John Rybolt summarizes the correspondence written by nine Vincentians to members of the prominent Willcox family of Ivy Mills, Pennsylvania. As Rybolt explains, “These letters offer probably the only surviving glimpse of the private lives and thoughts of American Vincentians in the mid-nineteenth century.” The Vincentians and the Willcoxes were close: the Vincentians called their main correspondent, Mary Willcox, Ma and her husband Pa. One of the Vincentians referred to himself as Fa. The priests helped Ma with her spiritual development, and she and her family were surrogates for the families the Vincentians had left behind in Europe. All the Vincentian correspondents are profiled, including Mariano Maller and Thaddeus Amat. Rybolt discusses what their letters reveal about their lives and personalities, as well as the challenges they faced in their ministry. The Vincentian mission to Ivy Mills also illustrates how American Catholic parishes evolved. Quotations from the letters are included.
Rybolt, John E. C.M., Ph.D.
"Pa, Ma, and Fa: Private Lives of Nineteenth-Century American Vincentians,"
Vincentian Heritage Journal: Vol. 35:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vhj/vol35/iss2/2