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Ursuline Nuns, Thomas Jefferson and Synchronicity

Synchronicity

 

 

 

I have long been amused by how often the phenomenon of synchronicity has reared its head in my life.  Synchronicity is a coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related.   Jungian theory hails synchronicity as an explanatory principle on the same order as causality.  Throughout my life I have seen events arise that seem completely unrelated but suddenly a connection appears.

Yesterday I had posts fisking anti-Catholic bigot Jami Stiehm here, and a post on the Ursuline nuns and their role in the battle of New Orleans here.  Today Ed Morrissey at Hot Air supplies the connection between the two:

 

Arguing that Jefferson would cheer federal dictates on the choices of health insurance for nuns is therefore either high ignorance or deliberate obtuseness. In fact, we have a historical record for Jefferson’s thoughts on the freedom of religious expression specifically for Catholic nuns, in his own hand. Joanne McPortland reminded us of this yesterday at Patheos:

In 1804, the Ursuline Sisters, who had fled the anti-Catholicism of the French Revolution to found schools, orphanages, and hospitals in the Louisiana Territory, wrote to President Thomas Jefferson of their concerns that the United States government, now in control of New Orleans, would interfere with their freedom to operate their institutions and set their own regulations. They were aware of Jefferson’s support of the French Revolution and of his writings concerning the “wall of separation” he saw in the First Amendment’s guarantees.

Jefferson’s letter in response–often omitted from collections of his works–is respectful, clear, and reassuring. Read the text and substitute Little Sisters of the Poor for the Ursulines, and it’s immediately apparent that Stiehm is conjuring the wrong guy.

I have received, holy sisters, the letter you have written me wherein you express anxiety for the property vested in your institution by the former governments of Louisiana.

The principles of the constitution and government of the United States are a sure guarantee to you that it will be preserved to you, sacred and inviolate, and that your institution will be permitted to govern itself according to its own voluntary rules, without interference from the civil authority.

Whatever the diversity of shade may appear in the religious opinions of our fellow citizens, the charitable objects of your institution cannot be indifferent to any; and its furtherance of the wholesome purposes of society, by training up its younger members in the way they should go, cannot fail to ensure it the patronage of the government it is under.

Be assured it will meet all the protection which my office can give it.

I salute you, holy sisters, with friendship and respect.

The letter, in Jefferson’s hand, is on display in the museum of the Ursulines in New Orleans, where I’ve seen it. It is recognized, rightly, as one of the founding documents in our American understanding of freedom of religion.

It’s difficult to see how Stiehm could have possibly been more ignorant on freedom, religion, tolerance, and the law than in her self-exposure at US News.

Go here to read the rest.  Synchronicity, not the least of the proofs of the existence of God in my estimation!

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

10 Comments

  1. Stiehm is just another radical lib who twists and spins to support her party’s agenda.

    Godincidence Donald. Your a great American and in the end they will reap the what they sow. Poor fools.

  2. Well, well, well. Not only does Jefferson repudiate the notion that government can or should obstruct the internal government and charitable activities of a religious entity, he at least implicitly endorses the notion that government may positively support “the wholesome purposes of society, by training up its younger members in the way they should go” — which pretty much contradicts the leftist irrationale against such things as educational vouchers that can be used for parochial and private education.

  3. Not only does the current president fail to measure up to Jefferson in the religious freedom category but neither do current Ursulines to the earlier Louisiana branch. A quick check of their zip code (which encompasses in Kentucky only their convent) with voting results shows they vote overwhelmingly for Democrats!

  4. ” which pretty much contradicts the leftist irrationale against such things as educational vouchers that can be used for parochial and private education.”
    Taxes belong to the taxpayer even while administered by the administration. The idea that the “government” does the good that is done is false. The people do the good and ought to be appreciated for the good that they do, and inform the Ursulines of Louisiana and Kentucky.

  5. Synchronicity is fascinating. It seems like a good idea will just be in the ether sometimes. Maybe all of our angels are talking to us!
    I don’t mean stuff that comes through mass media, but just lots of people starting to think the same thing, or to be aware of some idea- and then it seems to gel in the world.

  6. Anzlyne.
    “…maybe all of our angels are talking to us.”

    I wish I could prove this point to you!
    They are talking amongst themselves and us, and praying constantly that we act ponder and trust in Gods designs for us. Keeping in mind that interference is coming in as well. That conditioning of receptivity is our life’s work as we pray sacrifice partake in works of mercy…loose ourselves to the fulfillment of Gods love, and that His Love be radiated out to our neighbors.
    We are constantly getting communication from our angels.
    How well we “hear” them is altogether inconsistent.

  7. LOL, how did Thomas Jefferson wind up in this or any serious Catholic forum, never mind this writer Stiehm. Jefferson wrote one famous preamble that ran counter to the way he lived his life and saw how it should be lived, a spoiled rotten, fiscally reckless, slaveocrat. Well, to be charitable to the aloof egghead of Monticello, Jefferson did con Napoleon out of a sizeable chunk of real estate. This other person, Jami Stiehm, find better reading material to relax the nerves. We have plenty of great Catholic literature, art works to browse through websites or coffee-table books, and for the political geeks like myself, nothing beats David McCullough’s treatment of Jefferson in his book John Adams (and HBO film of the same book) not to mention Chris Matthews “Tip & The Gipper: When Politics Worked.”) Lookin’ like Jami’s lost some stiehm. Okay, bad, reaaaal baaaaaad pun.

  8. “Jefferson wrote one famous preamble that ran counter to the way he lived his life and saw how it should be lived, a spoiled rotten, fiscally reckless, slaveocrat.”

    My attitude towards Jefferson will always be ambivalent to say the least. However his drafting of the Declaration of Independence and, as you note, the Louisiana Purchase, were two great services to America. It is impossible to understand the country without attempting to understand Jefferson, all his flaws notwithstanding.

  9. Well, he did his best in tandem to keep Hamilton, our Caribbean-born Scot Bonaparte wannabe in check. BTW, it was Jefferson who acknowledged John Adams as the “Colossus” of the proceedings in 1776, from which our Declaration of Independence arose. LOL, would I love to do some “re-arranging” of Mt.Rushmore by replacing Jefferson with John Adams, add JQA next to him, and on the far side of Lincoln next to TR, add Teddy’s cousin, FDR.

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