Society of Charitable Sisters - annual report 1818

The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon, me, and I comforted the heart of the widow. Job xxix.13.

Last year the Charitable Sisters stated in their Report, the progress of the Society from its first establishment. Encouraged by the increased assistance afforded them by a benevolent public, they ventured to apply to it that text of Esther x.11, A little fountain became a large river. The experience of another year has proved to them, that this quotation was not inapplicable, for sanguine as were their hopes of future support, the subjoined statement will shew that these hopes have not been disappointed; it will likewise shew, that in proportion as their means have increased, so has the sphere of their exertions been extended. The same kind patronage experienced in former years has been abundantly bestowed upon them during the last twelve months, and the readiness of many charitable individuals in forwarding to them donations of cast-off wearing apparel, has augmented in a tenfold degree; this demands the grateful thanks of the Sisters: for, had it not been for the timely receipt of such donations, many a hapless child, that now appears comfortably clad, must have remained, during the inclemency of winter, in a state of almost absolute nudity. Nor have the parents of these little ones felt less the cheering effects of warm clothing, where the apparel offered to the Sisters was capable of being so applied.

The exertions of the Sisters have been particularly directed, since the publication of their last report, to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, which may be comprehended under the following heads:
First. The furnishing of clothes, linen, &c. to lying-in women, and to the attending upon them during the month of their confinement.
Secondly. The making of articles of clothing, the distributing of these as prudence directed, and the visiting of such unknown persons at their habitations as had been properly recommended to the attention of the Society.
Thirdly. The clothing' of the Boys belonging to the Catholic Sunday School in the East London District.
Fourthly. The attending upon their own Sunday School, and upon the other Schools entrusted partially, either to their management, or inspection.
Fifthly. The instructing of Adults - and others not frequenting any school.

Under the first head it will he found that the number of lying-in women relieved by the Sisters has been much more numerous than in any preceding year, having been nearly doubled; and it may be added, that they have been more systematically attended to, and received more abundant supplies of such articles as the necessity of their special eases seemed to-require.

But the second head has peculiarly occupied the time and attention of the Sisters: this is sufficiently proved by the various articles of clothing made and distributed by them. And here their services in detecting artful impostors have been felt and acknowledged by several of the London clergy: these, when the unknown cause had been searched out, most diligently (Job xxix. 16), and the falsity of their pretensions made manifest, were passed by; and if occasion offered, their designing importunity was exposed to the reprobation of those whom they had hoped to deceive. But objects truly deserving of pity and compassion—objects abandoned and forlorn, pining in sickness, want, and misery— have, on application, always partaken of the bounty of the charitable, and gratefully called down the multiplied blessings of Heaven on all who, through this Society, so timely contributed to their relief.

The donations of cast-off wearing apparel have been particularly applied to the third head: A motley class of Boys, formerly the offscum of the streets, barefooted and ragged, a nuisance to the neighbourhood, now warmly clothed, regularly frequent the Sunday School and Chapel, and attract the notice and praise not only of Catholics, but even of Protestants and Dissenters.

The attention of the Sisters to the fourth head has produced the happiest effects. Their Sunday School is numerously and punctually attended: many young persons, not otherwise engaged in the Society, have volunteered their services as teachers; and to their meritorious exertions, in addition to the constant care and vigilant attention of the usual visitors, the marked improvement of the children in their behaviour, and their rapid progress in the knowledge of the Christian Doctrine, are greatly to he attributed. The Sisters can also confidently state, that great good has been produced by their attention to the other Schools with which they are connected, and that the order and regularity which so conspicuously appear in one of these, are the consequences of their frequent inspection.

As to the fifth head, it was stated in the report of last year, that "Many Sisters have appointed hours in which they assist Adults individually in acquiring a clear and perfect notion of their christian duties; and also Children who, from various circumstances, cannot frequent a School:" this practice is still continued; several have been this year thoroughly instructed in the Christian Doctrine, and have prepared themselves for the reception of the sacraments in a manner the most edifying. It is to be hoped, that the good seed which has been sown and well watered will not be choked, nor wither away, but grow up to maturity, and yield fruit a hundredfold ( Luke viii).

Receipts and Disbursements Since the Commencement of the Society
1814: Cash received £14. 4s. 4d.  Cash expended £12. 8s. 7½d.
One hundred and twelve articles of clothing, and ten shillings and sixpence in money, were distributed to thirty families, consisting of one hundred and fifty individuals, of whom eight were lying-in women.

1815: Cash received £45. Is. 5d.  Cash expended £45. Is. 5d.
Three hundred and fifty articles of clothing, and fourteen pounds seven shillings in money, were distributed to ninety-three families, consisting of three hundred and sixty-four individuals, sixteen of whom were lying-in women.

1816: Cash received £81. 19s. 5d.  Cash expended £78. 9s. l0½d.
Seven hundred and forty-six articles of clothing, and thirteen pounds eleven shillings and three pence in money, were distributed to one hundred and forty-four families, consisting of six hundred and six individuals, thirty-six of whom were lying-in women.. Thirty boys have also been clothed with dresses made from the cast-off clothes given to the society.

1817: Cash received £125 6s. Id.  Cash expended  £124. 10s. 5¼d.
Eleven hundred and seventy articles of clothing, and ten pounds seven shillings, in money, were distributed to two hundred and twenty-four families, consisting of eight hundred and fjfty-four individuals, sixty-three of whom were lying-in women. Seventy-three boys have been clothed with full suits; and many others have received warm clothing from the cast-off wearing apparel given to the society.

Subscriptions and Benefactions are thankfully received by the Right Rev. Dr. Poynter; the Rev. T. Dobson, Virginia Street Chapel; the Rev. J. Hunt, Moorfields Chapel; the Rev. J. Lee, Bavarian Chapel; the Rev. D. M'donnell, St. George's Field Chapel; Keating & Co. Duke Street, Grosvenor Square; and by the following Ladies, who particularly solicit Donations in cast-off Wearing Apparel:—Mrs. M. Sidney, Star and Garter Yard, Ratcliff Highway; Miss T. Young, No. 26, Wellclose Square; Mrs. Cobb, Gray's Inn Passage, Bedford Row; Miss Booker, New Bond Street; Mrs. J. Woollett, Ordnance Wharf, Westminster Bridge. [list of subscribers follows]

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