Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

that cabinet there were vast numbers of happy, lively faces, for there were some hundreds of young persons employed there in various ways, if able to work, and taken care of if ill. They called him father; and such he was to them. But he said our workhouse was much grander, and our masters, with their wives and their families, were much more comfortable, only he wondered why the poor people did not look so happy. If he had stayed longer in our country he might have found out the mystery.

The Bureau de Bienfaisance furnishes the distri. bution of bread to the Sisters, who deliver it to the poor'. These poor are often recommended to the Bureau by the Sisters; thus both are connected and act reciprocally and in unison.

Paris, for instance, is divided into twelve arrondissements; in these are constituted twelve Bureaux de Bienfaisance, under the direction of the Prefect of the Seine. These Bureaus are charged with the distribution of what we call out-door relief in the twelve arrondissements. The officers of each board consist of the mayor, his adjuncts, and twelve administrators, named by the Minister of the Interior. These again appoint whatever commissioners,or ladies of charity, they may require for visiting the poor and distributing relief. A paid agent manages the finances, and gives security for his responsibility. Each arrondissement is again divided into twelve districts, under the inspection of one administrator for each, who, in concert with the commissioners and ladies of Charity, visits and relieves the poor of his division.

Each bureau* has a central house for the administration of its affairs; and SEVERAL HOUSES OF RELIEF, where distribution of provisions and clothing, &c. is made, where a pharmacie, or dispensary is kept; where gratuitous medical aid is given, and where a depôt of linen, clothes, firing, and many other things is maintained, ready for use when required.

These houses of relief are confided to the charge of the Sisters of Charity; small communities of whom are lodged in each, and who are thus the agents of public and governmental charity, acting as parish or relieving officers under the higher officials. They are also employed by the government, or the corporations, as school teachers; a house is given to them, and each sister, demanded for any employment, is paid for her maintenance a sum of from sixteen to twenty-four pounds a year.

The gentleman with the organ of benevolence was an administrator, pleasing himself by witnessing the distribution of bread to the poor. The house the Sisters occupied belonged to the town in which it was, and they were completely the parish officers of the place, and acted as those having authority and as being under authority. All sick persons on the poor list are to be visited by the Sisters of Charity.

* Bureau, in its French sense, means the persons and not the place where they meet.

a

The Bureau de Bienfaisance of Paris charges itself with an immense variety of benevolent work, from the supply of marriage expenses and legal advice, to that of crutches and wooden legs; but I only meant to introduce some part of that work in order to explain its relation to my Sisters.

Whether it may in part arise from this extension of their work bringing them into constant intercourse with all classes, with almost all nations, and with both sexes indifferently, I know not, but it is a fact often noticed by Protestant writers, that these Sisters bear something in their aspect and manners that reminds one of the time of their birth; I mean, that reminds one that the Sisters of Charity are the daughters of the Reformation. I do not mean to offend them by insinuating that they are in any degree of Protestant origin, or, in the most distant degree of heretical kindred; I mean that they were born at a time when the air of liberty had actually raised itself into a storm, and when the energetic and active principle which is supposed to be the germ of Protestant life, had thrown the world and its old institutions into a state of most admired disorderat a time when the contemplative life, even of convents, was going very much out of fashion, and the necessity for orders of active usefulness became apparent to the reformer of the Prench clergy, and the friend of his fearfully afflicted and demoralized country. In short I mean, simply, that the Sisters of Charity, without intention, breathed the air that

ladies of Charity, visits and relieves the poor of his division.

Each bureau* has a central house for the administration of its affairs; and SEVERAL HOTSES OF RELIEF, where distribution of provisions and clothing, &c. is made, where a pharmacie, or dispensary is kept ; where gratuitous medical aid is given, and where a depôt of linen, clothes, firing, and many other things is maintained, ready for use when required. . These houses of relief are confided to the charge of the Sisters of Charity; small communities of whom are lodged in each, and who are thus the agents of public and governmental charity, acting as parish or relieving officers under the higher officials. They are also employed by the government, or the corporations, as school teachers; a house is given to them, and each sister, demanded for any employment, is paid for her maintenance a sum of from sixteen to twenty-four pounds a year.

The gentleman with the organ of benevolence was an administrator, pleasing himself by witnessing the distribution of bread to the poor. The house the Sisters occupied belonged to the town in which it was, and they were completely the parish officerse the place, and acted as those having autho as being under authority. All sick poor list are to be visited by the Sist

* Bureau, in its French sense, menn place where they meet.

1

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »