A 131-year-old Bible that had been on display at St. John Catholic Elementary School in Kirkfield has been returned to its rightful home with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Peterborough.
PVNC Director of Education Michael Nasello and Board Chairperson Michelle Griepsma presented the Bible to the Sisters during a Mass at The Mount on Thursday, September 29th.
The Bible was published in 1885. According to a personal, handwritten inscription (see photo below), Msgr. Dominic Casey of Lindsay gifted this impressive Bible to Mother Mary Clotilde, the second Superior General of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough.
“It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to return this Bible to the Sisters of St. Joseph,” Nasello says. “This important piece of history has been on loan to St. John Catholic Elementary School in Kirkfield for many years and today it is returned to its rightful home.”
The date on the Bible’s inscription is June 1905. Much of the Bible’s history is unknown, but former students of St. John CES in Kirkfield have recalled that the Bible came to the school with some other items when the old rectory in Lindsay was closed. St. John CES in Kirkfield closed in June 2016.
Sister Veronica O'Reilly says the Sisters are happy to receive such an important part of their congregation’s history: "It means a very great deal to us because the history of our Sisters is still very much alive among us and to be reminded of that is a source of inspiration for us always going forward."
“It was a touching moment for all of those who have been involved in Catholic education because the very fact that the current Director of Education and Chair of the Board gave this to us, strengthened that link that has always been there," Sister O'Reilly adds. "We are very grateful and very moved by this gift and we will cherish it in our archives.”
Joe Keast, the archivist at The Mount, said the Bible—which is large, heavy and features a beautifully engraved cover and impressive illustrations—would have been a significant gift from the clergy to the Sisters at the time.
Left to Right: Sister Veronica O'Reilly, archivist Joe Keast, PVNC Director of Education Michael Nasello and Board Chairwoman Michelle Griepsma
“It was a very special gift. It shows how much the clergy respected the Sisters. It would have been seen as a thank you to all of the Sisters and all of the work that they were doing,” Keast says. “Because Mother Clothilde was such a major figure in the early years of the congregation, to have something of hers back will be cherished by all the Sisters.”