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1The interior aim of the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom is the acquisition of Divine Wisdom. The exterior aim is threefold, in keeping with the talents of its members: 1. the instruction of children in charitable schools, both in the town and in country places; 2. the proper care of the poor, whether in hospitals or not, sick or not, incurable or not; 3. the conducting of retreat houses to which the Sisters may be called.
2As all the Sisters have their particular aptitudes, the Superior assigns them accordingly to various charges at the end of their novitiate year. However, should this time prove insufficient to reveal their aptitudes, their assignment may be deferred for several years.
3My dear daughters, beware of the temptations of the evil spirit with regard to the end you should have in view on entering community life.
41 Do not take for principal end either your personal comfort or the practice of charity towards your neighbour. You should not aim at a life of natural or even interior repose, according to the inclinations of nature, because obedience, which often prescribes exterior duties contrary to your taste, will thus upset your plans. It would also be a mistake to make charity towards your neighbour your chief end, for if in time you were not engaged in serving your neighbour, you would become troubled, sad, and discouraged. If, however, your primary purpose is your own sanctification achieved by the accomplishment of the will of God as indicated by obedience, then you will remain at peace, no matter what happens.
52 Since our Lord commands us not to think of the morrow, not only with regard to our corporal, but especially our spiritual needs, do not deliberately think of what might happen to you in the future regarding the kind of life you have chosen. Consider these thoughts of a possible and conditional future as subtle temptations of the devil who wants you to lose heart by showing you a long succession of years to be spent in silence, penance, obedience, and poverty. His aim is to make you lose your peace of soul or at least your time, by inspiring idle imaginings of things which do not as yet exist and may never come to pass. These contingencies are, for example, "If my father or mother were to die, what would I do? If this person, this Superior, this Director should leave, what Would become of the house?"
63 You may be sure that the devil will tempt you in a thousand ways, either before or after profession, to make you change your resolves and the purposes for which you work. He will magnify and increase your fears, difficulties and dislikes. He will arouse your passions and darken your understanding. Finally, he will resort to all kinds of diabolical tricks in order to make you change your mind. But you will be victorious and happy if you disclose your difficulties to your Director and your Superior and obey them blindly.
71 Only respectable young girls or widows from the age of sixteen to forty are received among the Daughters of Wisdom. Persons too old or too infirm are not accepted.
82 Poor and rich alike are received, provided their intentions are good and their vocation sincere, that is, if they are docile and poor in spirit.
93 No money or board is required of them; however, should they bring money, it is accepted as an alms and placed in the common purse to supply the needs of the whole community.
104 Boarders, i.e. girls or women who have no intention of making profession, are rarely accepted; but, in extraordinary cases, if an exception is made in favour of some person of great merit, these persons are required to follow all the common rules without exception and no board is required of them.
115 The novices and boarders may leave the house only in case of urgent necessity and with a special permission of the Superior. If there is no chapel in the community, they go out to hear holy Mass and receive the Sacraments. They do not assume charge of, or burden themselves with, temporal affairs. However, if they are involved in any temporal matters before entering the novitiate or becoming boarders, they must terminate them before being admitted. If, after their entrance, they should acquire temporal goods, they do not manage them personally but entrust their administration to some competent secular person.
126 The first novitiate begins with the taking of the habit and lasts at least one year. It may be prolonged if the disposition of the novice requires it. During the novitiate the novices are trained in the practice of every virtue to rid them of their bad habits, evil inclinations, changing moods, and their smallest imperfections. Therefore, the Mistress of novices trains them in the practice of obedience, silence, modesty, mortification, meditation, contempt of world and self.
137 The second novitiate lasts at least a year, during which period, apart from the time devoted to the exercises of piety common to the community, they apply themselves according to their attitudes to the study of proper methods of teaching catechism, conducting elementary schools, and the arts of reading and writing, as well as manual skills.
14Beware of the different temptations by which the evil spirit tries to ensnare novices. Having been unable to prevent their entrance into the novitiate by using worldly relatives, selfish friends, vain fears, human respect and by suggesting a thousand false reasons against entering, he tries to nullify the effect of this step, which is the sanctification of the person concerned:
1 by showing her what she has left in the world;
2 by making her disregard the minor rules and devotional practices traditional in the community;
3 by afflicting her with troubles and anxieties;
4 by suggesting that she should receive more consideration than others because of her rank, the amount of money she brought with her, or some physical or mental quality she possesses;
5 by prompting her to be cold towards others and even towards her Superiors, and making her believe that they have something against her;
6 by keeping her from the sacraments under the most specious pretexts.
There are many other snares that the devil, together with the world, sets for the novices, either to make them leave, to induce them to sin, or to retard their perfection. Candour and blind obedience are the infallible remedies and all powerful arms in these trials and struggles.
151 At the end of the year of first novitiate, or later, if the novice is so inclined, she makes profession by pronouncing the three simple vows of obedience, poverty and chastity for one year. This profession, made privately, in secret and without exterior ceremony, is preceded by ten days of retreat and silence, during which she communicates with no one except the Superior and the Director.
162 She renews her vows every year if she willingly and whole-heartedly perseveres in her vocation; otherwise, when the year of vows has expired, she may without hindrance leave the Congregation.
173 Likewise, if the Superior, in agreement with the community, is not satisfied with a professed religious because of grave and repeated faults, she may dismiss her.
184 If the religious leaves at the end of the year of her own accord or is dismissed because of an act of formal disobedience, the money or other gifts she may have donated as alms on entering are retained by the community. However, if the community dismisses her at the end of the year for some good reason, all she brought with her is returned, her expenses deducted.
195 If, however, the departing Sister had given all her goods to the community, the latter should return these, after her board has been deducted.
206 At the end of each of the five consecutive years after their profession, the novices renew the three vows for one year. If, at the end of five years, the professed are convinced that they have a true vocation, they pronounce their perpetual vows, after having obtained the consent of the community.
211 When the thought of leaving the community comes to you after profession, reveal it immediately to your Director or Superior, and wait a considerable time in order to determine if the thought is just a mere temptation.
222 Beware of occasioning these temptations by frequent association with outsiders or people following pious fads, or by seeking counsel from persons other than your Director or Superior.
233 On the first Saturday of each month, renew your vows to God through the hands of the Blessed Virgin in a Communion offered for this intention.
241 They have nothing they may call their own, not even a penny, a habit, an office book, piece of furniture or article of devotion; everything is in common, and after their profession the community is obliged to give them whatever food, care and clothing they need.
252 Unless the Sisters so desire, they do not renounce the revenue from their patrimony, if they have any; nor the radical domain thereof, but the usufruct and use of these goods are completely at the disposition of their Superiors, to use as they see fit for the needs of the community without distinction as to rich or poor.
263 Being poor, they dress in the grey habit of the poor of the hospitals and countryside. This habit resembles somewhat that of the Daughters of Monsieur Vincent; moreover, for greater religious modesty, they wear a black mantle which enshrouds them from head to foot.
274 The only furnishings of their little cells are: 1) a wooden bed with pallet of straw, a mattress and curtains; 2) a table; 3) a chair; 4) a crucifix; 5) a picture of the Blessed Virgin; 6) a box without a lock; 7) a clothes rack, some dusters, a candlestick and a broom; everything else should be excluded as useless and superfluous.
285 They engage in manual work, but of their own accord, they do not seek work outside the house. They do not set their wages or receive personally the payment thereof. They derive no benefit from this work except what they receive in common with the rest of the community, for all funds are placed in the common purse by the Bursar or the Superior.
296 In their temporal needs they ask alms of no one, neither of parents nor of strangers, directly or indirectly, neither for the community in general nor for themselves in particular. They abandon themselves to the care of God's divine Providence, confident He will aid them in all their necessities when and how He sees fit. Their trust is so absolute that it is as though they expected to receive food and care directly from an angel sent from heaven. Yet, they undertake manual work to help earn their living, as though they expected nothing from God.
307 When, according to their talents, they are sent to teach catechism or to direct town or country schools, they consider the modest salary received yearly for their work and labours in such wise that if, through negligence, they do not fulfil their duty, they commit a grave injustice by using money they have not earned. Since they are given as salary only what is absolutely necessary to live on, they do not spend it carelessly. If they realize a profit during the year, they are not allowed to give it either to their parents or friends without an explicit permission.
318 They ask nothing, either directly or indirectly, of their pupils, but if the parents of a rich child wish of their own accord to offer an alms through gratitude, the Sisters ask them to present it to the Superior of the Mother-Community or the novitiate. They never receive gifts personally unless they are teaching at a distance from the Mother House.
329 If God calls them to take charge of a hospital, they content themselves with a modest and frugal way of living, sharing, if need be, the food of the poor. As for the board and alms given to them, they follow the directives mentioned above for the teachers and do the work out of charity.
3310 Every year the Superior has them change cells, furniture, and even habits, if the Sisters have shown too much attachment to these things. Twice a year they have their hair cut.
341 Beware of possessing anything personal unless there is a real need and always with permission. The devil is ever eagerly inspiring religious with countless false pretexts and a thousand specious reasons for transgressing their vow of poverty, or at least diminishing its merit.
352 Beware then of the least attachment. When you feel a strong liking for anything, set it aside for a while or deprive yourself of it altogether.
363 The evil spirit will tempt you, under the pretence of piety, to keep in your room pictures and devotional objects for yourself and others. Scarcely one religious in a hundred succeeds in overcoming this subtle temptation.
374 On the other hand, it is also a subtle temptation not to reveal to your Superior your temporal needs through fear of a refusal or through capriciousness.
385 Do not deliberately think of the morrow without real necessity. God does not wish this and the devil inspires it only to upset you or make you waste time.
396 if you see one of your Sisters better dressed or better cared for than you, beware of jealousy and murmuring. The evil spirit will not hesitate to exaggerate the advantages enjoyed by others and denied you, in order to upset and alienate you from the Sisters, at least interiorly. For this reason he will remind you that you brought more to the community, that you are a greater asset and that you work harder. He will remind you of the comforts you enjoyed when you disposed of your own possessions, and he will awaken in you a desire to return to the world.
407 I advise you to choose, whenever possible and through a spirit of poverty and humility, the worst in all things: the least palatable food, the oldest and coarsest habits, the most menial offices, etc.
418 Deprive yourself readily of something that others will not do without, showing outwardly no regret at what you have done.
429 Never speak highly of the goods of this world. Never say, "If I were given such a sum of money, . . ." "If some rich person gave us . . .", etc. These are the desires of pagans and worldlings, and are unworthy of the truly wise, who, far from desiring temporal goods even for pious purposes, leave even their legitimate possessions to follow more closely Incarnate Wisdom.
4310 Beware of telling others of the comforts you enjoyed in the world and of what you brought to the community. Never speak of your skill or ability to do different types of work.
4411 Set no store by what is merely exterior and imposing, no matter how great and important it may seem from a natural standpoint. And esteem greatly those Sisters who are seemingly the poorest and least capable.
4512 If you have a request regarding your health or other material needs, before making it known to the Superior, pray to God for at least a quarter of an hour to see if in his light the need is real and in keeping with perfection. If so, ask simply and fearlessly. If you are refused or rebuffed in your request, remain as peaceful as if Jesus Christ in person had refused you.
461 Holy obedience, practiced with all possible perfection, is the special virtue that should characterize the Daughters of Wisdom. Just as divine Wisdom, who reigned in the heavens, came down to earth to obey from the first moment of his incarnation to his death, so, following his example, his daughters have left the world to subject their mind and will to the yoke of obedience.
472 They obey their Rule and all their Superiors
1 Entirely, without reservations;
2 Promptly, without delay;
3 Cheerfully, without sadness;
4 Holily, without human respect;
5 Blindly, without reasoning;
6 And continuously, without inconstancy.
483 The Sisters should be faithful to their Rule even in the smallest details, and when their Rule does not prescribe an action, they ask permission if they want to do it so that obedience may purge their actions of the poison of self will.
494 They should obey their Superior in all things, prescribed or not. If, on certain occasions or under certain circumstances, the practice of the Rule becomes impossible or difficult, they should ask the Superior for an exemption or an interpretation.
505 They may, and often should, present their reasons for doing or not doing a certain action, but they should do so with calm and indifference, not taking offence at the refusal of a request which they consider most reasonable.
516 They try to obey all persons for the love of God, when the command is not opposed to any other will but their own.
527 They ask all their permissions of their Superior on their knees and in all humility because they see only Jesus Christ in her. They never kneel to ask permissions in the presence of outsiders.
538 They do not fail to make public reparation for any fault against holy obedience committed in public.
549 With regard to the government of the community, they obey the bishop and his representative, as well as the pastors of the parishes to which they are assigned. In hospitals they are subject to the chaplains in all spiritual matters concerning the patients, and to the Directors in all questions of administration.
55As the devil is proud and disobedient, he will assail you, my dear daughters, with strong and subtle temptations, to turn you against the holy obedience that you owe your Rule, your Superior and your Director.
561 Beware of disregarding minor rules and devout practices, and transgressing them without scruple, for anyone who despises minor duties will fall little by little.
572 To deter you from obeying your Superior, the evil spirit will suggest:
1 that she does not like you, and even that she seeks to accuse you of faults and holds a grudge against you;
2 that she is not capable of giving orders;
3 that she assumes an air of domination and superiority;
4 that there is no sense in what she commands;
5 that she does not contradict others as she does you;
6 that she has all kinds of defects, that what she says is not worth your attention and that she does not deserve your confidence.
583 If the devil cannot make you disobey outright, he will make you obey reluctantly, with delays, complaints, grumblings, murmurings, and with a vexed and disdainful air.
594 Reveal all your interior dispositions to your Director. Hide nothing that will help him to know your temperament. Make known your good and evil tendencies, your plans and undertakings. Think neither well nor ill of yourself; leave this judgment entirely to your Superior and your Director.
605 Consider as a shrewd temptation the thought of not consulting your Director about something very simple you wish to do, under the pretext that he is not sufficiently enlightened on the subject, or that you have no doubts about the goodness of the action or the truth of the matter.
616 After a refusal by your Superior, beware of complaining to an equal or subordinates. Beware of resorting to artifice or evasion to extort a permission from Superiors.
627 Do not fear to offend worldly ways when obeying promptly a small point of the Rule or a minor order of your Superior. If a community exercise calls you, promptly leave the people you are with, unless it is absolutely necessary to remain.
638 To perfect yourself quickly in obedience, that great virtue of Divine Wisdom, do not hesitate to submit your judgment and will to your equals and subordinates in indifferent matters.
649 Note that you are entirely free to disclose your interior dispositions to either your Director or Superior, as you choose. However, we must admit that those Sisters who are humble and obedient enough to open their hearts to their Superiors are performing an heroic act, and through this practice, which is common in fervent communities, will make more progress in virtue than others.
6510 Remember this admirable statement found in the Rule of Saint Francis de Sales: "In proportion as you prefer what is common to what is personal, you will perceive the progress you have made."
661 At their profession the Daughters of Wisdom make a simple vow of chastity for one year, and every year they renew it with the other vows if they decide to do so. This ceremony takes place privately, as mentioned above.
672 No man is allowed to enter their rooms or cells except when absolutely necessary, as is the case of a doctor or workman, etc.
683 When they leave the house, it is only to render service to the poor, and they faithfully observe the following rules: 1) whenever possible, they take a companion for their guardian angel; 2) they walk modestly through the city streets, their eyes cast down and avoid looking to the right or left into shop windows; 3) they never look men directly in the face while speaking to them but turn a little to the side; 4) as much as possible, they cover their face and hands with their mantle; 5) when visited, they never remain alone with a man in a room with the door closed. When they are obliged through charity or necessity to converse with a man, whether layman, cleric or religious, it must be, if at all possible, in an open place, or indoors with the door of the room left open; 6) to obtain from God the preservation of the treasure of purity and the grace to fulfil their duties of charity, they never enter their own room or that of another person without saying a Hail Mary, either kneeling or standing, before or after entering; 7) they accept no present personally without explicit permission; 8) they never return to a house where insulting words have been addressed to them, and should this happen, they are careful not to laugh it off, but quietly reprimand the offenders, or at least show their disapproval by quickly leaving the place. Should this happen in the street, they pass on in silence, making an act of contrition in their heart.
694 Unlike worldly persons, who are not sufficiently careful in this matter, they avoid anything that might in the least tarnish the beautiful flower of purity, such as, too much familiarity with one another, mutual kissing, fondly holding one another's hands.
705 They are very careful, while rising or retiring, that no part of the body may be seen, and they never sleep two in a bed without necessity.
711 Since you wish with the help of a special grace to preserve your virginity and chastity for our Lord Jesus Christ, obtain this grace through persevering prayer and cultivate a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the Mother, Queen and Model of all true virgins.
722 Distrust yourself greatly, no matter how strong you may be or how many victories you may have won. Therefore, avoid the slightest occasion of sin contrary to this divine virtue, as if you had never won a victory, and frankly reveal your temptations in this matter.
733 Resist vigorously the first promptings of temptations, for if you delay, you will yield.
744 Never give your body all it demands. With permission, refuse it from time to time even some lawful satisfaction. The rose blossoms among thorns, and chastity in the midst of discipline and mortification.
751 They faithfully observe silence at all times save during the two hours of recreation after meals and whenever charity, obedience or the duties of their office require them to do otherwise.
762 When they are obliged to speak in the community, in schools or in homes for the poor, they always do so in a low voice and as briefly as possible, thus conforming as perfectly as they can to the rule of silence.
773 For this reason they avoid calling a person from afar or through a window, preferring to take a hundred steps rather than violate the rules of silence or religious modesty.
784 When permitted to speak with visitors, they observe the rules of religious modesty in speech, and never remain more than a half hour without special permission.
795 They make no visits but those which obedience, charity or Christian courtesy requires, and these visits should be as rare as possible.
806 They do not speak in their Superior's presence unless questioned or asked to speak.
817 If they have some necessary information to impart, they wait, if possible, until recreation to do so.
821 Remember that if you observe silence carefully at the specified times, despite the longing women ordinarily have to talk, you will win a great victory over yourself, the world, and the devil, and you will soon be wise and perfect.
832 Speak little at those times when you may speak, and speak with due decorum without passion, vanity, dissembling or self seeking.
843 Speak of worldly things only to condemn them. Never discuss news of the town, the court, the army, etc.
854 Sanctify your silence by vocal or mental prayer, according to your inclination.
861 They look upon their grey habit covered with the black mantle as their shroud and as the livery of the poverty of Jesus Christ, which the world abhors; therefore, they kiss it lovingly as they put it on. Far from introducing any worldly fashion into their habit, they choose rather materials of the coarsest texture, repulsive both to nature and to the spirit of the world, a feature often noticed among devout persons.
872 They shun as they would a subtle poison the hundred and one fashions and manners of the world, anathematized by the Holy Spirit when He says, "Do not be conformed to this present and corrupt world."
883 They take no heed of the rash judgments, the stinging mockeries, the calumnies, and harsh maltreatment which they may have to suffer from the world; nay, they even rejoice when for the sake of Jesus Christ they are an object of contempt before the world, his own greatest enemy.
894 Under the pretext of securing temporal gain for the community, they never become involved in worldly affairs, such as, taking on social obligations, taking part in lotteries, etc. He who is truly poor in spirit has no desire for what he does not possess.
905 They avoid becoming involved in the temporal affairs of their relatives; they undertake no lawsuit, even when justified in doing so, preferring to lose their habit or mantle rather than lose their peace of soul and offend against charity and the spirit of poverty in keeping them.
916 Like the poor, they have no mirror in their cell; no lace, ribbons or gold material in their clothing; no snuff boxes or coloured handkerchiefs in their pockets; no gold or silver in their spoons, forks, knives, watches, crosses, reliquaries, etc. They avoid the use of these and a hundred other things, loved and coveted by the worldly and so opposed to the poverty of Jesus Christ.
921 Beware of people tainted with worldliness, enemies of the poverty and the cross of Jesus Christ. No matter what mask of holiness disguises them, they are more dangerous in their conversation, language and counsel than the most outspoken freethinker, of whom one is naturally distrustful.
932 Deprive yourself, when among outsiders, of some small unnecessary gratifications in order to avoid those that are forbidden and to edify your neighbour.
943 Guided by your spiritual director, try to practice all that is most humiliating and contrary to nature, in order to combat the world, which daily opposes and always has opposed our Lord Jesus Christ in his teaching, his example, and his faithful followers.
954 When in doubt of the truth or the goodness of a thing, do not say, "What do people think? What do they say of such and such a thing?" but "What does faith teach me? What does Jesus Christ say?
965 Always consider the desire to see your relatives, to have news of them, or to lend them assistance in their education or temporal concerns as a great temptation and a real obstacle to your perfection and salvation.
976 Be strictly on your guard against worldliness in religious life, which is prevalent in most religious institutes. This spirit consists in:
1 desiring news of one's relatives and being concerned about their affairs;
2 valuing, cherishing and seeking money and temporal revenues in order to open a house, build a chapel, etc., just as worldly people avidly seek money to make a name and a fortune for themselves, to build their houses, etc.;
3 seeking the entry of a rich person into the community, setting more store by her gold or silver, which is the open sesame of worldlings, than by Christ's spirit of poverty, which is the key to the kingdom of heaven;
4 complaining inside or outside the convent of the poverty and inconveniences of community life;
5 seeking and scheming to get honourable positions and offices in the community as the worldlings do those of the world;
6 speaking highly of natural talents and the goods of this world, and manifesting a desire to possess them;
7 despising those who lack these natural talents, for example, those who have little intelligence, health, ability, industry, knowledge, wealth, etc.;
8 seeking in the community all one's comforts in dress, lodging, furniture, meals, etc.;
9 finally, worldliness in religious life consists in doing one's own will as much as possible, imposing one's opinions on others, and seeking to make oneself indispensable to the community by one's intelligence, knowledge, and ability.
This, my dear daughters, is a brief explanation of the most subtle poison of religious communities. Preserve yourselves from it, for the love of Jesus.
987 When God, wishing to purify and reward you, permits someone to calumniate and persecute you, do not fail. out of gratitude, to pray for him for eight days and to receive Communion for him at least once.
991 Pure charity is, as has been said, the aim of the Institute of the Daughters of Wisdom, whether they are engaged, according to their talents and the call of holy obedience, in conducting charitable schools in towns and in country places, in administering hospitals, in directing retreat houses, or in caring for and nursing poor incurable people.
1002 When God calls them to conduct primary schools, they faithfully observe all the rules which are given later and are motivated only by charity.
1013 If God calls them to take charge of hospitals, they observe the rules of prudence and charity contained in the following paragraphs.
1024 They render the poor of the hospitals every service possible, whether spiritual or temporal. For the spiritual care, they are dependent upon the chaplains or the parish priests, and for the corporal, upon the administrators of the hospital, doing neither more nor less than their ecclesiastical and lay superiors permit.
1035 They must be prepared to endure much opposition in hospitals which are governed by many administrators; hence they must arm themselves with patience in order to bear these trials without being discouraged.
1046 If the Board of Administration wishes to force them to disregard some rule essential to their Institute, they should not only refuse to comply, but should be ready to leave the hospital, should their major Superiors judge it necessary. However, if in the judgment of the Superiors, the rule or regulation which the Board wishes to add or suppress is not essential or contrary to the Constitutions, the Sisters accede in all charity and obedience to its request.
1057 They ordinarily go to confession to one confessor, who is the mutual choice of both the Superior and the Sisters, whether it be the chaplain of the hospital, the parish priest or some other priest. Should this confessor imprudently counsel them to transgress any of their rules, they will choose another, but they never take this step without a serious reason.
1068 In temporal matters, they obey the administrators of the hospitals and other authorized persons who have requested their services and upon whom they depend for their subsistence.
1079 They consider themselves as belonging to the poor class, as they do in reality, and they rarely and very reluctantly interfere in the temporal affairs of the hospitals where they are employed.
10810 Their Superior alone has the right to appeal to the Board in regard to the temporal needs of the poor or the Sisters; however, should the Board disregard these requests or openly oppose them, they show no discontent. They complain to no one, either in or outside the hospital, and do not seek to enlist the services of a friendly administrator to win their cause.
10911 They may have control of funds in the wards over which they have charge, but as they receive directly from their Superior, who assigned them to their charge, and not from the administrators, the money necessary for their needs, it is to her that they render an account of these funds and have recourse in all their necessities. The Superior in her turn gives an account of her administration to the Board or Bursar appointed by the Board for the administration of temporal goods. If the Superior refuses the Sisters' request, however just, they do not appeal to anyone, whether of the hospital or not, to obtain what they want. Such a procedure, by causing division, would destroy all peace and obedience.
11012 They try to act in such a way that the goods of the houses to which they are assigned be rightly used and not exposed to theft and waste. However, should this happen through no fault of their own, they are not held accountable since out of charity they have tried to prevent the loss of these goods.
Rules of Prudence, Firmness and Charity towards One Another, towards the Poor and Children
1111 They never interpret as evil what has only an appearance of evil; they excuse as due to weakness, ignorance or passion, what is evidently wrong, believing that God permits the evil that they see to bring about a greater good that they do not see for want of sufficient light.
1122 They are slow to believe evil reports about another even though such reports are made with the charitable intention of righting some wrong. They charitably suspend their judgment until they are better informed, preferring to be duped through excessive charity rather than judge rashly through too little charity and prudence.
1133 They never consciously reflect on the evil conduct and the faults of their neighbour or on the wrongs they may have suffered from them.
1144 Contrary to the promptings of self love, they are honestly convinced that they are the most imprudent, most ignorant and most worthless of all.
1155 In things indifferent in themselves or not clearly wrong, they readily sacrifice their own interior lights and renounce their views, however valid, to submit out of humility and charity to those of others.
1166 They never entertain any secret aversion or coldness towards anyone, but when, in spite of themselves, such feelings arise, they always reveal them to their Director.
1171 They obey with a joyful countenance, even though the commands of their Superiors may be contrary to their natural inclinations.
1182 They never complain of, or take offence at, their Superior's way of acting, in the presence of someone who cannot remedy the situation; they never seek approval of their opinions and conduct when these are in opposition to the opinion of their Superior.
1193 They never try to make their opinion prevail over that of others, but after simply stating their views, they readily adopt those of others.
1204 Each one concerns herself with her own work and does not, take upon herself the supervision of another's.
1215 They never listen to the complaints of inferiors against the Superiors; or if they do, they try to make the subordinates under stand, at least outwardly, that their complaints are not justified, gently accusing them of impatience, pride, grumbling, etc., and expressing their approval of the Superiors in so far as truth permits.
1226 They never reveal to the poor whom they direct, however trustworthy they may be, the secrets and rules of the community, and in their trials and troubles never unburden their hearts to them.
1237 They show great affability, candour, respect, and affection towards one another. They avoid, on one hand, that haughty, reserved or distant air incompatible with true charity; and on the other, all immoderate familiarity, bantering and childish conduct, which breeds contempt.
1248 They excuse one another when they are at fault, and uphold and defend one another against rumours, detraction, calumnies and persecution.
1259 They avoid all duplicity, and their mutual relations are characterized by great candour and openness of heart.
12610 They charitably point out to one another their faults in private, and they take the proffered correction in good part.
12711 They avoid using haughty and arrogant words, shouting, making odious comparisons and a host of other defects which violate charity, or at least impair it.
12812 They endeavour to be both kind and firm towards the poor. They are charitable, bearing with them and excusing them in their frailties, ignorance, defects of body and mind, and even in their sins. They are, likewise, firm, punishing them without fear of what people may say for their wrongdoings, pride and stubbornness, for their disobedience to the regulations and the Superiors, particularly when these faults are public and give scandal. If they let such faults go unpunished in individual persons, their charity will degenerate into blameworthy connivance, thus destroying law and order in the community and giving occasion to the wicked to commit the same faults or worse. Oh, how difficult it is to find the happy mean between kindly charity and strict firmness, and yet, how necessary it is to find it if one is to govern the poor and the young well. If those who govern are too indulgent and are content with merely warning the offenders instead of applying a prudent chastisement, they increase the evil by weak compromise; on the other hand, if they are too severe, chastising with rigor, they will aggravate the evil. Therefore, in schools and hospitals, they ordinarily mingle oil with vinegar, reward with chastisement, in such a way that the oil of pardon always rises above the vinegar of punishment.
12913 They render the poor every service within their power, both spiritual and corporal, becoming all things to all men and even to the least among them, convinced that the first among themselves is not the richest, the most exalted and the wisest, but the one who believes and places herself the last of all.
13014 Should a Sister so forget herself as to address harsh, disdainful or reproachful words to another Sister, she should ask pardon on her knees and kiss the floor. The offended Sister shall do likewise through humility, sealing their reconciliation with a few cordial words. This shall be done in the presence of the Superior and never in her absence.
13115 They give their Superior the simple title of Mother and the two Sisters who replace her, Mother Assistants; they call each other Sister, treating one another with honour and respect and bowing as they pass one another.
13216 They carefully avoid all singularity, that is, they do nothing in public that is out of the ordinary, purposely, or under the pretext of greater perfection.
1331 Every morning from four thirty until five thirty and every evening from five thirty until six, they meditate; they recite the holy Rosary every day in its entirety. When they are in community, they chant it in two choirs at three different times; when absent on some work of charity, they say it whenever they can ' but never omit it.
1342 Each week they make at least an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; each month they make a retreat of one day; and every year a retreat of ten days.
1351 Beware of giving up meditation because of distractions, worries and cares, or because you feel you are doing nothing, or you are too ignorant, or it is not your calling, or that your vocation is manual work and action and not contemplation and meditation. These are temptations of the evil spirit.
1362 When you pray, nourish your soul as much as possible on pure faith, without depending on visible and exterior things. Spiritual consolations are to be esteemed, but do not think highly of yourself when you have made them, and, on the other hand, do not think everything is lost when you no longer enjoy them.
1373 Beware of over activity in your meditations, not giving enough place to the action of God, who works only where peace reigns.
1384 To do all your work in the presence of God and for Him alone is to pray without ceasing. Do not fail to say daily the entire Rosary to honour the life, death and passion and glory of Jesus and Mary.
1391 They look upon the Blessed Virgin as the Superior and Mother of the whole Congregation. To honour her, they recite the holy Rosary daily; they feed a poor person every day; they fast, in so far as their health permits, one day a week, ordinarily on Saturday.
1402 When they have time, they recite the Little Office in her honour.
1413 They strive to imitate all her virtues, particularly her charity, humility, purity, fidelity and modesty.
1424 They often speak of her great dignity and her compassion, and they defend devotion to her against freethinkers, critics, and heretics.
1435 When the clock strikes the hour, they say a Hail Mary in her honour.
1446 Their devotion to the Blessed Virgin is interior, without hypocrisy; exterior without criticism; tender without distrust; constant without fickleness; and holy without presumption. They are not of those devotees: 1) who are scrupulous and fear to dishonour the Son in honouring the mother: 2) who are critical, finding fault with exterior and well grounded practices of devotion to the Blessed Virgin; 3) who are inconstant, being devoted to her only for a time; 4) who are presumptuous, joining sin with devotion to the Blessed Virgin, dishonouring and crucifying the Son under the mantle of the Mother.
1451 They go to confession regularly every week to the confessor chosen by the community.
1462 With the permission of the Superior, however, they may go to confession to another confessor, when necessity requires.
1473 They are not bound to receive Holy Communion on any specified days; however, they communicate as often as possible, according to their own desires and the advice of their Director and their Superior.
1484 They do not withdraw themselves from the community to pursue other devotions, but make every effort to assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion with the community.
1495 They never fail to make at least a half hour of thanksgiving after Holy Communion unless a real necessity compels them to leave God for God.
1506 Though their Director may permit them to receive Holy Communion, they do not do so without their Superior's permission, which they ask kneeling. On the eve of the important feasts of the year, which are general Communion days, they kneel to ask this permission of the Superior, who may accord or refuse it as she sees fit.
1517 They never criticize one another or anyone else with regard to the reception of Holy Communion, and are never jealous of their Sisters who receive Holy Communion more frequently.
1521 Never be so attached to Holy Communion that the refusal of your Superior troubles and vexes you; for an act of obedience is of more value than Holy Communion.
1532 Never fail to ask your Director and your Superior for permission to receive Holy Communion when you feel the desire, even though you may have been refused several times. Often it is pride which fears a refusal and is the cause of reluctance to ask.
1543 Be careful to receive Communion through routine, human respect, self love, vanity or a spirit of singularity.
1554 Do not receive Communion to enjoy the spiritual consolations that accompany this divine action, but to sacrifice all things to Jesus crucified and annihilated.
1565 If, before or after holy Communion, some thought troubles or disturbs you, reject it promptly, for the devil is its instigator, and not the Holy Spirit, who is the author of peace.
1576 Never carry out immediately, without the advice of your Director, the good inspirations that God gives you in Holy Communion. As experience proves daily, the illusions of the evil spirit are to be feared as much in Holy Communion as in other spiritual actions.
1587 Always try to receive Communion in union with the Blessed Virgin, renouncing your own dispositions and adopting those of the Blessed Virgin, even though they are unknown to you. Thus, in spirit and in truth, Jesus will once more repose in her virginal bosom.
1598 Guard yourself against scruples in Confession and Communion. Self will, attachment to one's judgment and secret pride engender and increase scruples. Blind obedience on the other hand, is the only way to overcome them.
1609 When preparing for confession, strive more to rouse yourself to contrition than to recall all your sins, and when receiving holy Communion, take more pleasure in self abhorrence and self-annihilation than in interior consolations, spiritual enlightenment and a feeling of tranquillity.
1611 They do different kinds of manual work when the Rule prescribes no other exercise.
1622 They receive their piecework from the Sisters in charge, and return it to them, without asking to whom it belongs and how much is being paid for it.
1633 They never become totally absorbed in their work but only, as it were, lend themselves to it, avoiding haste, curiosity, vanity, and worldliness. For this reason, they do not make articles of a worldly nature, invented by fashion only to satisfy vanity and pride. They never work outside the house.
1641 While working, beware of haste and undue attachment to what you are doing; likewise, avoid vanity and self complacency, when the work is completed.
1652 Take care not to work like the people of the world, who are motivated by self interest, pleasure and honours, but work rather through a spirit of penance and charity.
1663 Choose the work for which you feel the least natural inclination, and when the devil tempts you to hurry, stop working for a time.
1674 Take care never to use for meditation the time assigned for work.
1681 No exterior mortification is required by the Rule. All mortifications such as the discipline, the hair shirt, the pointed cincture, etc., are entirely voluntary and are used under the guidance of the Director and the Superior.
1692 However, when they are in good health, they fast on Saturday and abstain from meat on Wednesday.
1703 They courageously apply themselves to the mortification of their senses and faculties, mortifying their eyes, sense of smell and taste, their faculties of mind and will, etc., in their inordinate and useless affections.
1714 Every week during the novitiate the novices render an account of their interior life to the Mistress of Novices. Each month the professed Sisters render a like account to the Director or Mother Superior.
1721 Beware of thinking that bodily mortification is not necessary to acquire Wisdom, for Wisdom is never found in those who live a life of ease and who gratify their senses.
1732 Be convinced that you will make progress in virtue only insofar as you do violence to yourself by doing or enduring that which goes against your natural inclinations.
1743 Do not neglect little mortifications, which are often more meritorious than great ones and are less apt to give rise to vanity.
1754 Mortify your eyes and you will be modest; mortify your ears and you will be charitable; mortify your senses of smell and taste and you will be temperate; mortify your tongue and you will be wise; finally, mortify your sense of touch and you will be chaste.
1 a certain natural activity that inclines you to hurry and to accomplish much;
2 changing moods that rule you and displease your neighbour;
3 your tongue, which always wishes to talk, laugh, mock, etc.;
4 a tendency to lack religious modesty in your bearing, which makes you act like a child, laugh like a fool, jump around like a juggler, and eat and drink like an animal.
1776 Carefully avoid excess and indiscretion in the practice of mortification, due to lack of obedience, and also tepidity through lack of mortification.
1787 Be assured that the smallest mortification made for God, for example, to repress useless words and glances or to check a movement of anger or impatience, etc., is a greater victory than to conquer the universe and a greater action than to create a world; so say the saints.
1798 Above all, apply yourself to the mortification of your self-will by submitting to obedience in all instances for the love of God.
1801 In schools, hospitals or other houses to which they are assigned, they have dinner and supper at an appropriate time, after the poor have eaten or school is dismissed, that is ordinarily between eleven and twelve o'clock; in the community they always dine at eleven thirty.
1812 They eat any kind of food whatsoever, as Divine Providence, their Mother, provides. Their love of mortification will inspire them to deprive themselves during their meals of what is naturally most pleasing to them.
1823 They never eat outside the community nor between meals without real necessity and only with explicit permission. This will happen rarely.
1834 They listen attentively to the reading at table without talking or looking around. When they need something, they ask the one who serves by sign or in a low voice, observing all the rules of religious modesty which are given further on.
1845 They avoid singularity when they eat in community, either by asking for a particular dish or specially prepared food, or by refusing every dish provided. They may, however, let some dish pass if they can do so without this being too noticeable.
1856 If a dish is not to their liking or not well prepared, they show no dissatisfaction by word, look or sign, either at table or afterwards during recreation; if they are not mortified enough to eat food that is not to their taste, at least they do not complain about it.
1867 All those who read well take their turn in reading at table, and each in turn, even the Superior, waits on table.
1871 When you go for your meals, deplore the fact that because of your lower nature you are obliged to partake of food as the animals do. In order not to resemble them altogether, renounce the sense of pleasure that nature necessarily finds in eating, and raise your heart to Jesus Christ to unite your meals with his.
1882 Never, like the people of the world, speak of what was served at table, whether it pleased your taste or not. Never say at recreation, "Oh, but that food was good. How I enjoyed this or that! It gave me an appetite," etc.
1893 Take care not to look with greediness and envy at the portions of those near you to see how they compare with yours.
1904 In spirit, dip the first morsel you eat in the blood of Jesus Christ, and unite with the Bread of angels, Jesus Christ, whom you received in your last Communion.
1915 Beware of a fault common to people living in community, that is, saying grace before and after meals without attention or devotion, simply through routine, thinking sometimes of what they have eaten, or what they have to do after the meal, picking their teeth, and sometimes standing in an undignified manner.
1921 They have two hours of recreation a day, the first after dinner and the second after supper, during which they converse with freedom, gaiety, and as religious persons.
1932 They take recreation with freedom and merriment, but at the same time observing religious modesty, avoiding immoderate laughter, childish amusements and unseemly postures. On the other hand, they also avoid a too severe or scrupulous reserve; sombre, dreamy and melancholy airs; a singular and critical spirit; and a haughty and proud demeanour.
1943 They take recreation in all holiness, having no other intention than to take their rest piously in God, and as God did when he created the world, or as Jesus Christ did when he rested at the well of Jacob or as the saints did who performed this action with holy motives. At times they perform this exercise through a motive of charity, in order to gladden their Sisters and to become more capable of serving the poor and aiding their neighbour; at other times they take humility as their motive, acknowledging that they are weak and have need of some relaxation; finally, they take recreation to encourage their neighbour in the joyful practice of virtue in a life which otherwise might seem too austere.
1954 During recreation, more than at any other time, they carefully avoid offending charity by mockery, reproaches, open suspicion, criticism, scornful gestures, harsh words, etc.
1965 They should ordinarily speak only of God and the things of God, and never of the world, its news and vanities.
1976 They spend their recreation in common and remain together, unless excused by necessity or permission. They avoid particular friendships, never seeking to converse more often with one than with another.
1981 Before recreation, as before meals, renounce all natural satisfaction and raise your heart to God.
1992 Do not hesitate to enjoy yourselves quietly and give joy to your Sisters, who are the children of God your Father. Remember that He has charged you with making them happy during recreation in order that they may be more capable of doing His work.
2003 Should one of your Sisters cause you sorrow, bear it in silence. if she disagrees with you, give in, and you will have gained the victory.
2014 From time to time during recreation raise your heart to God.
2021 As faith is the foundation of all religion, so is it the basis of all wisdom and perfection; hence faith, the daily bread of the Daughters of Wisdom, is the motivating force of all their thoughts, words and actions.
2032 They perform all their actions for the greater glory of God in union with Jesus and Mary; in longer actions they renew this intention from time to time.
2043 They strive to banish from their actions all vanity, sensuality, human respect, passion, natural motives, and routine, and seek instead to act from a motive of faith, which animates and sustains them, so that should anyone ask why they perform a certain action, they would be able to answer truthfully: it is for God alone, through such and such a Christian motive.
2054 In their doubts they do not turn to human wisdom, custom, interested friends or relatives, but rather to the holy gospel and their Rule, as explained by their Director.
2065 They do not desire visions, revelations or extraordinary lights since faith alone is sufficient for them; should God, however, favour them with such graces, they should reveal them to their Director, placing no reliance whatever on them, for fear of illusions which generally creep in when there is question of extraordinary occurrences.
2076 They pray to God in the words of the Apostles, "Lord, increase our faith"; or they use the prayer of clients of the Blessed Virgin, "Virgin most faithful, pray for us"; or that of the Church, "I believe."
2081 They attribute to themselves only sin and wretchedness, placing no trust in their own thoughts or will, their own actions or plans; they renounce, even in their best actions, their evil nature which spoils everything.
2092 In spite of the promptings of self love, they believe others to be better than themselves, even though, through want of enlightenment, they do not clearly perceive the good qualities of others.
2103 They banish all pride and vanity from their thoughts and words, never reflecting consciously on their virtues and good works, and never speaking either well or ill of themselves.
2114 They do not respond to praises, deserved or undeserved, which may be given them, but in their hearts they humble themselves before God, allowing those who praise them to interpret their silence as they wish.
2125 Wherever they are, they always choose the last place, particularly in the company of those who are not of the Community. At table they take the last place, which is ordinarily nearest the door, and are never the first to express their opinion in a conversation. When there are three together, they avoid the middle place, which is the most honourable; in the street, they take the place nearest the road. When they enter a church, they remain in the rear.
2136 However, among themselves, a cordial simplicity should prevail over exterior humility, inducing them to take the nearest place and avoid all worldly formalities.
2147 They willingly choose the most menial and undesired occupations.
2158 When they are accused unjustly, they do not try to defend themselves, and they never dispute with anyone.
2161 They comport themselves, in private as well as in public, without affectation or hypocrisy, in such a way as to please God and edify their neighbour.
2172 As modesty is, according to the saints, a God like quality, a reflection of the Holy Spirit and a veritable treasure before God, the Sisters practice this virtue in all their bodily movements and make a very special study of it.
2181 Ordinarily they hold their head erect; they avoid lifting or lowering it too much, tilting it to one side or the other, holding it up with the hands, shaking it at every word, and turning it from side to side on the slightest pretext.
2192 They do not stare at anyone nor permit their eyes to wander but keep them slightly lowered, and their movements are neither too frequent nor too abrupt. Their gaze is meek, humble and respectful, never rude, contemptuous, bold or sullen.
2203 They avoid holding the mouth open, tightening the lips too much, blowing the nose or expectorating in an offensive manner, or yawning in front of anyone.
2214 They avoid wrinkling their forehead, frowning, biting their nails, cleaning their nose or ears with their fingers.
2225 They refrain from all outburst of laughter or laughing too frequently; but at the same time they are not sad, gloomy, over-serious or too solemn.
2236 They are careful not to make grimaces or assume affected airs and they avoid anything that might denote artificiality or dissimulation. They try to cultivate an expression that is joyful, serene, open, tranquil, unaffected and unrestrained, and so give an impression of goodness, meekness and piety, which tends to win hearts and lead them to God.
2241 As a general rule, they stand erect, not stooping or leaning to one side, without, however, showing constraint or affectation.
2252 When standing they do not shift from one foot to the other, changing at every moment their position and their posture, which denotes, according to the saints, a certain fickleness.
2263 They do not place their hands on their hips or behind their backs, nor do they touch the face or other part of the body without necessity.
2274 They refrain from stretching out their arms and legs in a careless and lazy manner, which denotes a negligent and indolent nature.
2285 They do not lean on their elbows or against anything, neither do they bend over in an unseemly manner nor cross their feet or legs.
2291 They speak neither too much nor too little. They avoid, on one hand, being so loquacious and tedious as never to give others the chance to speak, and on the other, being so taciturn by their misplaced silence that they become ordinarily burdensome in any conversation.
2302 They never interrupt those who are speaking, 6hr do they anticipate with a hurried answer those who wish to question them.
2313 They regulate the tone of their voice in such a manner that it will be neither too loud nor too low, unduly harsh nor affectedly mild, rude nor effeminate, boorish nor languid; they do not use an authoritative, imperious, contemptuous or passionate tone of voice.
2324 They avoid words savouring of falsehood, mockery, contempt, clownishness, flattery, vanity and anything that could offend decorum or charity.
2335 They are reluctant to be the first to express an opinion on any subject, as if they were more capable of judging than others, and when, upon request, they do give an opinion, it is always with simplicity; should the question seem doubtful, they do not speak in too decisive and bold a manner.
2346 They avoid all kinds of arguments and disputes; they prefer to gain the victory by yielding, as if they had been mistaken, rather than by contesting with passion and pride.
2357 Finally, they weigh all their words before speaking.
(Modesty in the wearing of the habit has been discussed.)
2361 They do not walk too quickly or with great haste, never running except in case of necessity. In accordance with this rule, when going up or down the stairs, they do not take more than one step at a time.
2372 They do not walk too slowly, dragging their feet or lifting them carelessly.
2383 They avoid walking with an affectedly springy step, or at a calculated and studied pace.
2394 While walking, they avoid all unnecessary movements of the head, hands, arms, shoulders and body, a fault which the saints condemn as levity.
2405 When they are obliged to make visits to town, they avoid talking too loudly, laughing boisterously, dallying, and acting unbecomingly, looking curiously into shop windows, vehicles, and other places, and stopping on street corners to read the posters or to see masquerades or listen to charlatans; finally, as much as possible, they avoid fairs, public squares, and all other places where vanity reigns and where Jesus Christ is not ordinarily found.
2411 They go to church properly dressed, that is, wearing their mantle, their heads modestly covered.
2422 When they enter a church, they comport themselves piously and religiously, taking holy water as they go in and kneeling ordinarily at the back of the church out of humility.
2433 When passing before the Blessed Sacrament, they make a genuflection, whereas before another altar or an image of a saint, they make only a moderate bow.
2444 They never pass through a church to shorten their way; they talk in church only when necessary and then in few words and in a low voice; they also observe this rule in the sacristy, which is part of the church.
2455 In church they are particularly careful to control their eyes, countenance and posture, but in so doing they avoid all unnatural and unbecoming attitudes and extraordinary gestures or movements of the body. They ordinarily assist at Holy Mass kneeling, their eyes modestly lowered or fixed on the altar, their hands crossed on their breast under their mantle; they may either sit or stand during the sermon. When weakness or weariness does not allow them to kneel, they simply sit down.
2461 Although they cannot observe strict enclosure as in monasteries since they are obliged by their charitable duties to work out side their houses, they must nevertheless maintain a kind of personal enclosure, which is all the more difficult as they are surrounded by the world and in daily contact with people.
2472 No matter where they live, the Sisters have their own cells, and their quarters have no communication with those of outsiders, not even with those of the poor of hospitals or school children.
2483 As mentioned above, no outsiders, whether men or women, are admitted to the Sisters' quarters without absolute necessity and explicit permission.
2494 When they receive visitors, the Sisters leave their apartments to speak to them in a room set aside for this purpose on a lower floor. They may, however, through love of enclosure and with the Superior's permission, refuse to go to the parlour.
2505 Before going to the parlour, they say the "Come, Holy Spirit" and a Hail Mary in the public oratory or chapel. They then converse with the visitors politely, prudently and briefly, and always take the initiative in shortening the meeting.
2516 They never go to the parlour or walk in the streets without their mantle, which covers them as with a shroud.
2527 They neither receive nor write letters without the permission of their Superior; they submit to her all their correspondence.
2538 Upon returning from town or from the parlour, they spend a few moments of recollection in the oratory or chapel.
2541 The Chapter of Faults is held every week on the day that is most convenient, namely, Sunday or a feast day.
2552 As soon as the Sisters hear the bell, they go promptly to the room assigned, kneel, say the customary prayers, and on the Superior's signal take their places, after kissing the floor.
2563 The object of this exercise, which is common to all well regulated Communities, is to make the spirit humble and to mortify the flesh by acknowledging one's faults anew.
2574 They never confess faults that are purely interior, but only those committed in the presence of the Sisters.
2585 They accuse themselves simply and briefly; sincerely, hiding nothing; humbly, not excusing themselves; charitably, not accusing others nor revealing their faults.
2596 When they are accused by the Superior of exterior faults of which they are not guilty, they do not excuse themselves in public but receive the penance with humility. With all the more reason shall they remain silent when scolded or reprimanded for faults they have really committed. If, however, the Superior tells them to speak or questions them, they answer with simplicity.
2607 The Sisters accusing themselves of their faults kneel in a determined place, with downcast eyes and hands joined. After listening to the admonition and receiving the penance from the Mother Superior, they kiss the floor and, on a signal from her, return to their places.
2618 The Sisters will have a higher opinion of and greater esteem for a religious who accuses herself with simplicity, even when her faults are serious; for though the Sisters never doubted that she was a sinner, they know now by her confession that she is humble, that she esteems humiliation, and that she has made amends for her faults by her humility.
2629 Those Sisters who by reason of their charge are obliged to violate some points of the Rule, such as silence, do not accuse themselves of those faults, as they could not have done otherwise.
26310 They never speak outside the Chapter of what has occurred therein. This secrecy is so binding that it resembles somewhat that of Confession; therefore, they may not break it without sinning.
26411 Every evening, at night prayer, they may accuse themselves of faults committed in public during the day.
265With the Sisters of Wisdom, as in all other well regulated Communities, there are several offices which are given to Sisters by the Superior and from which they receive their title. Among these are 1) the infirmarian, 2) the sacristan, 3) the sister supervisor, 4) the time keeper, 5) the cook, 6) the bursar, as well as Mother Superior and her two counsellors. Each of these offices has its own particular rules which are only made known to them when obedience gives them that duty.
2661 They rise in all seasons at four o'clock and have half an hour to dress, make their bed and put their room in order.
2672 From half past four till half past five they make an hour's meditation; from half past five till six, they chant the first Rosary, standing.
2683 They are careful to observe the rules of silence and modesty as they go into holy Mass; on returning, if they wish to take break fast, they take it in silence.
2694 After breakfast, each one applies herself until 11:30 to the work and charge marked out for her by obedience.
2705 At a quarter past eleven they make the particular examen for fifteen minutes; they then take their dinner, observing the rules of silence and religious modesty.
2716 After this meal they take recreation till one o'clock.
2727 At one o'clock sharp, they chant the second Rosary as they did the first and return to work until 5:30.
2738 At 5:30, they make a half hour's meditation, after which the third Rosary is chanted as the others; they then go to supper.
2749 After supper they take recreation till eight o'clock; then follows night prayers, the reading of the subject of meditation or an instruction until 8:30; they are in bed by nine o'clock at the latest.
2751 They must be capable of reading and writing well and of teaching catechism. It would be useful if they were proficient in arithmetic.
2762 They are to begin school at eight o'clock in the morning and continue till ten o'clock. They re start at two o'clock and continue till four, except on Thursday which is a free day. They take the children to Mass every day at ten o'clock and they have them say the Rosary at four o'clock in the afternoon.
2773 If they live in community, they leave the house every morning a little before eight o'clock and return for lunch after having assisted at holy Mass with the children. In the afternoon, they go to school after having chanted the Rosary, i.e. at about half past one and return to the community at half past four, after the children have said the Rosary.
2784 If they conduct school in a town or country parish at a distance from the community, they perform their religious duties in the place where they are, just as if they were in community.
2795 When they conduct their school in a town or country parish they close the school from the day after the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin to the day after the feast of St. Matthew. During this month's interval they are called by their Superior into the community to give an account of the year and to make a ten day retreat to recoup their strength in order to work better.
2806 This holiday period is chosen because in the country districts it is harvest time and the children are given work by their parents and so the rest period for the Sisters fits in with the circumstances of the place where they work.
2811 The purpose of the schools of charity is to instruct and promote their spiritual welfare, a task performed out of pure charity with no self seeking, but only for the greater glory of God, the salvation of souls and one's own spiritual progress.
2822 To attain this noble end it is absolutely necessary that order and silence be well observed, for their absence could become a source of sin both to pupils and mistresses.
2833 For the sake of order that is pleasing to God, rules must be laid down 1) concerning the teachers who are conducting the school, 2) the children being taught there, 3) the time spent there, 4) the places where classes are held, 5) the study and spiritual exercises customary there, 6) the rewards to be given, 7) the punishments to be meted out.
2844 The schoolmistresses should be capable of doing this good work, and should have made religious profession in their Community.
2855 Girls only, whether they be rich or poor, up to the age of twenty and who are well behaved and docile, are accepted into these schools. The following are not accepted: 1) boys; 2) married women and widows; girls of ill fame or who are intractable or too young to be teachable.
2866 The Sisters conduct the schools out of pure charity, neither asking nor receiving directly or indirectly anything from the children. If, however, a child or parent, out of gratitude and without being solicited, makes a contribution the Sisters may not accept it themselves but direct the donors to give it to the superior of the Daughters of Wisdom to be used for the upkeep of the community.
2877 The children, after having breakfasted at home, must arrive promptly at eight o'clock at school. At ten o'clock they go to attend holy Mass. They come to school on all weekdays, except Thursday which is a free day.
2888 The room where the class is held should be oblong in shape. The chair of the mistress is placed at one end and above her on the wall a list of the pupils is displayed. Nine benches are placed in the schoolroom and their size should conform to the shape of the room and the number of children, four at one side, four at the other and one at the base. The first is called the bench of the Seraphim and the children who have made their first Communion are placed in it. The second is that of the Cherubim and is occupied by those who, by age and good behaviour, are preparing for their first Holy Communion. The third, that of the Thrones, contains those aged thirteen, fourteen, etc., who have not yet received Holy Communion and are judged not mature enough to warrant immediate preparation. The fourth bench is that of the Dominations and children twelve years old are placed in it. The fifth, that of the Virtues, is occupied by children eleven years old. The sixth, that of the Powers, seats the ten year olds. The seventh, that of the Principalities, seats the nine year olds. The eighth, that of the Archangels, seats the eight year olds. The ninth, that of the Angels, is occupied by the young seven year olds.
289The whole school is divided into four classes when no second school exists for the very young. The first is called "Reading"; the second is called "Assembling the Letters"; the third is called "Naming the Letters"; and the fourth the "A B C." If any child aged ten or under is clever enough to be placed in the first class among the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones, he/she should be placed there, for knowledge must be considered more important than age.
When there are two separate rooms in the school, those who are learning to read and write fluently are placed in the first and those who are only learning to recognize, name and assemble letters are placed in the second.
290The children learn to read and write for an hour and a half in the morning and an hour and a half in the afternoon. The other two hours are spent teaching them their prayers and catechism, attending Mass in the morning and saying the Rosary in the evening. All this amounts to five hours a day.
291The children are admitted into the school building only when the bell is rung at eight o'clock and they must enter in an orderly manner, two by two and in silence. As they enter they take holy water, saying aloud, Deo gratias, and then go to kneel down each in her place, remaining there in silence with hands joined until the schoolmistress begins the morning prayer. When all are assembled the Sister intones the hymn:
"O Holy Spirit enlighten us.
Come. inflame each one of us.
Rule us. inspire our prayers.
For we can do nothing without you."
She then gives a signal for the children to stand and a second signal for them to bow to Jesus and Mary, and a third for them to sit down with their hands joined.
292 The Sister begins the prayers by inviting the children to make the sign of the cross twice to remind them of the presence of God. They then recite the following prayers:
1 My God, I firmly that you are here present. I adore you and acknowledge you as my sovereign Lord and Master upon whom alone I depend.
2 My God, I believe all that the Holy, Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church believes and teaches because you have said it and your word is always true.
3 My God, I trust in the assistance of your grace to obtain salvation through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Savoir.
4 My God and my all, I love you above all things and for your sake. I also love my neighbour as myself out of love for you.
5 My God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you because you are infinitely good and infinitely lovable and because sin displeases you. I firmly resolve with your grace never to offend you again. I would prefer to die at this moment rather than commit a single mortal sin.
6 Infant Jesus, we offer you this our school day and with your holy Mother please bestow your blessings upon it.
7 Holy Guardian Angels, we greet you and pray that you protect us in this school. Preserve us from the devil's influence and may no harm come to us.
2931 All the community, after having made a novena of Communions and fasted for three days to request the help of the Holy Spirit, proceed to elect the Superior in the following manner:
2942 The person being considered for superiorship should possess the following qualities: she should be outstandingly mature and prudent, poor in spirit, detached from the world and family, dead to self, exact in observing silence and other rules, a lover of recollection, most desirous of receiving Holy Communion, advanced in prayer and mortification, most charitable though generally firm, and so present a shining example of virtue. She is therefore not to be chosen because of wealth or nobility.
2953 Three Sisters, noted for these virtues and qualities, are presented for election. On the morning of Saturday, the Eve of Pentecost, the Veni Creator is sung and the Sisters advance in line to vote secretly for the one who in their eyes is the most worthy to be God's representative. This is done by placing a tiny pea in the box which bears the name of the one they are choosing.
2964 The one who receives the most votes is elected Superior. The one who comes next becomes the first assistant and the one who has least votes becomes second assistant.
2975 The elected Superior remains for 33 days without exercising her functions in order to make herself more docile and obedient than ever before. She therefore considers herself the last of the community and performs the most menial work as, for example, serving at table, sweeping the floor, kissing the feet of others, etc. She should perform these offices with joy and in obedience to the former Superior. She assumes the reins of the government of the community in the following manner:
2986 The Sisters assemble in Chapter and the former Superior invites the new Superior to kneel down before her and, in the presence of the others who are seated around, puts first this question to her: "My dear Sister, what do you wish to do in this community?" She answers in one word, "Obey." A second question is then put to her, "What place do you want to occupy?" She answers, "The last."
Then the former Superior tells her she must obey God alone and that the Holy Spirit when choosing her as Superior wishes her to govern the others and occupy His place in the community. Then the outgoing Superior kneels down and before all the Sisters asks pardon for all the faults she has committed and the bad example she has given.
The new Superior then makes the sign of the cross, saying aloud, "Our help is in the name of the Lord," and takes the place of the outgoing Superior. The latter then kneels before her and says to her, "I firmly believe that you hold the place of God among us and therefore I submit to all your commands out of love for God, and I trust, with the help of his grace, to remain faithful to them." To this, the Sisters on their knees answer "Amen." They then advance one by one to kiss the feet of the new Superior, who begins her office by a gesture of love embracing each Sister with warm affection. The Te Deum and the Magnificat are then sung.
2997 The Superior General may hold the office for life. However, every three years she must be confirmed by a general assembly and if she is considered by a majority of the community not to have done her duty, the assembly will proceed to elect another.
3008 When the Mother General is absent, the first assistant takes her place, and the second assistant in turn replaces the first.
For the guidance of the Superior:
3011 She should become a model of all virtue, especially of humility and the spirit of recollection, which are the virtues most difficult for a Superior to practice although in her efforts she will be helped by the Holy Spirit. Consequently, she should meditate every day upon the following two directives of Wisdom:
1 Humble yourselves in the measure that you are exalted, and if you are made Superior in a house, be as humble as those placed under you (cf. Sir. 3:20);
2 Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things. There is only one thing necessary (Lk. 10:42).
3022 She should not introduce anything new and of consequence without asking advice from the spiritual director and her two Assistants. If she is of different opinion from them, she should decide to follow their opinion. By so doing, she will act humbly and therefore wisely and prudently, for God gives his grace to those who are humble and who, in spite of their own lights, submit their judgment to others in peace and obedience even when their own judgment would seem to be the right one, and God will receive glory and honour from this submission. However, she listens to her two Assistants in such a way that she makes her decision privately and in their absence, after having had recourse to God in prayer.
3033 She should endeavour to foster love more than fear and so govern with the golden rod of charity and not with the iron rod of fear. Love shown by the Superior opens wonderfully the hearts of the subordinates and inspires and strengthens them to do better. On the other hand, the spirit of fear created by harsh, repulsive, severe and high handed attitudes on the part of the Superior causes the heart of the inferiors to close and makes them feel faint hearted and depressed.
3044 She should, as much as possible, keep an eye on all that goes on without appearing to do so. She lets it be seen that she has a deep desire to please them and a strong resolve to see them intent on well doing. She must avoid therefore those domineering ways by which many Superiors govern, who, led by too great a desire to have the rules observed, go around probing into trivial matters, suspicious of all that is done by others, interpreting wrongly the smallest faults, reproving unwisely and severely delinquents who, at the time, are incapable of accepting in a fruitful manner the bitter medicine of correction, or imposing penances upon them which only dishearten them. This manner of governing may work with subjects who are cowed and servile and who can only be led by fear and force, but it will not accomplish any good in those who have voluntarily bound themselves and are guided by love.
3055 This kindly approach should not prevent Superiors from being just and firm in reproving and correcting those at fault. But they must learn to distinguish faults due to weakness and ignorance from those arising from malice and stubbornness. The former, they should forgive easily and sometimes act as if they did not notice them; the latter they must correct most firmly but always blending gentleness with firmness letting it be seen that they are administering the correction against their will and only for the good of the community. If they say nothing or only put up a weak resistance when a Sister, throwing off restraints, deliberately commits a serious public fault against the rule, for example, by breaking silence or by open disobedience, she would then be guilty of culpable connivance and weakness and would have to answer to God for the transgression of the rules and for the laxity that could ensue.
3066 If one of the Sisters should commit a public fault witnessed by the others and if the Superior believes this Sister possesses enough virtue to accept a public reprimand, she will administer it. If the defaulter, carried away by passion, is not in a mood to profit by a reprimand, the Superior will ask the community not to be scandalized, that things in due time will be put right. Then some time afterwards she will correct the Sister in question and will require her to perform a public act of penance as atonement for her public fault.
3077 She will never publicly correct faults which have been committed in private and have therefore been an occasion of scandal to no one.
3088 When speaking to the Sisters she must beware of being over-familiar, or of speaking insultingly to them, or publicly reproaching them concerning Communion, or of arguing with them or shouting at them. She must speak to them both in public and in private with all humility and charity. When she has a legitimate reason to reproach them she does it always in a courteous manner. If a Sister objects to being corrected, the Superior gives way for a time but afterwards reprimands her and imposes an act of penance.
3099 When a Sister, or one of the poor of the hospital, or a schoolchild comes to her to complain about a Sister placed over them, she listens calmly and charitably but does not show approval and so imply condemnation of the Sister in question. On the contrary she strives to speak well of the Sister in the presence of the complainant even if actually the Sister was wrong. Later she will speak privately to this Sister to uncover the truth and settle the matter.
31010 She must be on her guard against believing too readily unfavourable reports concerning her Sisters. She should suspend judgment and never openly condemn the accused person until she has learned the complete truth concerning the matter. She must be careful not to make public what happens in the community and she should require the same discretion of all her Sisters, correcting firmly those who gossip and do not control their tongues.
31111 Here is something St. Francis de Sales says which is worth remembering: "As the soul and the heart give assistance, movement and action to all the parts of the body, so the Superior should animate with her charity, care and example the whole of her community. She should inspire with her zeal all the Sisters over whom she is placed, see that the rules are as strictly observed as possible and foster mutual charity and a holy friendliness in the house. To attain this she should show warm, motherly affection equally to all her daughters so that they will turn to her with full confidence in all their doubts, difficulties, scruples, troubles and temptations.
312"The Superior should do her best to observe faithfully the rules and constitutions without making herself in any way different from others, or claiming or receiving any advantages in clothing, food, etc., except when she would permit the same to other Sisters.
313"When she commands her Sisters either individually or a community she speaks seriously and with assurance but at the same time shows herself pleasant, gentle and humble, filled with love for them and desirous to help them as she commands them.
314"She keeps an attentive eye on the little section of the Congregation over which she is placed so that the whole Community may show forth the peace, harmony, union and generosity of Jesus Christ himself. When every month the Sisters give an account to her of their souls, she may discreetly inquire about their spiritual life so as to be able afterwards to help and stimulate them, as well as correct and console them.
315"She will show a special care for the needs of the sick and will often tend personally those who are seriously ill.
316"She will support with tender love those Sisters who, like little children, are still weak in devotional practice, remembering what St. Bernard says to those who are called to save souls: "Robust souls do not require special care, but only those who are weak. For if anyone helps you more than you help him, acknowledge that you cannot be his superior but his equal. The just and the perfect do not need a superior and guide. They are themselves by the grace of God their own law and director and are capable of doing what is required of them without being commanded."
"The Superior, while giving particular attention to the weak and feeble, should not neglect the stronger ones, but help them to persevere and not become lukewarm. In short, she should see to the needs of the Sisters as required by sincere Christian love and not through any natural consideration, based upon the birth or parentage of the Sisters or their social status, their good looks or other attractive traits. She should not become too familiar with certain ones and so arouse envy in others.
317"She should avoid correcting faults at the moment they are committed and in the presence of others but do so in private and with charity, unless the fault is such that for the edification of those who witnessed it, it requires a prompt expression of disapproval which she will show in such a way that, whilst condemning the fault, she shows consideration for the one at fault and thus, whilst striving to be justly feared, she becomes loved all the more.
318"Let her not give permission easily for too frequent reception of the sacraments, i.e. above what is permitted by the Constitutions, for the Sisters, instead of being moved by love and reverence, may approach Holy Communion only to copy others, or through jealousy, self love or vanity."
319She should choose a good friend among her Sisters to advise her on her defects, one whom other Sisters can approach easily to tell of their complaints when they have not the courage to approach the Superior directly because of the respect they have for her. She should listen with satisfaction when she is thus being informed privately of her defects.
32012 The Superior possesses the power to dispense from the rules in particular cases when prudence, charity and necessity require it either because of sickness or because of the nature of the work; but she must never dispense any Sister for an indefinite period or for reasons based upon the status of the person.
See here for a short description of this rule.