Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Converting Catholics to the WAY

French Methodist Institute, corner Staynor and Greene, as depicted in Preparing the Way by Paul Villard.

Well, Preparing the Way explains: French Methodist was an evangelical school.

Edith worked their three years, from 09 to 12, but I am only surmising the 09. No letters exist from her at the period, but she was in Montreal.

The ultimate purpose of the school was to convert French Canadians to Protestantism. There were two prayer sessions a day, one in the morning and one in the evening, and Wednesday Night was a prayer meeting, where a student could give a testimonial.

"Many who entered with a mind full of prejudice and superstition have been so influenced by the Gospel of Christ that their eyes have opened, and they have renounced Romish errors to accept pure Gospel Truth."

"The French Canadians belong to a most bright and intelligent race. As they come under the influence of men and women of lofty and pure Christian character, they soon become transformed adn show the bright side of their personality."

The book gives examples: "A Roman Catholic girl in employ of____, the businessman, went to his office and reported to him that he was in some way being cheated by his own people. Why did you tell me? he asked. "Because," answered the girl, in the school where I attended (French Methodist) I learned how to distinguish right from wrong."

Another story tells how a student, who learned at the Institut that the Sabbath was a day only for quiet talk and prayer, convinced his parents not to drink and play cards on Sunday.

This reminds me of a line from Western Canada magazine, that tells how a girl with immigrant parents, learned to cook at school, and then went home to show her mother how to cook. :) Every mom loves to be told what do to by her kid, especially about how to cook.

Preparing the Way gives the school schedule, a very disciplined agenda, but with daily time for play and Saturday afternoon off. (I have Edith go with Flo to see the suffragette Saturday evening.)

But I still have to figure out why Edith and a few other teachers rebelled in 1912. I see by the Book, that the older girls were the ones who set the tables and did the dishes. Maybe I will have Edith upset at the unfair division of labour, that the girls do more than the boys. Yes, that might be it.

The school will consider this 'part of their education.'

The school took in all level of student, from 12 on, pre-literates and young adults ready to take their Provincial exam.

They taught the same course as regular Academies, like St. Francis. And according to the book, the teachers taught in both English and French. I know from a story on the web, that Edith taught Bible class.

So, without her diploma she did, indeed, teach the same course as other teachers in the Montreal Board.

During the early war years she taught at St. Francis, but only after taking a special 'interim' course at Lachute in the summer. She got a provisionary diploma. And then she gave up teaching, likely because it became absolutely necessary to have a diploma...and this despite her experience. Or she was fed up with the low pay.

She went to work for Sun Life. And she got that job, which she didn't much like, through connections as per usual. Her boss was a neighbour of Marion's in NDG.

I will have Edith drawn to the Montreal Council, not so much for suffrage, but for work issues... And she'll meet Miss Gouin and try to convince her it is still time to go to school.