Was Father Nerinckx a rigorist? — His mortification. — His devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin. — His discernment of vocations. — His kindness to the sick. — His unbounded confidence in Divine Providence. — His devotion to the Sacred Heart. — His humility.
The reader who has patiently followed us through the many vicissitudes of Father Nerinckx' life, can now easily form an estimate of the character and virtues of the holy missionary. The facts, as related, plainly bespeak the man; no comment of ours could place him in a stronger or more favorable light. No priest ever came to the missions of the United States, who left his impress so clear and district upon the people as did Father Nerinckx. His influence is plainly traceable in the catholics of Kentucky, and his spirit is still living in the Order which he founded — the Lorettines. A few additional strokes will complete the picture.
The following appreciation of the man, is by one who knew him personally for years:1 "When we reflect upon the uniform tenor of his p549 life, we are at no loss to conjecture what was the firmness of his hope at the approach of death. In him, we have no doubt, the slothful and indifferent might have witnessed what a blessed thing it is to die after a life spent in the service of God and men. They would have joined the Prophet in exclaiming: 'Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints.' " He then recounts his many works, and continues: "His piety was as sincere as the rest of his virtues. It was of that solid, steady, and uniform kind, which bespoke him sincerely devoted to God, and entirely divested of self-seeking. All his leisure hours he spent in retirement, useful reading, and prayer. He was never known to pay a visit of mere civility — preferring rather to converse in secret with his Heavenly Father than to indulge in the pleasures of human conversation. His piety was not ostentatious, but it was easily discovered by the neatness, the order and regularity which he preserved in all the churches where he served. It was also particularly observable in the special care he took to instruct youth. He would practice a thousand modes to establish them in true and solid devotion. We shall ever remember his zeal in particular. He was a rigid divine and an austere disciplinarian. Perhaps he was severe even to a fault. This temper of mind sometimes offended his more remiss parishioners; yet, whatever might have been the severity of his morals, we have heard but this one testimony of him, p550 so much to his praise: if men followed his advice, and imitated his life, they would be sure to do right. To finish his character in a word, he was such a man as every one who loves salvation, could wish to be; a friend of God and the devoted servant of mankind."
Such is the estimate of Father Nerinckx' character, at the time of his death; and we indorse it to‑day. There is, however, one point in Discipulus' notice, which, in justice to truth and to Father Nerinckx' character, we can not let pass unchallenged. To defend Father Nerinckx against the charge of rigorism, or of "burdening the people," by saying that they who followed his advice "would be sure to do right," is an evasion of the point, which could be used, even to defend the Pharisees against the same charge in Math. xxiii. The question is not whether people by doing more than he had a legal right to require of them, would be safe — even then a distinction would have to be made — but the question regarding him is: was he a rigorist, that is, an unjust taskmaster?
I think his defense is in the ruling practice of many schools in his day, when the spirit, and much of the practical doctrines of Jansenism were still in vogue. Father Nerinckx was rigorous to what would now be a blemish in him; but he was a holy man, who must be judged in connection with his day. Father Nerinckx partially rose above its Calvinistic tendencies. Thus, though the principle can not be defended, p551 the man himself can be fully excused. We must remember, moreover, that Father Nerinckx had witnessed, in all their hideousness, the awful results of neglect of christian duties, during the French Revolution. These necessarily impressed the naturally serious mind of the priest, who had suffered exile for conscience's sake, with a sense of the necessity of earnestness in the service of God, easily over-excited by the indifference of many of his people.
Father Nerinckx was austere especially to himself; we never heard of a man aiming at holiness who was not. This austerity was apparent in the body of rules which he drew up for the Society of the Friends of Mary; but they breathed the purest spirit of christian perfection; the sacred Congregation of the Propaganda had approved of them, and the Holy Father had sanctioned them. "To foster the spirit of humility and mortification, he recommended manual labor and the love of being employed in the most menial offices of the house. To encourage the sisters to practice these employments with cheerfulness and love, he pointed to the lowly life and the voluntary hardships and privations of the Blessed Savior, and to the great utility of such mortifications for the atonement of sin, and the laying up of abundant merits in heaven."2 As we have said, the poverty of the Society, at its commencement, compelled hard labor; but the exposure of the sisters p552 to every inconvenience of weather, while laboring hard in the fields or forests, was done away with as soon as their means allowed them to employ hired help. The practice of going barefooted during a great portion of the year was too rigid for health and ill-suited to the nature of the climate, but Father Nerinckx had only allowed it at the persistent request of the fervent novices, and subsequently forbade it entirely. And that those rigid regulations were not very detrimental to the health of the sisters was fully proved by the results: Young ladies who had boarded at Old Loretto, in 1813, and joined the Society shortly after at the tender age of sixteen, were still hale and hearty, observing all the rules of the community, in 1875; and we doubt whether there is a religious society in the United States, or any class of lay-people, that can show so great a percentage of vigorous old age as the Society of Friends of Mary, in Kentucky, possesses. The Sisters had entered into the full spirit of their state, and scrupulously followed Father Nerinckx' instructions; indeed, they would have enjoyed yet more terrible mortifications had he left matters to their own choice. But he would not suffer any instrument of penance, such as iron girdles, etc., to be used by the sisters, saying that a religious who kept the rules, and worked and taught all day, was well disciplined by night. In fact, all who knew Father Nerinckx speak, p553 above all things, of his uniform kindness to others and severity to himself.
His mortification was something surprising; he fasted every day of the year; his clothes were homespun, and, as a little instance of his aversion for all kind of ornaments, it is related, that, having received a new horse bridle trimmed in the prevalent style of those days, he quietly took his pocket-knife and cut off the tassels and ornamentations. "Mr. Nerinckx himself," writes Bishop Flaget,3 "led an extremely austere and mortified life; his dress, his lodging, his food was poor; and he has filled his monasteries with this holy spirit. Those women seek for poverty in every thing, in their monasteries, in the plain simplicity of their chapels. The neatness, the cleanliness, the simplicity of their dwellings and of their chapels excite the wonder of their visitors. But nothing could exceed the devotion of Mr. Nerinckx to the Holy Sacrament of our altars; in this respect he was a model for every clergyman. In his churches you saw only plainness except about the altar, and his devotion led him to aim at magnificence in this place, especially as regarded the Tabernacle, which was to contain the Holy of Holies; every thing connected with the sacred mysteries called forth the exercise of this devotion. Never did he permit a day to pass without celebrating p554 Mass, unless grievously ill, or engaged in a long journey; and a rule of his monasteries is to keep up, on Thursday nights, the perpetual adoration, by a succession of two sisters to two sisters, before the Blessed Sacrament, to pay their homage to the God who loved us so dearly, as, after having suffered death for us, to give us, under the sacramental veils, His flesh to eat: and to repair, in some degree, the disrespect with which this Sacrament is treated by the ingratitude of the human race."
The Bishop continues: "This good man had also great filial piety to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and he desired to excite this affection for the Mother of our Savior in all those with whom he had any intercourse. He admired her spirit of patient love and resignation in sufferings, especially when she beheld her dearly beloved — her Creator and her Son — upon that cross, at the foot of which she was weeping. Often did the pious ejaculation, which he was in the habit of teaching to others, escape from his own lips: 'Oh! Suffering Jesus! Oh! Sorrowful Mary!' In all the churches which he attended, he established the Society of the Holy Rosary, and the Confraternity and Sisterhood of the Scapular; and almost all the catholics of his congregations, men, women, and children, are still enrolled in one or more of those pious societies.
"Nothing could be more edifying than his piety toward the dead. It is quite impossible to p555 pass by any of the numerous cemeteries which he has laid out without feeling deep sentiments of religion, and having a sweet sensation of deep melancholy blended with the hope of the christian. In the midst of each abode of the dead is reared the glorious emblem of the christian's faith, a large cross, surrounded by a balustrade, for the convenience of the pious friends who come top pray for their departed brethren. At the end of each grave, you also find the emblematic cross, inscribed with the dates of the birth, death, and the name of the brother or sister, whose bones are there laid up in the hope of the resurrection. One of the rules of his nuns is to go with their scholars in procession to the cemetery of the convent, and there frequently to pray for the repose of the souls of their sisters. Mr. Nerinckx obtained from the Pope considerable indulgences for those who, in his convents, offer up the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for departed souls, and the indulgence is applicable to those who assist at the Mass. He never permitted a week to pass without offering up the Mass for this great object.
"His love for retirement was such that he never paid a visit of mere ceremony. Indeed, he never visited, except when the good of his neighbor or the duty of his ministry made it obligatory on him to do so. His watchings, even during his longest and most painful journeys, were very long, and were always spent either in study or in prayer. Prayer appeared to be his p556 greatest and only solace in the midst of his continual labors."4 "To keep up the constant practice and spirit of prayer in the houses of his Society, Mr. Nerinckx inculcated, besides regular and devout attendance at all the pious exercises of the community, distributed throughout the day, the utility of raising their hearts to God by a pious aspiration or ejaculation, whenever they would hear the clock strike, or would pass from one occupation to the other."5
Like all men of prayer, Father Nerinckx possessed a wonderful knowledge of souls and insight into their spiritual wants. His discernment of religious vocations was most remarkable. The following instances were related to us, in 1874, by the very sisters who were in 1816 under his spiritual direction: One of the scholars, only fourteen years of age, and an orphan, desired very much to become a member of the Society. After consulting with Father Nerinckx on the subject, she took the religious habit, and when of sufficient age made her final vows. Her aunt, who had been a true mother to her, was present at the latter ceremony, and, after Mass, he had an interview with her niece, embraced her, and said: "Now I am happy, my dear child; and I will tell you something that will encourage you to persevere in your religious vocation. When our venerable Father Nerinckx p557 came to ask my consent to your taking the holy habit; I objected to it, on account of your youth. His answer was short, but overcame all my scruples: 'Madam,' he replied, 'I will go security for the child that she will never leave the Society.' I could not refuse; for it seemed God himself spoke by the mouth of the holy man. I never told you of it, for fear it might influence you; but now that you have made your final vows, rejoice, my dear child, and persevere unto the end."
Another one of the boarders, of about the same age, was equally anxious to become a religious. Unable to overcome her father's opposition, she entreated Father Nerinckx to go and intercede with him in her behalf. "It is better for you to go home," was the prudent priest's decision, "the time has not come yet, but it will come." And it did come, two years after his precious death.
Father Nerinckx was no enthusiast in the matter of religious vocations; in this, as in every thing else, he was matter of fact, and made the postulants feel that, in becoming religious, they were making a sacrifice, and choosing mortification and the cross. A little incident, which may seem puerile in the eyes of worldly readers, but which a careful student of the spirit of Father Nerinckx can not ignore, may serve as an illustration of the self-denial he required of them. The yard of Old Loretto was always kept very clean. On one occasion, p558 Father Nerinckx sent word by a sister to one of the postulants to go and pick up every little stick or straw that she could find from the school to his own house, on the opposite side of the yard. The pupil was diligently complying with the order, and had already gathered a handful of weeds and other rubbish, when, upon hearing a heavy step behind her, she turned her head and beheld Father Nerinckx looking her reprovingly in the eyes. "What are you doing here?" was the rather abrupt question. A meek reply was instantly rebuked by a short order to "go to school, and an expressive look which told, better than words could tell, that if she was found there again during school hours, the presumed fault would be punished with a more severe reprimand. The fact that no attempt at exculpation was made, is a practical proof of the true spirit of humility and abnegation of self which flourished in the Society in early days, and which the good sister still practices at the good old age of seventy-nine years.
But, although Father Nerinckx was prudent, and thoroughly tried the postulants, no worldly considerations could prevent him from telling the truth, when the voice of God plainly called a soul to his service. A young lady boarder of Loretto had long struggled against the conviction, which forced itself more and more upon her mind, that she was called to a religious life. The term of her studies had finally been reached, and a servant had come to take her p559 home to her parents. A powerful struggle between nature and grace now ensued. God's own grace, it is true, was on the one hand; but on the other, the world, with all its glittering allurements; the world, in which her position and talents would secure for her the admiration of her friends, where the love of a dear mother, who invited her home, awaited her. Should she say farewell to all these, to bury herself, her uh and all her attainments, within the convent walls, where no admiring eye, no flattering tongue would appreciate her gifts? The conflict was hard, and she was going to take the fatal leap into the world, when a good inspiration came to her: she would go to Father Nerinckx and acquaint him with her struggles. No sooner had she entered his room, than the priest spoke in a decided tone: "You have a vocation to a religious life, and you are about to lose it. You are free, my child, to go home or stay. Our Lord offers you the chance to be His now; if you accept, it will be yours forever; if you go home, you will never return; your vocation will be taken from you, and given to one who will be more faithful to receive it. You will then be left with only sufficient grace to save your soul. But will you save it? Now then, do as you please." "Father," she replied, "I stay; please write to mother, and inform her of my resolution." From that moment, her heart was as relieved of a great weight. In due time, she received the religious p560 habit, and, up to the day of this writing, when she is still alive, no happier soul is to be found within convent walls.
One more instance of Father Nerinckx', we might almost say, supernatural intuition: a young lady convert went to Loretto to school, and soon became very unhappy. She had a perfect dread of becoming a nun, and left the convent lest she should acquire an inclination for the religious state. But her unhappiness only increased at her return into the world, and she came back. Unable to conquer her fears, she finally determined to have an interview with the spiritual director on the subject, in the hope of obtaining some relief. She told him all, and was not a little surprised when Father Nerinckx simply directed her to go to the chapel and say a little prayer. "But, Father, I can't, I won't be a nun!" she exclaimed. "Never mind, my child," replied the priest in a quiet tone, "just go to church; prayer will do you no harm." She went, and scarcely had she knelt down, when all her troubles vanished. Some months later, she begged to be received as a member of the community; she became a most exemplary sister, and years after ended her virtuous life by a most edifying death.
Although always austere in his manners, and mortified in his way of living, and requiring the sisters to practice the virtue of mortification in an eminent degree, Father Nerinckx had a peculiar tenderness for the sick. Nothing was too p561 good for them, and the sisters were ordered to treat them with extraordinary care and attention. He visited the infirmary every day himself, and would carry to the sufferers wine, which was otherwise never used but for altar purposes, and have the sisters supply them with all the delicacies which poor Loretto could afford. On one occasion a postulant was prostrated with a very high fever, and obliged to remain in the infirmary. Father Nerinckx came to pay her a visit, and inquired of her, whether she did not desire to go home. Upon her answering in the negative, he looked around, and spying some dry corn-bread on a tin plate, asked the sick child whether that was all they gave her to eat. She replied that she desired nothing, and Father Nerinckx retired. The same afternoon a wagon arrived at Calvary, and she who was infirmarian of Loretto stepped out, and brought the superior's orders for another sister to start at once for Loretto. In a few moments, the one summoned took her place in the wagon, and was, before night, installed at the bedside of the sick postulant, to whom she proved a most tender and skillful nurse. The sister thus sent to Calvary, and who was so exemplary a member of the community that she never received the least admonition, related the incident herself some twenty years after its occurrence.
Father Nerinckx was a great lover of poverty, and always had the sisters put an old patch in a p562 conspicuous place of their new dress. However, he liked cleanliness, and rigorously enforced it upon all. A novice who was considered to be a little vain had been made to wear an old dress for a considerable length of time. One day, Father Nerinckx noticed the neglect of her apparel, and told her to request the Mistress of Novices to call on him. A few moments later, she was requested by the latter to go and change the worn-out garment for a new one, which she would find in her cell. In due time the mistress took the tattered habit to Father Nerinckx, who bade her throw it into the fire, remarking that austerity and poverty were very commendable virtues, but that cleanliness was an essential one.
We have already spoken of his unbounded confidence in Divine Providence, and of his favorite maxim which he had always on his lips, and which is engraven on his tomb: "Do not forsake Providence and He will never forsake you!" That the sisters were in that respect faithful followers of their founder, and partakers of his spirit, is amply proved by what Sister Eulalia relates as having happened in 1818. It need not be repeated that the beginnings were everywhere very poor at the date 1818. At Calvary, especially, the sisters labored under many privations during the first months of their residence. One morning, after a very meager breakfast, at which they had consumed almost the last provisions in the house, Mr. Vincent p563 Gates6 was sent into the neighborhood to buy, beg, or borrow some meat and other victuals for dinner. Meanwhile good Sister Reyneldis Hayden, going to the river, which was near by, and having to pass through a little cane-brake that had not yet been cleared up, saw a fawn which was intently looking at her. Fixing her eyes on those of the animal, she walked up to it, and, throwing her mantle over its head, led it unresistingly to the slaughter. So the sisters had a good dinner, and their trust in the protection of Providence was considerably increased.
But above all things, and that will endear Father Nerinckx' memory to many a reader, the holy man had a most tender love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He invariably ended all his instructions with a recommendation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. His sisters, to this day, wear the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary embroidered in red silk on the corners of their black veils, resting upon their heart, and are recommended by their founder to kiss them often through the day. In fact, the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was made the Standard and the daily Food of the Society of the Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross. In 1816, while in Belgium, Father Nerinckx had a wood-cut made and several hundred p564 copies of it printed, representing the Suffering Jesus on the Cross, almost completely hidden by a huge Flaming Heart. In the gaping wound of the Divine Heart, the pierced heart of the Sorrowful Mary is hidden, and surrounded by smaller ones representing the number of professed sisters, while other similar hearts are seen leaving the earth to seek a refuge in that wound of love, typifying the novices and postulants. On the rock which forms the base of the Cross, waves the Standard of the Society: "O Suffering Jesus! O Sorrowful Mary!" and a facsimile of the Old Loretto Convent is seen to the right, in the background. One of these Father Nerinckx had framed with a glass on both sides, the reverse bearing the following inscription in his own handwriting:
O Dear Sisters and Scholars!
Love your Jesus, dying with love for you on the Cross! Love Mary, your loving Mother, sorrowing at the Foot of the Cross! Love one another, have only one heart, one soul, one p565 mind! Love the Institute, love the rules, love Jesus' darling humility!
His dictis, Superior advenit et senior Scholaris et genuflexae osculantur S. S. Corda, et mox incipitur Missa. Semper commendatura: memoria benefactorum, praesertim Flandrorum. Memoria Pii VII et Ben. Jos. primi Bard. Epi. sub quibus Institutum coepit, et a quibus protectum stat et propagatur.8
How sweetly blended with the main devotion of his foundation — the Sufferings of Jesus and Mary!
Much more could be said about the virtues and holy practices of the venerable missionary, but we must content ourselves with the following extract from his own writings. Saved from destruction, because copied before his manuscripts were consigned to the fire, it will show the man as he was, mortified, and, above all, possessing, in a supereminent degree, the great virtue of humility — the foundation of sanctity, the cornerstone of the whole fabric of christian perfection.
The writer's opinion, should he be a confessor of nuns, from which his want of talents frees him.
"The writer's opinion is, that there is no part of the flock that requires a more apt, or a more accomplished confessor than a community of nuns. If their call, according to the Holy Fathers, be more eminent than any other, their lives ought to be more holy, and hence their guides better qualified than the average of priests. It is really a mistake, that has been observed in nearly all catholic countries, that religious can be easily led by men of common capacity and talents, sometimes worn out with age and labor.
"Indeed, this is a mistake, and a very pernicious one. I do not wonder if some ascribe, in a great measure, to this blunder, the general downfall of religious orders in Europe in these days. The weak and ignorant laborer lets the cockle grow, and is not able to prevent its growth in these beautiful gardens of the Church of God; and by this same want of skill, these castles and fortresses of religion become the prey of our enemies. Scandals burst out as torrents, and sweep every thing before them; and the armies of the reserve being defeated, our enemies have nothing more to fear. The Sophists of the present day are very well apprised of this truth, and if the sins crying to heaven for vengeance are not common here, we can not p567 say the same of the sins of ignorance in the very mysteries of religion.
"Our little army of Loretto, will, I think, give constant employment to and tax the energy and zeal of the best informed of confessors. It is a great task: Christian duties, rules and spirit of the Institute, christian perfection, extensive dominion of vice and passions, corruption of the heart, artifices of the devil, policy of this world, visits of numerous kindred, subsistence of the houses, temporal concerns, schools, domestics and servants, and many other points too numerous to mention, will offer him a very serious battle, and that on a very slippery ground.
"Had I the necessary talents, together with a lawful mission, I would wish to act after the following rules:
"1. I would keep up a regular course of studies. The Ascetics and Mystics would take up part of my time. Catechisms, exhortations, sermons, retreats, etc., would not leave much time to slumber. The very study and meditation of the rules, etc., kept the holy ones busy for centuries to accomplish the edifice of christian perfection.
"2. For this purpose, I would divide my day's work, beginning half an hour before the community of the sisters, that is, at three or half past three A.M., and finishing at ten P.M.; giving four hours to study, meditation of rules, etc.; office, celebration of Mass, and private devotions p568 might take five hours; visits of schools and temporal concerns taking up the balance of the time.
"3. I would endeavor to bring my practice in the confessional and my exhortations to the community to the mode of Father Barry, not losing the precious time, as St. Ignatius says, in trying to satisfy minds which are sure never to be satisfied. (Father Nerinckx' meaning is that he would merely insist upon compliance with the rules and blind obedience in direction, without trying to give for every thing the reason why, for the satisfaction of the more learned.) It may be observed that this class of penitents are not the most faithful observers of rules.
"4. I would allow none to call on me without a real necessity, a short while, and in due time with all necessary precautions.
"5. I would receive none of their services, but those that can not possibly be avoided. Hours should be appointed, out of which no audience.
"6. My clothes would be as much as possible homespun, and made as full, plain, and canonical as can be done; the gown, or toga talaris, with the Summer habit of 600 cotton. I should hate to preach poverty and see so many orphans suffering and naked, while I would wear the dress of the gentry. A priest has more right to look like an Apostle than like a gentleman. A St. Francis Xavier has tried it, and St. James wore a habit of linen. The relics we have of p569 the habits and linen of the saint and apostolic men show what stuff they were made of. We are ministers of the same God, preachers of the same Gospel; in need of more penance, mortification, and self-denial; still, aiming at the same heavenly reward.
"7. For the same reasons, I would be as particular about my food, which I would regulate in the following manner: no breakfast in the morning; at dinner, one dish of meat, with a plate of vegetables and corn-bread. Since my severe spell of sickness, my old age and many complaints seem to call for a warm drink, as tea, etc., but this should be weak and without sweets. At night, bread and butter, if it can be had. Never would I partake of puddings, cakes, preserves, etc., wines, liquors, or cider. This last was the wish and practice of Bishop Flaget whilst at Loretto.
"8. I would never pay any visits; nor would I receive any but such as hospitality would command. Loss of time, scandals, or little edification, I have often seen to be the consequence of visitors in Europe. I know not one convert, made by the habit of visiting, in America; and I also know that non-visitors make fully as many proselytes if not more than the others.
"9. Special exertions should be made to comply as much as possible with the Rules of the Society, not to let the weak female disciples p570 outdo the strong and perfect master, which the confessor ought to be.
"It appears then, that confessors of this cast would be very scarce, and could not well be found but in an institute of males of a similar description. He who presides over the keeping of the rules, should be the first observer of them. The writer feels ashamed of his own cowardice. The necessity of such an institute is an absolute one for the preservation of the Society as it exists now.9 It is impossible to keep up the spirit of the Society, if the members of it are under the direction of isolated priests, not regulars, who, as they differ greatly in practice, need differ as much in theory, whilst a fixed theory may be called the 'Spirit of the Society.' "
"Note. What is here said, was written March 4, 1820, a little while before I went to Europe on business, from whence I returned in November, 1821. During that time the Society suffered much, and was not a little exposed; what I insinuated in No. 9 above, remains then unquestionably true."
1 Discipulus, in the U. S. Catholic Miscellany, December 1, 1824.
2 "Sketches of Kentucky."
3 Letter to Bishop England, in U. S. Catholic Miscellany, above quoted.
4 Letter of Bishop Flaget, U. S. Catholic Miscellany, above quoted.
5 Sketches of Kentucky above quoted.
6 This was an elderly gentleman who had devoted his life to serve the Sisters of Loretto, and who died most edifyingly at Loretto Convent in the latter part of August, 1833.
7 The priest, being ready for Mass, turns toward those present and reads the following little exhortation.
8 This being said, the Superior and the oldest scholar come up, and kneeling down, kiss the S. S. Hearts; then begins the Mass. The remembrance should ever be made of the benefactors, especially those of Flanders, of Pius VII, and of Benedict Joseph, first Bishop of Bardstown, under both of whom the Institute began, and by whom it is to‑day protected and extended.
9 We may infer from this passage what Rev. Nerinckx had in view in establishing a brotherhood. First, of course, the education of males, but also the direction of his sisterhood. In time, the Society would have obtained some subjects called to and qualified for the priesthood, who would have acted as directors of both branches of the Institute.
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