Consecration of the Cathedral of Bardstown. — The Theological Seminary. — Consecration of Bishop David. — New Dioceses. — Catholic statistics of the United States and Kentucky. — Statistics of the Loretto society. — Father Nerinckx' last will.
A Flemish journal of his last trip to Europe, in which he also noted the events that happened before and during his journey, was written by Father Nerinckx in London, and presented to his tried and good friend, J. G. Lesage Ten Broeck, of Loosduinen, the very day of his departure for America. That gentleman published the manuscript in Flanders for the benefit of the American missions, July 14, 1825, most likely at the request of Rev. John Nerinckx, of London, to whom Bishop Flaget wrote a few weeks after his brother's death: "For God's sake spur on the friends of your reverend brother, not to forget his excellent foundations, and the poor Bishop of Kentucky." From that journal, we gather into the present chapter the events relating to the years 1819 and 1820, thus remaining faithful to the chronological order.
p393 "The second Sunday of August, 1819, St. Joseph's cathedral church of Bardstown was consecrated with great pomp and edification by Right Rev. Benedict Joseph Flaget, the first Bishop of this diocese, assisted by his clergy and seminarians, in the presence of perhaps four thousand people of all classes, professions, and beliefs.1 This church, planned in 1817, is far from finished, although services are performed in it. Altars, confessionals, organ, bells, etc., are yet wanting. It has cost, so far, about $20,000, is well built, and large enough to accommodate about four thousand people. I sent you the plan of it, together with a view of the Seminary, where there are at present sixteen theologians. It is here that the priests of Bardstown live in community with the Bishop, whose apartments consist of a single room, with a bed in an alcove. Bishop David, the Coadjutor, is similarly lodged.
"The Seminary was built under the following circumstances: A Trappist lay brother, a clock-maker by trade, who had remained in America p394 after the Trappist Fathers left for Europe, stayed in Bardstown, where he followed his trade to the satisfaction of all the citizens, who respected him much for his honest, straightforward piety and his great skill as a mechanic. He had expressed his wish, but by word of mouth only, that in case of his death, his property and other worldly possessions should go to the Bishop. Returning, one holiday, from church through a heavy rain storm, he had to wade through a river about a mile from Bardstown, and, although the water was very high and the current violent, he, and one of his work-boys mounted on the same horse behind him, imprudently resolved to cross. They had scarcely gone •a few rods, when the horse was swept from under them, and both riders disappeared beneath the seething waters. Few persons were within hailing distance, nor was there, to the great and sincere sorrow of all who knew him, the slightest chance to save them. His will by word of mouth was sworn to before the civil authorities, and the Bishop having represented that he intended to use the estate for the building of a Seminary, the court declared the bequest lawful and allowed the Bishop to enter into the possession of the $2,200 left him. Monseigneur Flaget immediately bought •five acres of ground next to the cathedral, for $800, put up a building of two stories and basement, and they are now laying out the grounds, gardens, etc., most of this work being done by the theologians. p395About the time we were leaving (1820), he was making arrangements for an academic school in the same building, which is to remain there until he can dispose of sufficient means to construct a special building for that purpose. The most influential protestants of the town send their children to it, although they have a public school under the supervision of their own co-religionists; they allege that they prefer to intrust their children to the care of two catholic Bishops.
"The petit Seminaire of St. Thomas, with a similar school attached to it, is prospering finely on the farm situated •about three miles from Bardstown. They have now nineteen students who prepare themselves for the ecclesiastical state."b
A further handsome donation was made to Bishop Flaget by an English lady, as appears from the following extract of the Catholic Miscellany of January 12, 1824:
"We notice with considerable satisfaction a charitable and religious bequest of a handsome amount made to the venerable Bishop of Bardstown for the use of his diocese, by the late Mrs. Mary Mercer, of Bakerville, Derbyshire, England. This pious lady embraced the catholic religion at the age of sixteen; each succeeding year evinced the sincerity of her belief and manifested the extent of her charity. She has left considerable donations to several catholic institutions."
"The Sisters of Charity, founded by Rev. J. p396David, in Nazareth, have bought a piece of land in Bardstown, and established a school there which prospers. They also sent a colony to Breckinridge, •seventy miles from Bardstown, one of my old missions attended to at present by Rev. Father Abel. Their founder, at that time president and professor of St. Thomas' Seminary, was consecrated Bishop Coadjutor of Bardstown, on August 19, 1819. I assisted at that imposing ceremony as the oldest priest of the diocese, Rev. Badin, who is the oldest resident priest, although younger in years, being in Europe, where he will perhaps spend the rest of his life.
"I might also have told you how they managed to build the steeple of the Bardstown Cathedral. The funds were exhausted, but the architect, who gave proof of the most ardent zeal for the completion of his work, bethought himself of a new plan to raise the necessary funds. The clock which I brought from Ninove, in Flanders, and which is a truly wonderful timepiece, suggested to him the means of exciting the people to renewed exertions. He placed it in the front wall of the church, the two little silver-toned bells striking the hours. The people acknowledged that so beautiful a clock should adorn a steeple, and they consented to a subscription, which realized enough to complete the work.
"Bardstown used to be the pleasure garden of Presbyterians and Anabaptists; hence it is a p397great mortification for these sects to see that Old Church which they so cordially hated and persecuted for the last three hundred years, looming up triumphantly in their midst. Animated by an unlooked-for zeal or spite, they made an attempt to build a meeting-house which would far surpass the catholic cathedral. Although headed and advocated by one of the most influential lawyers and best orators of the city — an ex-congressman of no small ability — their subscription reached only $3,000. The gentleman referred to laid the matter before the architect who had built the cathedral, but he peremptorily refused to have any thing to do with the church.
"The Bishop of Bardstown intends to undertake another journey to Post Vincennes; his main object is to examine the country, preparatory to the establishment of several new dioceses which are going to be erected in the West. They name Vincennes, Cincinnati, and Detroit; also, Natchez in the South and Charleston in East; St. Louis will be raised to the dignity of an archbishopric, and New Orleans obtain a coadjutor. Three or four new dioceses will be formed out of the present diocese of Bardstown, and there will be ground enough left for three additional ones before another twenty years. The bearer of this new circumscription of dioceses will be an Italian of high birth and extensive domains, who, having become disgusted with the world, has sacrificed all earthly prospects to embrace the ecclesiastical state and devote p398himself entirely to the missions. He is already ordained, and will soon leave for Rome, in order to dispose of his worldly goods, where he will, at the same time, attend to the important affairs of the American Bishops.
"The future diocese of Cincinnati has at present only two priests, Dominican Fathers of the Bornhem house, near Antwerp. The diocese of Vincennes will also have two, and the diocese of Detroit only one, if I except a Trappist who is likely already gone; Natchez has two priests; so that the new Bishops will have plenty of work and difficulties when they arrive. There will then be eleven dioceses in the United States of North America, all, except Baltimore, erected by Pius VII. The other dioceses are, perhaps, as much in need of a division as Bardstown, for our holy faith is not at a standstill in America, as some pretend to make you believe.
"Right here, I may just as well give you a short and concise history of the present state of the church.
"When I arrived in America, in 1804, there were only two dioceses — Baltimore and New Orleans. Baltimore had, at that time, its first Bishop, the American John Carroll, of the Order of Jesuits, who, respected by all, closed his earthly career, full of merits and worth, as first Archbishop of the United States, at the age of eighty-two. His death occasioned universal and unfeigned regret; all the newspapers appeared p399in mourning, an honor which had been paid only to the great Washington, and his burial did not cede in grandeur to that of the hero who had effected America's independence. The See of New Orleans was vacant and administered by a Vicar Apostolic. The present head of the church, Pius VII, aware of the state of the church in these regions, and seeing persecution, much in vogue before the Revolutionary War, subside, erected, in 1810, the new dioceses of Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Bardstown, Kentucky. His Lordship, Monseigneur Cheverus, a Frenchman and one of the nominated prelates, making a public allocution on the occasion of this consecration, spoke with such unction and grace in his broken English, that the Archbishop himself, moved to tears, exclaimed, 'How is this? This good Frenchman, whom we scarcely understand, makes every one of us weep!'
"We have now in the United States seven dioceses: 1. New Orleans, the oldest of all; 2. Baltimore, Archdiocese; 3. New York; 4. Philadelphia; 5. Boston; 6. Bardstown; 7. St. Louis; and the following cathedral churches: Baltimore, New Orleans, New York, Bardstown, St. Louis. The Cathedral church of Detroit is being built.2 The other Bishops use the old churches.
"Schools for boys and young men. — 1. The Jesuits are at Georgetown College; it has been erected into a university.
"2. The Sulpitians: In Baltimore and Emmettsburg, Maryland; and Bardstown, Kentucky.
"3. The Lazarists in St. Louis.
"4. The Dominicans in Kentucky.
"5. The Brothers of the Christian Doctrine, at Ste. Genevieve, Illinois.
"Academies for girls. — 1. The Ladies of the Sacred Heart, St. Ferdinand, Illinois.3
2. The Ursulines at New Orleans.
"3. The Sisters of the Visitation, Georgetown, Md.
"4. The Sisters of Charity, in Emmettsburg, New York, Philadelphia, Conewago, Bardstown, Nazareth, and Rough Creek, Breckinridge county, Ky.4
"5. The Friends of Mary, in Loretto, Calvary, and Gethsemani, Ky.
"The number of catholics in the States can only be guessed at, but I think I am not much out of the way, in setting it down as three hundred thousand.
"As already said, Bardstown will be divided p401into three or four new dioceses: Detroit, in Michigan Territory, near Lake Erie; Vincennes, in the State of Indiana; and Cincinnati, in Ohio. The diocese of Bardstown, now ten years old, has twenty-seven or more churches in which services are held, not counting the church of St. Hubert, which will, however, soon be finished. This St. Hubert's5 church is being built in an incipient town called Lebanon, •about six miles from Loretto. The Presbyterians were the only denomination in the place, and they undertook to build a large church when the catholics began theirs; but, meeting with little or no encouragement, they had to abandon the undertaking, whilst the catholics went ahead, the protestants contributing more than a third of the sum needed. To those who found fault with their generosity toward the Papists, they answered that they knew beforehand that the Presbyterians could not succeed, whilst the Romans succeed in all their undertakings: 'they do not make much noise,' they said, 'but they do business bravely indeed!' To this church I gave ornaments, a chalice, a clock for the steeple, and a painting and relics of St. Hubert.
"The following churches in Kentucky are built of brick: The cathedral of Bardstown; the p402church of the petit Seminary of St. Thomas; St. Peter's Lexington, a city of eight thousand inhabitants; St. Louis', Louisville, which will become one of the largest cities of the Union, owing to its situation on the beautiful Ohio river; St. Patrick's, Danville; St. Rose's, the church of the Dominicans; and St. Hubert's, Lebanon. This last one is the only brick church in my missions; the others are all frame buildings. Some of my congregations had already determined to build new brick churches, and would have succeeded, were it not that they were in too great a hurry to get rich, and entered into a poor speculation. Covetousness and wisdom seldom follow the same advice. They took upon themselves to start several public independent banks; the government acquiesced, and almost every little settlement had a similar bank. But they most all went beyond the limitations of their charter, were unable to meet the demand for money and to redeem their circulating paper in coin, and were forced in consequence to enter into bankruptcy. This speculation began three years ago (1817), augmented the price of goods twenty per cent, ruined most of the common people, and, of course, knocked many another undertaking into the head. We now suffer the consequences of their folly.
"The clergy of the diocese of Bardstown is composed of the following gentlemen:
"1. Right Rev. Benedict Joseph Flaget.
p403 "2. Right Rev. John David, Bishop of Mauri-Castrensis,a Coadjutor of Bardstown.
"3. Rev. Olivier, a venerable old man of about eighty years; still zealously at work at Kaskaskias, in the Illinois Territory.
"4. Rev. Gabriel Richard, a Sulpitian missionary; stationed in Detroit.
"5. Rev. Stephen Theodore Badin, the only priest whom I found in Kentucky; stationed at St. Stephen. He had no neighboring priest within •four hundred miles of him — a fact which moved me to join him.
"6. Rev. Charles Nerinckx, at Loretto, eighteen miles from Bardstown.
"7. Rev. Guy Chabrat,6 the first priest ordained by our Bishop; stationed at St. Michael's Mission, Nelson county.
"8. Rev. Derigault, Director of the little Seminary of St. Thomas.
"9. Rev. Ganiltz,7 residing at St. Stephen's.
"All these, except myself, are Frenchmen.
"10. Rev. R. Abel, an American; missionary priest at St. Rumoldus,8 Hardinsburg.
"11. Rev. C. Cooms, an American; Treasurer of the St. Thomas little Seminary.
p404 "12. Rev. M. G. Elder, an American; President of the Collegiate department at the great Seminary of St. Joseph.
"13. Rev. Wm. Byrne, an Irishman; at Holy Mary's, Washington county.
"14. Rev. Blanc,9 a French secular missionary priest; stationed at Vincennes, with
"15. Rev. Ferraris, an Italian Lazarist.
"To the Dominican Convent of St. Rose, fifteen miles from Bardstown, belong:
"1. Rev. Wilson, Provincial of the new province.
"2. Rev. Angier, at present on the mission in Maryland.
"3. Rev. Tuite, at St. Rose's.
"The others are all Americans, viz.:
"4 and 5. The two Fathers Montgomery.
"6. Rev. Willett.
"7. Rev. Miles.10
"The two following:
"8. Rev. Edward Fenwick,11 and
"9. Rev. Young started a new mission in the State of Ohio, which will flourish and grow rapidly as soon as a Bishop is appointed for it. Many Methodists become converts there.
"I do not mention the students who are not yet ordained priests, nor the priests belonging to the diocese of St. Louis, lately established.
"Kentucky, from east to west, •three hundred and twenty-eight miles; from north to south, •one hundred and eighty-three miles. Ohio, from east to west, •two hundred and twenty-eight miles; from north to south, •two hundred and twenty-seven miles. Tennessee, from east to west, •four hundred and twenty miles; from north to south, •one hundred and four miles. Michigan, from east to west, •two hundred and fifty-six miles; from north to south, •one hundred and fifty-four miles.12
"Exclusively of Indiana and part of Illinois, an area of one thousand nine hundred miles, is to be crossed in all directions by the Bishop and his twenty-one priests just named.
"When I came to Kentucky, the population was estimated at two hundred thousand inhabitants; it is said to be half a million to‑day. The other States are growing in the same proportion; hence you can imagine the amount of work which awaits the zealous missionary. It would be beyond the bounds of a letter to make further remarks. We may, however, imagine how many souls must be lost by sheer want of priests, and how happy are those who do not suffer such a want.
"The diocese of Bardstown has already two Seminaries and three public schools taught by p406seminarians; a convent of the Dominican Order and school, and another commencing in Ohio; the congregation of the Sisters of Charity, situated at Nazareth, near St. Thomas, out of which, as already noted, sprung two other establishments; and the Loretto Society, which now contains eighty members, forty-one of whom, whose names here follow, made their vows for life on the 20th day of December, 1819.
|p407 Place||Convent Name||Family Name||Birthplace||Office, etc.|
|Loretto||Dear Mother Mary||Mary Rhodes||Washington, Md.||Generalissima|
|Loretto||Mother Ann||Anna Hevernº||Madison County, Ky.||Superior. Her mother is a convert.|
|Calvary||Mother Juliana||Anna Wathen||Washington County, Ky.||Superior|
|Gethsemani||Mother Helena||Elizabeth Miles||Casey County, Ky.||Superior|
|Loretto||Sister Eldest Barbara||Henrietta Clements||Union County, Ky.||Assistant Superior|
|Calvary||Sister Eldest Bibiana||Lena Elder||Nelson County, Ky.||Assistant Superior|
|Gethsemani||Sister Eldest Rosalia||Catharine Clarke||Nelson County, Ky.||Assistant Superior|
|Gethsemani||Sister Guardian Clara||Eleonora Morgan||Nelson County, Ky.||Head Teacher|
|Loretto||Sister Guardian Isabella||Ann Clarke||Nelson County, Ky.||Head Teacher|
|Calvary||Sister Guardian Agnes||Anna Hart||Breckinridge County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Sarah||Sarah Hevern||Madison County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Monica||Monica Spalding||Washington County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Mechtildis||Susan Hayden||Illinois, Louisiana13a|
|Calvary||Sister Catharine||Mary Drury||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Louisa||Mary Phillips||Scott County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Joanna||Caecilia Miles||Illinois, Louisiana13b|
|Calvary||Sister Angelica||Christina Clements||Union County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Scholastica||Margaret Thompson||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Rose||Elizabeth Elder||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Elizabeth||Margaret Mattingly||Washington County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Aloysia||Elizabeth McAteeº||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Constantia||Anastasia Spalding||Washington County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Eleonora||Helena Clarke||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Felicitas||Barbara Dieffendall||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Anastasia||Bridget Morgan||Bullitt County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Apollonia||Ann McBride||Bullitt County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Martha||Elizabeth Buckman||Union County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Justina||Mary Cook||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Caecilia||Susan Cecil||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Agatha||Julia Flaherty||Bullitt County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Martina||Margaret Drury||Bullitt County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Ursula||Mathilda Coomes||Bullitt County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Victoria||Susan Coomes||Bullitt County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Lucia||Hetty Calhoun||Washington County, Ky.||Her father was a Protestant|
|Gethsemani||Sister Gertrudis||Catharine Bowles||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Susan||Sarah Drury||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Gethsemani||Sister Melania||Bridget King||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Paulina||Margaret Whelan||Nelson County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Gudula||Elizabeth Jarboe||Breckinridge County, Ky.|
|Calvary||Sister Reineldis||Elizabeth Hayden||Washington County, Ky.|
|Loretto||Sister Frances||Maria Drury||Washington County, Ky.|
p408 "In the eight years of its existence, we have to chronicle the death of only three of its members, one in each of the three houses, and in each case the Superior, as if the head had to be the foundation stone of each establishment. Their death, like their life, had all the signs of predestination."
Father Nerinckx being afraid that he might be unable to come back to Kentucky, through the interference of the Dutch government, of the inimicable feelings of which he was, as we have seen, perfectly well aware, wrote, before his departure for Europe, the following:
"1820, 5th of February, and fifty-ninth year of his age.
"The writer of this, at the eve of leaving this country, declares that he has no temporal possessions or property to dispose of; what was under his name since he came to America he never pretended to be the owner of. God, God's Mother, God's Church, have bestowed these gifts upon him, and he hopes he has directed them well and returned them to the same proprietors. For the waste and ill employment or wrong applications, he begs pardon of God and men.
"When he will be back in Europe, he will, at this journey's end, be poorer than he was in 1804, when he started from thence for America. He thanks God for not having given him the p409means of heaping up riches, and for the health of body which he has enjoyed during the whole time of his residence in this new part of the world, the citizens and inhabitants whereof he knows not that he has done any material injury, so as to be under obligation of restoring any thing ill-gotten.
"As for his employment and call in the holy ministry, its duties and performance, he can but blush, grieve, and dread. He hopes that able hands, holy zeal, and fervor will repair losses and damages caused or not prevented by him, and himself find room and time to meet his God at a merciful hour. Amen.
"The property of land and negroes, etc., in the deeds of which his name was mentioned, is, by way of will, disposed of in another writing. What is yet to be disposed of are the following articles:
"1. The utensils at the new place (which I would call Mount Mary, as I wish a building in honor of Mary on the hill of it), he paid two hundred dollars for, a sum they may be worth now. It is his desire that this money should go toward paying the expenses of a clergyman from over the sea for Kentucky. He received also five hundred guilders, say $180, for that purpose, which was not complied with, there being no suitable gentleman who offered himself.
"2. Seven hundred guilders more were given by Miss Du Moulin, of Mons, in Flanders, for p410an anniversary in the Loretto chapel, or for some Mass, founded at her intention. But he thinks her intention more in particular was to assist religion in America. This foundation is not made; but he said some Masses, and some solemn ones have been celebrated. Both these matters are left to stand as they are: it belongs to the Bishop to fix them.14
"The House of Loretto is bound to pray for these as for the other benefactors.
"3. The congregations now in Rev. Mr. Abel's care owe him $25.75 for loaned money when Hardinsburg land was bought. If there be any sisters sent to Union county, as the Bishop said, they may have this money. Charles Vessel's ten dollars and George Thompson's debts are for Loretto. Thomas Cecil's forty dollars will give twenty dollars to Loretto, ten for Gethsemani, and ten for Calvary.
"The mortuary house of Leon. Hamilton owes him for Masses and salaries, I think, at least twenty dollars; these he gives to Calvary. . . .
"4. Should the congregations once under his care ever be moved to pay him salaries, they may be divided among the nunneries for the benefit of the orphans.
"5. If tidings arrive that he is dead, or does not return, his clothes, linen, pictures, and English books, as far as useful, are for the orphans of the schools, savingly and sparingly to be p411made use of. Loretto having to take care of the greatest number, must have the greatest share.
"6. The church apparatus, viz., chalices, vestments, etc., he desires to remain as they are and where they are at present. The bells of Loretto never to be removed, nor the pictures. The little chalice his brother of London gave him, and now at Mr. James Dent's, is only lent to him; it may remain there inº his lifetime, if no more urgent call comes.
"7. The books at Loretto ought to be kept unmolested, and the little library may be at the service of the reverend gentleman who has the care of Loretto, only; best care to be taken of them, but never to become his property, not even to change them for others.
"The whole recommended to the care of the Right Rev. Bishop Flaget, or his successor in the See of Bardstown.
P. S. If Vincent Gates and Polly Brewer live, they may have a share in the clothes.
"The writer's wish, as an addition to his will, is: A great desire and prayer that the extensive tracts of America he has walked over, and to many places in Europe he has passed by, may not call for vengeance upon him, for spilling in so many places the most holy and precious Blood of the true Son of God, and true Son of the most Blessed Mary his Mother, out of whom he was willing to take his human nature for our sake. How many Sacraments here received, p412how many Sacraments here given! How many worthily, how many unworthily! How many blunders, how many defects, how many ignorances! How many souls to answer for!
"2. He wishes that all the congregations wherever he was, be forever recommended to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, in which unbounded seas of love and mercy he desires his own numberless failings to be drowned, and out of which he begs that streams of graces may flow over these different flocks he has been so long tedious and unprofitable to.
"3. He began at the buildings of the church of Holy Mary's, and finishes at the House of the Virgin Mary, Loretto. May he die under the protection of his Mother of Mercy!
"4. He wishes the Friends of Mary the best success in holiness and all holy happiness, that the Suffering Jesus and the Sorrowful Mary may have armies of consoling Friends, faithful on Calvary and glorious in the Heavenly Sion.
"In order to do this, he begs by all the drops of blood and by all the sweat and tears of the loving Jesus, and through the sweetness of Mary, that the members of the Loretto Society and particularly the House of Loretto, should ever study their rules, — never make any the least infraction in them. Poverty and humility of Jesus and Mary; obedience and chastity of Jesus and Mary; union, peace, and concord of Jesus and Mary; zeal for souls — your own and that of so many desolate orphans and scholars p413— burning zeal of Jesus and Mary! Gain souls, hunt souls, catch souls, court souls, draw souls, pull souls, carry souls, deliver souls, shelter souls, buy souls! . . . Souls! Souls! and nothing but souls, for the love of Jesus, the owner of all souls!
"O Loretto Sisters! let Loretto be Loretto forever! — Loretto houses, Loretto dresses, Loretto labor, Loretto hardships, Loretto food, Loretto furniture, Loretto sisters, Loretto scholars! Every house on the place Loretto house! Stick to the tree that Mary planted there! Stick to the cross that Mary raised there! Stick to the walls that Mary built there! Stick to the dress that Mary gave there! Make use of the graces that Mary obtained there! Love what she said! Like what she fixed! Do what she loved! O Friends of Mary! O sweet, O glorious title! Be not unworthy of it! Do not degenerate from it!
"The writer's wish is here set down on paper; may he hear it accomplished on earth, and may he see it rewarded in the company of the Friends of Mary in heaven! Amen! Amen!!"
"To the Friends of Mary."
1 This was a great event for the Bishop and clergy of Kentucky, especially so for the two old pioneers, Fathers Badin and Nerinckx, who had seen — aye, cradled — the infant catholic church in Kentucky. It was on this occasion that Father Nerinckx offered to the happy Bishop Flaget a poetic tribute, which speaks more for his knowledge of English than his own modest opinion of his "barbaric way of writing and speaking it," would make us suppose. The original of these lines is in Father Nerinckx' own handwriting, and now in the possession of the Superior of Mount Benedict, Cedar Grove, Louisville, Kentucky. We print it in the appendix.
2 Father G. Richard began the erection of St. Ann's church in 1816.
3 Now Missouri. This village, now called Florissant, is in St. Louis county, Mo.
Thayer's Note: The old Spanish post of St. Ferdinand was renamed Florissant by the French (see Old St. Ferdinand Shrine's interesting page), and it is indeed in St. Louis County, MO; but it is not only on the other side of the Mississippi from Illinois, but on the W bank of the Missouri, and has never been in Illinois.
4 The four first-named academies belonged to Mother Seton's foundation; the three latter to Bishop David's.
5 The same finished, by Rev. Deparcq, under the name of St. Augustine. It is to be regretted that the original name given it by its founder was not retained, especially so because he left it relics of its should-be patron Saint.
6 Afterward Coadjutor Bishop of Bardstown.
7 He afterward went to Michigan.
8 The name is now given as St. Romuald. Father Nerinckx had put that church under the protection of the Belgian patron Saint of the Metropolitan church of Mechlin, St. Rumoldus (French: Rombaut); likely because he had been vicar of that church. The similarity of names probably occasioned the change by a mistake.
9 Afterward Archbishop of New Orleans.
10 Afterward first Bishop of Nashville.
11 Later first Bishop of Cincinnati.
12 He evidently speaks only of the portions then known or included within Territorial limits.
14 The reader will recollect that these moneys were used for Loretto's benefit.
a Completely irrelevant here but we might as well do things right:
Mauricastrensis is an adjective, and "Bishop of Mauricastrensis" is thus a solecism, much as if one were to say "Bishop of Chicagoan"; Maes should have written "Bishop of Mauri Castrum".
Mauri Castrum is one of the so‑called "sees in partibus infidelium", bishoprics that were once real, but which being now in heathen lands, have no Christian clergy serving them and therefore no bishop on the spot to perform the episcopal duties. It became the custom in the Catholic Church to give coadjutor bishops the title of one of these sees. This accounts for the grammatical error in the text, since all that was left of the place, essentially, was a formal title, in the form of the Latin adjective, applied to a person but almost never used, as in Episcopus Mauricastrensis ("Mauricastrian bishop"): this is why the underlying place names very quickly faded from memory.
As for the actual place involved here, Mauri Castrum (literally, "the camp of Maurus") is near Malasgherd (Malazkerd, Manzikert, etc.), a small town in a part of Armenia long overrun by the Turks, last noticed in Western literature by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (10c) and apparently in Arabic scholarship by Abulfeda (13c); it is noted by Gibbon (Decline and Fall, chapter 57) in the context of a transiently successful siege of the Turkish-held place by the emperor Romanus Diogenes in 1071, which in fact turned into a major Seljuk victory.
The exact site of Mauri Castrum is not known, but Malazgirt is still on the map today, as a small town in NE Turkey:
[and if you need it,
here's help in using the map,
b The St. Thomas School had a good reputation, and accepted non-Catholics: among them Jefferson Davis, who studied there two years, entering in 1817, when he was seven years old. See Baumer, Not All Warriors, p54.
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