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ment was established, the indispensable Sisterhood was recalled by a decree of the Minister of the Interior.
I can not resist giving you a few passages from the preamble to this edict–certainly very striking and significant—as I find it quoted in a little book now before me. It begins thus :
Seeing that the services rendered to the sick can only be properly administered by those whose vocation it is, and who do it in the spirit of love ;
Seeing, farther, that among the hospitals of the Republic, those are in all ways best served wherein the female attendants have adhered to the noble example of their predecessors, whose only object was to practice a boundless love and charity;
Seeing that the members still existing of this society are now growing old, so that there is reason to fear that an order which is a glory to the country may shortly become extinct ;
“ It is decreed that the Citoyenne Duleau, formerly Superior of the Sisters of Charity, is authorized to educate girls for the care of the hospitals," etc.
I confess I should like to see an Act of our Parliament beginning with such a preamble !
In all the Sisters of Charity I have known, I
have found a mingled bravery and tenderness, if not by nature, by habit; and a certain tranquil self-complacency, arising not from self-applause, but out of the very abnegation of self, which had been adopted as the rule of life.
I have now given you a rapid and most imperfect sketch of what has been done by an organized system of charity in the Roman Catholic Church.
MRS. JAMESON, Sisters of Charity.
THE PROFESSION OF A NUN.
The places allotted to us as being strangers, whom the Italians never fail to distinguish by the most courteous manners, were such as not only to enable us to view the whole ceremony, but to contemplate the features and expression of this interesting being.
All awaited the moment of her entrance with anxious impatience, and on her appearance every eye was directed toward her with an expression of the deepest interest. Splendidly adorned, and attended by a female friend of high rank, she slowly advanced to the seat assigned her near the altar. Her fine form rose above the middle stature, a gentle bend marked her contour; her deep blue eyes, which were occasionally in pious awe raised to Heaven, and her long, dark eyelashes, gave life to a beautiful countenance.
She was the only child of doating parents ; but while their afflicted spirit found vent in tears which coursed over cheeks chilled by sorrow, they yet beheld their treasure about to be separated
from them, with that resignation which piety inspires, while yielding to a sacrifice made to Heaven. The ceremony now began, the priest pronounced a discourse, and the other observances proceeded in the usual order.
At length the solemn moment approached which was to bind her vows to Heaven. She arose and stood for a few moments before the altar; when suddenly, yet with noiseless action, she sank extended on the marble floor. A momentary pause ensued : when the deep silence was broken, by the low tones of the organ, accompanied by soft and beautiful female voices. The sound gently swelled in the air, and as the harmonious volume became more powerful, the deep church-bell at intervals sounded with a loud clamor, exciting a mixed feeling of agitation and grandeur.
This solemn music continued long, and still fell mournfully on the ear; and yet seraphic as in softened tones, and as it were receding in the distance, it gently sank into silence. novice was then raised, and advancing toward the priest, she bent down, kneeling at his feet, while he cut a lock of her hair, as a type of the ceremony that was to deprive her of this, to her no longer valued, ornament. Her attendant then despoiled her of the rich jewels with which she was adorned ;
her splendid upper vesture was thrown off, and replaced by a monastic garment; her long tresses bound up, her temples covered with fair linen; the white crown, emblem of innocence, fixed on her head, and the crucifix placed in her hands.
Then kneeling low once more before the altar, she uttered her last vow to Heaven; at which moment the organ and choristers burst forth in loud shouts of triumph.
The ceremony finished, she arose and attended in procession, proceeding toward a wide gate, dividing the church from the convent, which, opening wide, displayed a small chapel beautifully illuminated; a thousand lights shed a brilliant lustre, whose lengthened gleams seemed sinking into darkness, as they shot through the long perspective of the distant aisle. In the foreground, in a blazing focus of light, stood an altar, from which, in a divided line, the nuns of the community were seen, each holding a large burning wax taper. They seemed to be disposed in order of seniority, and the two youngest were still adorned with the white crown, as being in the first week of their novitiate.
Both seemed in early youth, and their cheeks, yet unpaled by vigils, bloomed with a brightened tint, while their eyes sparkled, and a smile seemed