July 23, 1854
Edward Morris, the Manager of the Newfoundland Savings Bank in St. John’s, Newfoundland in his diary for July 23, 1854 wrote that he had a wee tiff with his wife (Katherine Howley) it appears she was not happy with him, she was in fact so displeased with him that she refused to go to church with him.
Edward wrote in his dairy:
“Mrs Morris went to 8 o’clock mass at the Cathedral (now Basilica) giving as a reason for going early that she had no decent dress to appear in at a more fashionable hour.”
The 8 o’clock mass tended to be the mass that the kitchen maids, scullery cooks, chamber maids, house maids, sewing maids and the other servants attended. The staff would all get up early, attend the mass, and be home before their employers and their families got up.
There was no compromise, Edward insisted that he was going to the regular 10 o’clock mass, he was not concerned about the latest clothing fashions.
Edward was quite pleased that he did attend this particular mass and no doubt delighted in reminding his wife that during the celebration he was witness to a great deal of history.
THE CATHEDRAL BELLS
“Went to mass myself where the Bishop (Mullock) consecrated two Bells part of the intended chime one the largest dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The other & smaller to St Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland …The Bishop having consecrated the Bells ascended the pulpit and explained the ceremony.”
A PLACE FOR THE EVANGELISTS
Edward also observed that:
“Today (July 23, 1854) the figures of the four evangelists were all fixed up in their places.”
The statues of the four evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke andSt. John are located some thirty feet above the floor of the Cathedral. These are of Italian workmanship. They are of marble and are slightly larger than life-size. Each evangelist is shown with his appropriate symbol: St. Matthew with a child; St. Mark with a lion; St. Luke with an ox; and St. John with an eagle.
A PLACE FOR THE NUNS
It was not only the evangelists that found their place in the Cathedral on July 23, 1854. Mr. Morris also noted:
“And the nuns (Presentation Sisters) for the first time occupied the gallery appropriated to them behind the high altar.”
The gallery is now situated behind a grilled window set in the east wall of the apse. From the small room behind this window, the Sisters of the Presentation can participate in the Parish Masses.
Recommenced Reading; Biographical Sketch on Edward Morris: http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?BioId=39843
Recommended Archival Collection: At the Archives of the R.C. Archdiocese: The Edward Morris Diaries: Edward Morris was a businessman, politician, and office-holder; born in 1813 in Waterford (Republic of Ireland), son of Simon Morris. In 1852 Edward married Katherine Howley ofSt John’s.
Recommended Virtual Exhibit: From Cornerstone to Cathedral- History of the Basilica Cathedral, St. John’s. http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/basilique-basilica/en/index.html