The file contains correspondence related to the dispute between Bishop McNally and the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis over the competence of the sisters as teachers. The Sisters of Charity of St. Louis arrived in Medicine Hat in 1911 and taught in St. Louis Roman Catholic Separate School district. In 1917, Fr. M.F. Fitzpatrick, parish priest of Medicine Hat and superintendent of the Medicine Hat Separate School Board, “reported” that two sisters – one of whom was the principal – “were not capable of teaching.” Fr. Fitzpatrick maintained that the “only way to bring the school up to standard” was for the board to replace the Sister who was the principal with a lay principal. This the board did in March. Apparently, the “effect” of the board’s decision was that “all the parishioners were under the impression that the Sisters were being persecuted by the Bishop and clergy.” J. McCourt, chairman of the board, said that the people blamed the Bishop because Fr. Fitzpatrick had told the board that he was “acting for the Bishop,” but Fr. Fitzpatrick denied having said this to the board. J. Barreau, a member of the board, maintained that the Bishop and his clergy had never persecuted the sisters and that the sisters had behaved “abominably” ever since the hiring of the lay principal. J.A. Landry, Secretary-Treasurer of the board, declared that in 1916, the Sisters had falsely claimed that the board owed them over $400.00 in unpaid wages. He also said that the Bishop had not influenced the board “in its actions with reference to the sisters.”
In the fall of 1917, three sisters resigned from teaching. In April 1918, Sr. St. Gurval, Mother Superior of the Sisters of Charity of St. Louis in Medicine Hat, wrote a letter to Bishop McNally requesting an interview with him. Bishop McNally replied that he could not consider granting Sr. St. Gurval an interview until she provided proof for several “accusations and insinuations” that she had made regarding the Bishop and his priests or, “failing that,” issued a “retraction of and an apology for” the same “accusations and insinuations.” McNally said that he felt himself “obliged” to require these “preliminary steps” from Sr. St. Gurvval “in the name of truth and justice which have been sadly outraged, and for the safeguarding of the authority of God’s holy Church and the dignity of His representatives.”
The file also contains Sr. St. Gurval’s reply to Bishop McNally in French.
In addition, the file contains three documents regarding the legal issues surrounding the construction of St. Patrick’s Church in Medicine Hat.