e-book Guide for Catholic young women : especially for those who earn their own living (1910)

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In Germany the secularization of poor-relief began with the imperial police regulations of ; in France Francis II extended the compulsory obligation of the community to give and the right of the poor to claim support, decreed by Francis I for Paris, to all his territories. It was but to be expected that poor-relief should be secularized also in England ; this provision was followed in by the legal institution of poorhouses, and in by the celebrated Poor Law of Queen Elizabeth. This state continued until , when the reform which had been found absolutely indispensable was effected.

VII de Ref. XXV de Ref. In accordance with these decrees, numerous provincial synods laboured to improve ecclesiastical poor-relief. Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan d. Simultaneously there arose especially for the care of the poor and the sick and for the training of poor children a number of new orders and congregations -- e. Camillus of Lellis, the Somaschans, the Order of St.

Fundamental and exemplary was the activity of St. Vincent de Paul d. Comprehensive poor-laws were passed by several European states, but in no case were they such as to make ecclesiastical poor-relief dispensable. The States sought by the legal protection of labour in the form of workmen's insurance, factory laws, and commercial regulations, to prevent poverty and to render stricter and perfect the poor-regulations. Legislation is obliged to return to the old Christian principle of charitable institutions.

In Germany and the neighbouring countries the "Elberfelder System" was adopted for the public care of the poor; this is based on personal contact between the almoner and the impoverished family, and combines the communal and private charitable activities.

In South Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, the communities employ more than formerly private bodies in their poorhouses and orphanages, religious congregations -- e. Regulations concerning the communities and establishments for poor-relief have been inaugurated widely to-day in districts, provinces, countries, and states.

Vincent de Paul founded , the Charitable Students' Circles, the legal bureaux, the colonies of workmen, the temperance movement, and the inebriate asylums. The necessity of securing unanimity of purpose among the various ecclesiastical institutions for the relief of the poor has called into life various diocesan and national unions for the organization of charity -- e. On the Protestant side, the ecclesiastical care of the poor is organized especially by the Home Missions.

The organization of ecclesiastical poor-relief is necessary to-day to bind together, after the fashion of the early Christian charitable activity for the repression and prevention of poverty, all religious monastic, private, corporate, state, and communal forces aiming at this object; while the varying national and local conditions demand a great diversity in organization, in general the following must be the guiding principles:.

He directs undertakings affecting the entire or a great portion of the diocese, and regulates and supervizes the general charitable activity of the parishes;. Monastic orders labouring in the parish, charitable lay associations, orphanages and institutes for the poor and sick are all under his direction.

The parish-priest should endeavour to co-operate as far as possible with the secular and private poor-relief of his district, and also with the local authorities, so as to secure regular and uniform action;. The keeping of a list of the poor is indispensable;. Sometimes local poor-relief is combined with the charitable organizations of the neighbourhood;.

While maintenance in a family is preferable, no general rule can be laid down on this point.


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A new task is the charitable provision for children, who are uncared for by their parents, and who are morally unprotected cf. Repressive provision for the poor is also directed towards persons able to work, who can earn their livelihood and do not do so.

If this is the result of obstinate laziness, and an inclination to begging and vagabondage, the State should confine the offenders in institutions of compulsory labour, or engage them on useful works, paying them wages and supporting them. Should, however, it arise from inability to find employment, the State should interfere by inaugurating relief-works, comprehensive organization of information as to labour conditions, fostering private relief measures, workers' colonies etc.

This is never entirely successful, but it may become partially so by the combination of the Church, State, trade organizations, and private charitable agencies along the following lines:. The Church of Canada has numerous charitable institutions.

Mgr de Saint-Vallier who had already founded the General Hospital of Quebec, and whose will contained the words: "Forget me, but do not forget my poor" in requested the Ursulines to found a hospital at Three Rivers. This hospital was placed in charge of the Sisters of Providence in This congregation, whose object is the care of foundlings, orphans, the sick, the aged, and the infirm, was the origin of other independent communities engaged in the same work, namely the Grey Nuns at St.

These communities, which are spread throughout Canada, accomplish wonderful works of charity in behalf of the poor. More recent foundations are allied with them, among the most important being the Sisters of Providence founded at Montreal in by Mme Gamelin , who devote themselves to the spiritual and temporal relief of the poor and sick, orphans and aged, the visitation and care of the sick in their homes, dispensaries, refuges, and workrooms.

They have eighty-five establishments. At Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec there is a society for the Protection of Young Girls, as also the Layette Society, an association of charitable women which assists poor families at the period of the birth of children. The above table, though necessarily incomplete, affords an idea of the number and variety of charitable activity in Canada.

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The Church carries out these undertakings, at least in the Province of Quebec, almost entirely with the assistance of private charity. In Ontario the Government pays 20 cents a day for days and 7 cents a day for subsequent days for each patient admitted to a hospital; the cities also pay their quota. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was established at Quebec in by Dr. Joseph Painchaud. Conferences were formed at Montreal , Toronto , Ottawa , and Hamilton The superior council for all Canada is located at Quebec. In the society numbered 97 French conferences with members and 59 English conferences with members.

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Relief was given to families, composed of 11, individuals. Besides visiting the poor in their homes, the society has organized patronages for the instruction of poor children and night shelters for the homeless, and finds homes with families for orphaned apprentices. Under the former may be included Parliament, which makes laws affecting the care of the poor and local bodies, such as county, borough, town, and district councils, and more particularly the boards of guardians which administer them.

The tendency of modern legislation has been to transfer certain sections of work affecting the poor from boards of guardians to other local bodies. As education, public health, pension, and asylum authorities, municipal bodies other than boards of guardians now deal with feeding necessitous school children, medical inspection and treatment of children attending the elementary schools, the after-care of school children, scholarships, schools for defective children, inspection of laundries, workshops, common lodging houses, and houses let in tenements, the allocation of old age pensions, and the provision and management of all forms of asylums for the insane and epileptic.

All public statutory bodies dealing with the care of the poor obtain their funds from taxes or rates, to which Catholic as citizens contribute either directly or indirectly. In Great Britain until recently Catholics had few organizations for securing Catholic representation upon public bodies. Within the last few years, however, the Catholic Federation movement has spread in different parts of the country.

This aims at encouraging Catholics to take their share in public affairs by becoming candidates for public office not necessarily as Catholics, but as ordinary citizens , and to safeguard Catholic interests by putting test questions to all candidates on matters affecting Catholics in order to afford guidance to Catholic voters. By these efforts, and notably by the exertions of individuals, Catholics have secured some representation upon public bodies, though not in proportion to their numbers.

In the House of Commons elected in January, , there were 9 Catholic members out of for constituencies in England and Wales, but none out of 72 in Scotland. No figures for municipal bodies are available, but in many of the larger towns in Great Britain Catholics have representation for example, the London County Council has 5 Catholic members out of Catholics have greatest representation upon boards of guardians which exist directly for the care of the poor. This is due mainly to the efforts of the Catholic Guardians Association founded in , which forms a centre for Catholic guardians, holds an annual conference, gives legal advice, conducts negotiations with Government departments, and assists in various ways.

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Religion | The Canada Guide

Out of 24, members of boards of guardians in England and Wales are Catholics. In Ireland, of course, except in a few districts in the north, a large proportion of the members of all public bodies are Catholics: out of members of Parliament, for example, 74 are Catholics. In Legislation affecting the poor, Catholic members of Parliament by their influence have safeguarded Catholic interests. In acts, for example, dealing with defective children, provisions have been inserted which secure to Catholic parents the right under certain conditions to have their children sent to Catholic schools: in the recent Children's Act similar restrictions have also been inserted.

Catholic members of municipal councils have in many cases secured the appointment of Catholic co-opted members upon the education committees, considerate treatment for Catholic children in the administration of the Provision of Meals Education Act, in the medical treatment and inspection of school children, in the work of the Children's Care Committees, and in the carrying out of the Industrial Schools Acts: they have also in many cases obtained satisfactory provision for, religious observances for Catholic inmates of lunatic asylums, remand homes, inebriate homes, and the like.

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The efforts of the Catholic Guardians have gained great advantages for Catholic in many districts, such as the appointment of Catholic religious instructors in workhouses and infirmaries, facilities for Mass and the sacraments for the inmates of poor law institutions either within or without these establishments, arrangements for recognized Catholic visitors to workhouses and infirmaries and the safeguarding of the faith of Catholic children by Securing their transfer to Catholic poor law schools.

Indeed, beyond the benefits to their own coreligionists, to the influence of Catholic guardians may be attributed in no small degree the improved administration of the Poor Law in recent years. A striking witness to the value of their efforts in this respect may be found in the anxiety shown by those interested in the reports of the recent Royal Commission on the Poor Law to secure the support of Catholics for their particular views.

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Catholics influence the care of the poor through voluntary organizations, either by participating in the work of general agencies or by their own efforts on Catholic lines. The more important philanthropic bodies, such as the Charity Organization Society, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the Children's Country Holiday Fund, or the public hospitals supported by voluntary funds, all include many Catholics amongst their members, with the result that these bodies usually willingly co-operate with recognized Catholic organizations, whenever Catholic applicants for relief have to be considered.

In the absence of official statistics, it is difficult to estimate accurately the extent of charitable work amongst the poor by Catholics themselves as Catholics. Every Catholic mission, with a resident priest, serves as a centre for such work. Poor Catholics in distress instinctively turn to the priest, who, if he has no suitable charitable organization attached to his church, usually acts as almoner himself.


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Some approximate idea of the extent of such work may be gathered from the fact that in England and Wales there are churches, chapels, and stations with priests, the corresponding figures for Scotland being and , and for Ireland and Similarly, an extraordinary amount of charitable work is regularly carried out by the religious communities, especially by those of women who devote their lives to personal service amongst the poor, such as the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Nazareth, the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the Little Company of Mary, and others.

Almost every possible form of charitable assistance is undertaken by these communities in different parts of the three countries. Orphanages for boys and girls, poor law schools, industrial schools, homes for physically and mentally defective children, homes for the aged, night refuges for the destitute, reformatories, training homes for servants, homes for working boys and girls, hospitals, hospices for the dying, convalescent homes, holiday homes in the country and at the seaside, working girls' clubs, homes for penitents, refuges for fallen women, homes for inebriates, visiting the sick, nursing the sick poor, instructing the deaf and dumb in their religion, are all amongst the charitable works under the care of religious.

Some of these have deservedly gained a national reputation for the standard of excellence reached -- for example, St. The religious communities, whose work is not directly charitable, nevertheless, are, like the clergy, regularly called upon to act the part of almoners.

Guide for Catholic young women : especially for those who earn their own living

The number of religious houses of women, including branch houses, in the three countries must exceed , but this number does not afford any criterion of the extent of the work accomplished by them. A good example, admittedly well above the average, taken from one of the largest towns, will serve as an illustration. Situated in a very poor district, with twenty sisters in the community, a Convent of Mercy, besides supplying nine sisters as teachers in two elementary schools, has charge of a night refuge for nearly men, women, and children, a servants' home, a home for young working women, and a soup kitchen, and its religious regularly visit the sick in a large hospital and the Catholic poor in the district.

The principal charitable voluntary organization for Catholic men is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which flourished both in Great Britain and Ireland: in England and Wales, it has local conferences with active members; in Scotland, 95 conferences with active members; in Ireland, conferences with active members.

By personal service amongst the Catholic poor, the society unostentatiously carries on a considerable amount of charitable work. It practises many forms of assistance, including feeding the hungry, visiting the sick in their homes and in the public infirmaries and hospitals, visiting the imprisoned, attending the children's courts to watch Catholic cases, finding employment for those out of work, acting as catechists for poor boys in Sunday schools and bringing them to Mass and the sacraments assisting in the formation and management of boys' clubs and brigades, and the like.

The local conferences are grouped into councils which hold quarterly meetings of all members to discuss topics of general interest.