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Donation of sacred vessels

Sister Rose-Marie Dufault, a Religious Hospitaller of St. Joseph (left), and Kathleen Messier, assistant archivist for the Diocese of Burlington, show the liturgical items the religious congregation donated to the Diocese. (Submitted photos) Sister Rose-Marie Dufault, a Religious Hospitaller of St. Joseph (left), and Kathleen Messier, assistant archivist for the Diocese of Burlington, show the liturgical items the religious congregation donated to the Diocese.
The Montreal-based Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph – the religious order that founded the former Fanny Allen Hospital in Colchester – has made a significant donation of sacred vessels to the Diocese of Burlington.
 
In June, the sisters officially transferred ownership to the Diocese of a monstrance and a chalice that had been stored in the chapel at what is now the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Fanny Allen Campus; a ciborium, given in 1947 in memory of the nurses in both World Wars, which was once stored at Fanny Allen but moved to the Diocesan archives for temporary storage in 1993; and a chalice and paten, given to Bishop John S. Michaud, second bishop of Burlington, in 1903 by the Religious Hospitallers and have been in the sacristy at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington. He requested the order send sisters from Montreal to open a Catholic hospital in 1894.
 
The replacement value for the sacred vessels is nearly $44,000.
 
According to Sister Rose-Marie Dufault, the Religious Hospitallers’ contact person, the sacred vessels had been left on loan to the Diocese when the sisters closed the Fanny Allen convent and moved to Our Lady of Providence Residence in Winooski in 2010.
 
“Evidence was discovered that these items were still related to the community but had been in Vermont for a number of years, and the community wished to bring some closure to their records,” explained Kathleen Messier, assistant archivist for the Diocese of Burlington.
 
The donated items were a monstrance in the sunburst style, made of brass and gold plated; a Neo-Gothic ciborium made of sterling silver and gold plated; a late Romanesque-style chalice, made of sterling silver and gold plated; and a Rich Gothic-style chalice made of silver and gold plated.
 
The items have been appraised by Adrian Hamers Church Interiors Inc., in Larchmont, N.Y.
 
Currently, all of the sacred vessels are at the Diocesan archives.
 
Sister Dufault coordinated the group that worked on the transfer of the ownership of the sacred items: Messier; Marie–Pierre Courchesne, archivist for the General Administration of the Religious Hospitallers in Montreal; and Georgette Seagle, a Religious Hospitaller associate from South Burlington.
 
“Today, as the diocesan archives are the official owners of such sacred vessels and serve as the permanent repository for some of our Church’s most valuable items, it is important to note that the mission of archives is reflected in the heritage of the Diocese of Burlington,” Messier said.
 
The mission of the Diocesan archives is to collect, organize, preserve and make available for research the historical and vital records of the Diocese of Burlington as well as materials which reflect the work of the Church within the Diocese in order to promote an understanding and cultivate an appreciation of the Catholic Church’s history and heritage in the State of Vermont.
 
--Originally published in the Fall 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
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