A Monument of Love
In addition to the feast for the poor, the General Councilors desired to erect a monument to Mother Gamelin just as they had for Bishop Bourget to celebrate the centennial of his birth the previous year. But how would they carry this out? In December 1899, Msgr. Alfred Archambault of Montreal told Mother Mary Antoinette about a project he had in mind. While the sisters would celebrate the day with a liturgy, donations to the poor, and celebrations, he had his own idea of a fitting tribute to Mother Gamelin – not a tangible monument but something that would expand the mission. He said, "Sisters, I have conceived a plan which demands not only your support but that of every one of your personnel no matter whom: each student, each orphan, each poor person, each patient confided to your care. It is my wish that not one of them escape the tax…." He described the recent improvements to the Asile of Providence which at that time was both the Mother House and a shelter for the poor; the increasing debts; and the upcoming $25,000 expansion to the building. He dreamed that on Mother Gamelin’s birthday, a donation of $4,000 could be made to help defray these costs. Along with other begging plans, he placed the following assessment on each institution and member of the religious community:
$25.00 from each Provincial House
10.00 from each institution
.25 from each sister
.10 from each novice
.05 from each employee
.02 from each orphan, poor or patient
When the collection was over, the sisters saw in it that the money was not the chief end of the project, but an awakening in their hearts of the united mission of the sisters and community-wide support of the works.
Front of a three-page commemorative: "Souvenir of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bishop Bourget (1799) and of our Venerable Mother Gamelin (1800), courtesy of the Superior General, Providence Mother House, Montreal, December 1899."