Historically based novelized journal page 

New York, May 1924

 
St Matthieu

Tomorrow I'll be leaving New York to return to my native Ireland. My heart is so full of both gratitude and sorrow that it's almost at the breaking point.

 

Sixteen years ago Marie de Ste Veronique and I arrived here with little more than a dream of establishing an SMR community in this wonderful city. It is a curious thing that when I was living through all the initial difficulties the days seemed to crawl by and now all those years seem like the blink of an eye.

 

Oh, Countess Leary! You had such a generous heart but such a controlling grip on all you touched! Alas, misunderstandings abounded though not only on your side. The seventeen months we spent in Charlton Street were hard. We experienced poverty, insecurity, even fear like the immigrants among whom we lived.

 

When I couldn't see a way out Your Steadfast Love surrounded us like a shield and prepared us a home: St Leo's on 29th Street. I know every tile, brick, and cupboard of this church, its sacristy and the two houses we added in 1912, one for the community and one, nicely set up, for retreats. Our small community of two became a community of five.  By 1913, we were twenty from five different countries. Our different languages gave us the ability to serve many and also to laugh at ourselves. I can still see the  horrified look on Marie de la Sainte Croix's face when having asked Maria de San Ponciano to get a gateaux (cake) for the retreatant, she appeared with a cat, gato in Spanish! With much prayer, hard work, and good humor, our ministries flourished, retreats, lending libraries, catechism classes,  auxiliaries, associates...You, dear Friend,  anchoring all. During the dark years of World War I Your Presence in this chapel brought consolation to many and invited continual prayer for peace. Bless this house, bless this City!

 

Now somebody is packing my suitcase. You, my Friend, have been packing my heart with memories and gratitude. I am ready.

 

 

Note: After serving in the communities of Ireland for 16 more years, Marie of St Matthieu died in Dublin at the age of 86. Those who were there say that a little smile was playing on her lips. Her last words were "Thank you."