The Sisters of Charity (Sisters of the Good Shepherd) were originally founded by St. John Eudes in 1651 to convert sinful women and care for orphans.
In 1833 Fr. Moreau
requested from Mother Mary of Saint Euprasia Pelletier superior of the Good
Shepherd in Angers, a group of sisters. According to their constitutions,
each foundation was under the local Bishop, in this case Bishop Philippe Carron,
and it was stipulated that novices trained in Angers would return to the monastery
of Le Mans.
Unknown to Fr. Moreau, a before few days the sisters became established in Le Mans, they had signed a document which stipulated that would remain dependent on the Mother House of Angers. Fr. Moreau was not opposed to Generalate, provided the consent of Rome was obtained. Before this could be accomplished a group of sisters proclaimed the Generalate before receiving approbation from Rome and brought out a New Constitution that their formed director, Fr. Napoleon Perché had revised.
At this point some
bishops and independent monasteries of her Order began to oppose her plan
for a Generalate. Fr. Moreau fearing that he would lose the novices sent to
Angers sent Mother Pelletier and her Council the following statement to sign:
"We, the undersigned, promise Father Moreau, Superior of the Good Shepherd in Le Mans
1. that we will no longer have his novices make vows according to the new Consitution until it has been approved by the Holy See;
2. that, until such time, we will not dispose of his subjects or the goods of the foundation;
3. that we will inspire his novices with sentiments of union, of dependence and of dedication of their superior and the sisters of their community;
4. that we will send all his novices to Le Mans to make profession."
The only response he got from mother Pelletier was that the Bishop of Angers will would decide the matter with the Bishop of Le Mans.
This became a painful time for Fr. Moreau because he was deprived of the dowries of these sisters which he needed to pay for the larger monastery. The penitents of the Refuge became insubordinate and received a letter that told them to go to Angers to find their former directress. At the same time Fr. Moreau received anonymous letters in which he was likened to Luther or Calvin and accusing him of things he had not done.
Mother Pelletier had reached a state of soul when, in the eyes of God, she had to abandon herself completely to God's will. She stated:
"On the feast of the Assumption while we were singing Vespers, I felt such emotion that at the moment of the Magnificat , as I was almost choking with tears, I motioned to our dear Sister Assistant, Marie de Chantal de Jésu de la Roche, to continue the Office. I hurried to our poor cell and there, I began with trembling hand to write to the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, opening with the words of the Blessed Virgin: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.' I was so overcome by what I was doing that, not knowing in what terms to express my submission, I closed with these lines: 'Your Eminence, I prostate myself in the dust; I am at your feet; I desire nothing but the greater glory of God. If the Sovereign Pontiff and Your Eminence see any objections to the erection of the Generalate, I submit most humbly.' "
This letter sent to Cardinal Odescalchi reached the Pope and had its effect. Pope Gregory XVI approved her constitutions but the warning of Fr. Moreau in the letter of August 15, 1834 which read, "You run the risk of compromising yourself in the eyes of the other communities of your Order . By putting the Constitution (52) into effect, you will cease to belong to the Institute . You will be regarded as a simple congregation ." (p.243) came to pass."
All of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd at Le Mans, except one, chose to remain separated from Angers.
In conclusion Fr.
"Thus terminated a misunderstanding in which everyone sought the good and which in fact, in spite of vexations and contradictions, served only to solidify our community at Le Mans and to develop that of Angers." (Basil Moreau, Chronicles, 1834)
Mother St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier died on April 24, 1868 and by that time her foundation had established 110 houses.