saying, “You are truly the Sisters of Providence since in your generosity, you start without knowing whether you will have any roof over you save the blue vault of heaven.” Nonetheless, the sisters received many visitors who brought gifts to establish the mission, such as relics for veneration and books for their spiritual reading and library.
The journey the sisters were about to undertake was long and dangerous. At a gathering at the motherhouse on October 30, the sisters received their mandate. Jean Charles Prince, Bishop of St. Hyacinthe and uncle of Sister Praxedes of Providence, placed the mandate in the hand of Sister Joseph, their Superior. He blessed the five sisters saying,
Go, my dear Daughters, to make the Holy Trinity honored. You are happy to make a sacrifice in favor of that poor, forsaken land. Were there but one soul to be saved, you should not hesitate. Fear nothing. The Angels of those poor people will accompany you.
Then addressing his niece, Sister Praxedes, he said, “My dear niece, I am happy to offer you at this moment in the hope that, through you, I shall contribute to the mission of the Bishop [Blanchet] who has suffered so much for that country.”
After this ceremony, Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal and founder of the religious community, gave each of the sisters a small wooden cross made from a tree planted in France by St. Vincent de Paul, a principal patron of the Sisters of Providence. Before leaving the sisters, he read to them additional text of their missioning. It was at this time that Sister Joseph received the extension to her name - "of the Sacred Heart" - by which she is so well known today.
The original decree (translated in this article) by Bishop of Montreal, Ignace Bourget, blessing the new “Community of Oregon” and transferring governance to the Bishop of Nesqually, A.M.A. Blanchet.
Entrance of the Postulants, Oct. 28, 1856
A Vow of Perfection, Nov. 1, 1856
Bishop Ignace Bourget Mandate, 1856. Provincial Administration Collection. Providence Archives, Seattle, Washington
Registre Délibérations du Conseil et Admission des sujets, Tome I, 1840 à 1858. Archives Historiques Providence, Montreal.
The Institute of Providence: History of the Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor Known as the Sisters of Providence, Sisters of Providence of Montreal, vols. II and V (1949).