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Chapter 8

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
Arms and the Monk!
The Trappist Saga in Mid‑America

M. M. Hoffman

published by
Wm. C. Brown Company
Dubuque, Iowa, 1952

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 10

 p83  IX

The Rule of Prior Francis

When the colony of Cistercians walked down the gangplank from the steamboat Excelsior at nine in the morning of April 12th, 1850, it found that the inhabitants of both New Melleray monastery and the city of Dubuque had been apprised of their coming arrival. A large concourse of people, most of them Catholics, had come down to the harbor to welcome the monks, and among them were Brother Ambrose with the horses and carriage of the monastery, and Brother Barnaby and a neighboring farmer, Tom Casey, with their yokes of oxen and wagons for the luggage. On pulling in to the monastery grounds, there was an enthusiastic and affectionate reception, touchingly described by Brother Hilarion in his letter to the abbot: "Blessed be God, we are all well, yes my dear Rev. Father, we all arrived strong and healthy, and we found our dear Brethren equally in good health, exulting with joy and aroused from a state of fearful apprehension for us; uncertain and even doubtful of our being alive. They all ran out to meet us: and we flung ourselves mutually into each others arms . . . The Sisters of the Ten Commandments [sic!]1 are very kind, their goodness to us  p84 is astonishing, you would scarcely believe me were I to tell you, but God will reward them." The new prior, with charitable indulgence, granted a general permission for mutual conversation for two or three days on the news of home, on the subject of absent friends and departed brethren, and on their joys and fears and hopes; and then the Trappist lips were sealed again to be opened only by obedience or duty or unavoidable necessity.

The superior, Father James Myles O'Gorman, now relinquished the reins of monastic government to this new prior, Father Francis Walsh and in the capacity of subprior, served as his lieutenant. Improvements and expansion were soon under way; Brother Joseph, the carpenter, supervised the enlargement of the house by putting in a basement-refectory its full length and breadth; while Brother Mark built a new kitchen and bake-house, underground, near the refectory. Oxen and cows had already been bought and new ones were added. One of the brothers developed his skill with bees and their honey. Horses and wagons were purchased, and also tools and farm implements. The old account books reveal hundreds of interesting entries: an alarm clock — expensive little machines in those days — was bought for eight dollars; two dollars were paid "To a boy who travelled 8 miles bringing home our strayed oxen." The "Dutch" and the "Yankee" neighbors as well as the Irish were hired on frequent occasions to help the brothers break the prairie lands and plow up the soil. Expenses were many and expenses were heavy.

And then Prior Francis and the community began to encounter their calamities, — difficulties indeed severe enough to be called calamities and only slightly short of being disasters. In the year of 1850 no less than fifty acres of fall wheat were entirely destroyed by severe frosts; the potato crop was a partial failure as the blight appeared on the fifth of August and destroyed all future vegetation in a crop which had earlier been most luxuriant and promising. Hopefully the monks entered the year of 1851 but again the fall wheat was extremely bad after the spring wheat had only been fair; the potato crop was a complete failure as the blight appeared about the third of July, even before some of the plants were in blossom. The failure of the crops for two successive years, together with large expenses inseparable from all new establishments, involved the community deeply in debt.

 p85  Dom Bruno, ever solicitous for the new American affiliate, had hitherto strained his resources to the limit to give it financial aid, but now found himself with internal difficulties at Mount Melleray Abbey as well as with demands for help from other directions, and was unable to come to the immediate rescue. Prior Francis borrowed heavily from Father Donaghoe, and not so heavily from other clerical friends such as Father Cretin. The debts becoming more menacingly burdensome he sold one hundred and twenty acres of the foundation's valuable land and thus reduced considerably the weight of the obligations.

Bishop Loras, whose wide missionary diocese was constantly draining the personal fortune he had inherited in France, thought he had a solution for New Melleray's difficulties. In the hope of securing permission to use the Cistercian priests as missionary pastors for some of his scattered congregations, and thereby also helping them to secure parish incomes for their needy monastery, he petitioned the General Chapter of the Congregation of La Trappe in 1850 for this favor. However, the capitular Fathers all answered negatively. They could not well do otherwise without violating their constitution which makes the Trappists cenobites, — that is, contemplative monks of the strict order, — and not missionaries. Nevertheless, the General Chapter authorized preaching in the interior of the monastery to the strangers who might visit there, and this decision, the Chapter pointed out, applied to both American houses, New Melleray and Gethsemani.

Still other difficulties constantly embarrassed the charitable but easygoing Prior Francis. The novices he had brought from Ireland refused to remain at New Melleray. They pretended to be scandalized by an alleged spirit of laxity; one of them was horrified because on the voyage from Liverpool to New Orleans the prior had occasionally permitted the brethren to be served with porter and even with cognac; they could save their souls more certainly by separating from the monastic life. So they were permitted to depart whither they would, and one of them, Brother Gregory, a tailor, remained in the city of Dubuque where he edified everyone by his business thrift as well as by the moral and pious demeanor of his life. As the distressing months rolled on, three of the lay brothers also shook the dust of the Iowa foundation from their feet, one of them drifting back to Mount Melleray in Ireland. Another one of  p86 these three, Brother Matthew, went to Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, but after a short while, displeased by the French customs and French language of that house, he returned to the Dubuque institution and when he was refused readmission he continued to live and work in the vicinity, apparently loving the monastic atmosphere even though he could not participate in the monastic life.

In the succeeding years of the history of the Iowa Trappists, there were to be other members departing from the order, something to be anticipated in the ordinary course of human events. Very recently a book has appeared, "I Leap Over the (Convent) Wall," in which the niece of the Honorable Stanley Baldwin, who a decade or two ago was the prime minister of Great Britain, describes why she left the convent; and this gentle English lady continues today to be a devout and sincere member of the Catholic Church. Cistercians, for good reasons, just as members of other orders, may have their vows annulled or abrogated, and return to a life in the world, particularly if thereby they can find a surer path to eternal salvation. But these defections at this time in the struggling existence of the New Melleray foundation proved naturally to be hard blows to the heroically striving community.

The very life and existence of the New Melleray priory for the almost three years' rule of Father Francis became nothing else but a struggle for survival. The labors of the field now seemed to engage all the energies and most of the time both of the superior and the community. In the harvest season the brothers generally returned from the field, after the burning heat and fatigue of the day, at eight o'clock. After a meager supper — bread with a mixture of milk and water — and after the recitation of compline and the rosary they retired to rest about nine o'clock and arose in the morning at half after three or sometimes four. No wonder that from the excessive fatigue of the body the poor soul itself became prostrate. Spiritual reading was omitted, meditation sometimes neglected, and silence often violated. In short, severe manual labor was substituted for duties of a higher order and more sacred character, and naturally in such a state of confused elements there was little room for peace or order or regularity. Yet, though suffering much in mind and body, these heroic, pioneer Iowa Trappists clung with a dying grasp to the wreck of religious discipline.

It was to be expected, of course, that in the commencement of every religious establishment there would be confusions and difficulties,  p87 and at New Melleray particularly, during these trying years where the brethren had to place all their hopes of subsistence, next to God, in the labor of their own hands, there were certainly many justifying circumstances to prevent the strict observance of every regular exercise, at least for a time. They had in this new and strange western world no wealthy patrons to minister to their wants, no incomes, no revenues, no hopes in a charitable appeal to the skeptical American public of the 1850's. This public, this melange of native and foreign elements, and even a considerable part of the Catholic segment of this public, was not as yet sufficiently spiritualized to see the utility of religious institutions devoted to the silence and solitude of the cloister nor to appreciate those blessings which pious solitaries obtain for the world by their prayers and their saintly habits of life.

However, in desperation, Prior Francis Walsh decided to take a gamble on public charity. One of his lay brothers, Brother Malachy, who had come from the English abbey of Mount St. Bernard, and had formerly been an able collector of funds, was sent to New England on a vague prospect of securing assistance. But all hopes for success were quickly dashed by a hostile opposition from the Eastern prelates, and especially from Bishop John Bernard Fitzpatrick of Boston who refused to grant him permission to collect in his diocese. Brother Malachy then left for England to reenter Mount St. Bernard's Abbey there.

The rather cold indifference which the otherwise charitable Prior Francis showed toward menacing misfortunes without or irritating infractions within caused certain members of the community to communicate the particulars of the situation to Dom Bruno of Mount Melleray. The alarmed abbot immediately wrote the Iowa monastery requesting the choir religious to send him privately their opinions and at the same time to declare whom they considered best adapted to promote the interests of their community as superior. These opinions, which constituted the only criterion whereby the abbot could form a fair judgment in a matter of such vital importance, were duly sent with the utmost secrecy but apparently were of such divided counsel that Dom Bruno determined to continue for the time being the priorship of Father Francis.

The latter carried on in his course quite unperturbed by events. America — the Iowa country part of it, at least — was naturally still strange to him and to the members of this new colony. He wrote  p88 to a friend in Ireland: "We are yet in a very wilderness. There is hardly a soul to be seen in the whole country but ourselves and an odd wagon moving along towards California as our place lies on the principal route to that attractive land." The neighboring farmers, whether native Americans or immigrants, had settled on the new Iowa land only a few short years before the arrival of the monks. A frank picture emerges from the pithy description of Brother Kieran, the early New Melleray annalist: "Here may be laid aside for a time the Bishop business" (he had been discussing episcopal affairs with piquant raciness) "and say something of our near neighbors when we first settled here. Preference must be given to the few Irish Catholics, then delineate the smart Yankees around here at that period. A few of the Irish Catholics are still living here . . . Mostly all of them were then living in log huts through the timber. Two or three families who kept on prairie in pits or what was known as dug‑outs. Not a frame house was to be seen turn what way you may . . . But we had other neighbors, the 'Yankees.' To begin with, the best man of them was Lemuel Lytton who kept the 12 mile house. He was an honorable, honest specimen of a true American. He was also a real friend of ours from the commencement. We had others — a lot of Indiana Hoosiers; a glance at their names will tell what sort of beings they were, poor, as was possible for them to be, a lazy famished gang of wretched creatures with no religion but the 'dollar'; no home but the dug‑out and at all times ready to sell out, put themselves and effects in an ox‑wagon and so move 'west' . . . And they did sell out, their lands now belong to good Irish Catholics."

Late in the month of October, 1851, Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati and Bishop O'Connor of Pittsburgh passed through Dubuque on their way to St. Louis. They had previously been in Chicago, and not finding the bishop of that diocese at home, they decided, as the archbishop put it "to take a peep at Galena & Dubuque." From this latter city they drove out to the grounds of Mount St. Bernard's Seminary where they found "Monseigneur Loras among the grain stacks — his useful recreation or change of labour, after teaching class to his quartette of theological students or saying his prayers. He has lost the sight of one eye." Just a few miles distant lay the monastery grounds, and Archbishop Purcell remarked in this letter from which we are quoting and which was written two weeks  p89 after these events described here from the Mississippi river steamboat, the Isabel "nearing Cape Girardeau" to Archbishop Blanc of New Orleans: "Loras' Trappists have to send their Prior out to beg to enable them to live. Their potato-crop failed this season and they are moreover in debt."

It was true as Archbishop Purcell stated that Prior Francis was out begging, and this fact was entirely due to the archbishop's visit to Dubuque. When Prior Francis learned that the two prelates had gone to St. Louis after their visit to Bishop Loras he conceived this as a most favorable opportunity of going to that quite Catholic city and calling on them while they were being received in the home of Archbishop Kenrick of St. Louis, and of requesting all three bishops for permission to solicit funds in their dioceses. Having no money he borrowed fifty dollars from Tom Casey, a neighboring farmer, and left immediately for the South on October 29th, and arrived in St. Louis the early part of November. He waited on the dignitaries at the archbishops' house and laid open to them the object of his visit. After much hesitation the archbishops of St. Louis and Cincinnati gave a very reluctant consent but refused to afford anything like cooperation on their part and held out no encouragement whatsoever as to the friendly dispositions of their people toward an object of charity so unpopular and so circumscribed as this seemed to them to be. The bishop of Pittsburgh had no hesitation in giving a prompt refusal; he could not tolerate an appeal for charity to be made in his diocese where his own churches were generally involved in debt.

Although he realized that these cold and reluctant permissions did not augur well for the success of his humiliating mission, the prior began his painful task of begging in the city of St. Louis. He received only a few dollars given by several Catholic laymen but as most of his applications proved fruitless he decided to give up the quest. He further concluded that as fortune had thus frowned on his search in the Catholic city of St. Louis he would have no success in Cincinnati which apparently was less friendly to a monastic cause, and that he should therefore quietly retreat northwards to his Dubuque house.

He obtained passage on the steamboat Archer which left St. Louis on the evening of November 26th, and like all the other passengers he retired to the lower deck for rest as this steamer, used also as a freighter, had no cabins. At about two o'clock in the morning he  p90 was suddenly aroused by a terrific crash, and throwing on his cloak and seizing his watch and wallet, he rushed about trying to peer through a dense mass of steam. To his horror he discovered that his steamboat had been rammed in the darkness by another huge boat and was rapidly sinking. He either leaped or fell from the broken railing of the Archer to the deck of the strange steamboat and thus had an almost miraculous escape from death. Nearly all the other persons on the lower deck — according to some accounts thirty-four, according to one thirty in number of whom ten were deck hands or firemen engaged on the boat — perished in the sinking wreckage and churning waters. Only three were saved by having tumbled on the deck of the ramming steamboat, a young lad, a maiden lady and the Trappist prior. The Galena Daily Advertiser of November 29th, 1851, carried the following notice of the catastrophe:

Steamboat Collision!
Steamer Archer Cut in Two — 30 Lives Lost!

St. Louis, Nov. 27.

As the steamer Archer was ascending and the Die Vernon was descending the Mississippi, at 2 o'clock this morning when about 5 miles below the mouth of the Illinois river, they came into collision. The Archer was cut in two and sank in 15 feet of water. All the passengers on the lower deck were drowned.

The St. Louis Intelligencer of the same date enumerated the names of those who lost their lives and closed its news story with this sentence: "The boy Smeyers, Miss Dick and another person were taken up by the yawl of the Die Vernon." This other person was, of course, Prior Francis and one wonders why his name was ignored or suppressed; probably it was not known by the reporter who had no access to the ship's books since they were all lost. The Die Vernon cruised about in the darkness for two hours and unable to find any other survivors continued its trip southward and took Father Francis back to St. Louis. When the story reached the New Melleray monastery it was reported that the prior was the only one to be saved and that he had been injured. This latter part of the statement was true, for in his leap or fall to the deck of the Die Vernon he had severely hurt his foot. He was cared for by the Sisters of Charity in St. Louis, and after he had recovered he travelled further south  p91 to St. Mary's Seminary at the Barrens, where he remained during the winter and failed to return to his Dubuque house until the beginning of the following April, 1852.

Fortunately, the patient monks at New Melleray were not without a few friends during this period who stepped forward to extend a hand of financial aid just when it was most needed. There was Bishop Loras, of course, who still from time to time sent out a bank check of fifty or a hundred dollars at most opportune moments. But one person who came on the scene providentially and happily was a recently arrived priest in northern Iowa. Father Thomas Hore, an elderly gentleman, originally from County Wexford, Ireland, had for thirty years labored as a missionary in eastern Virginia. Returning to his native haunts in 1850 he gathered a large number of needy friends and neighbors and brought them with him to America. They landed at New Orleans where most of them remained as they were poor and in search of immediate employment. Others came with him as far as Arkansas and a few as far as St. Louis. About a dozen families accompanied him to northern Iowa where in Allamakee County three miles inland from the Mississippi river he established a settlement naming it Wexford after his birthplace, and built a log church calling it St. George's. He bought "congress land" and helped his settlers establish farms and homes. This was in the early spring of 1851, and hardly had he completed the foundations of his settlement when he appeared at New Melleray. Impressed by the monks and their work, this generous gentleman immediately loaned them five hundred dollars. This was but the first of the favors he was to show them, and as will be seen, as time went on his benevolence to the Trappists increased.

Here an interesting glance may be thrown at the Catholic Directory of 1852 and its chastely prosaic reference to the Dubuque Trappist house. The Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity's Directory for both 1851 and 1852, under the heading of the Diocese of Dubuque carried the following:

"An extensive and valuable piece of land, including rich prairies well watered and good timber, with valuable improvements on it, has been generously given by the right reverend Bishop, to a branch of the Cistercian Order, called the Trappists, who came lately from Mount Melleray in Ireland. They have purchased, at Congress price, much of the neighboring land, and they have built a chapel,  p92 where many persons come to Mass on Sunday, and a school house where they teach every day. They keep their rules well and give great edification to the people. Their number is forty, including five priests, viz.: Very Rev. Francis Walsh, Prior, James O'Gorman, Superior; Bernard McCaffrey, Clement Smyth, Patrick Mohan. The name of the Monastery, which is situated twelve miles from Dubuque, is: Our Lady of the New Melleray."

The notice speaks of a non‑monastic chapel, and a school conducted by the monks. The founding of the monastery in 1849 had immediately attracted to the surrounding district a large immigration, notably Irish. For a short time these pioneers attended Mass in the monastery, but soon a small church was built, partly of stone, and from that time on the pious services of the white cowled Cistercian fathers were employed by the farmers for their parish. Relates Brother Kieran, the inimitable annalist: "Father Bernard, Father Francis and Father Patrick attended the secular church alternately. Father James also went to it occasionally being the best preacher of them all, yes, and of all in the Diocese. Yet Father Bernard was considered from the commencement the Parish Priest." The school, of which these same fathers constituted the teaching staff, was conducted in a room which on week-days was partitioned off at one end of the church. It was for boys only. Some of the lads had to walk four or five miles to attend their classes, but in the winters most of them were hauled to school in lumber wagons drawn by oxen. After five or six years when the public district schools were organized, the boys' school was discontinued.

A critical affair, which was eventualizing during these months and years, and which had its origin in Mount Melleray Abbey, led Dom Bruno to realize the lack of firmness and possibly the lack of other necessary qualities, in the character of Prior Francis, and compelled him finally to remove the prior from his office of superior of the Iowa Trappist monastery. As was mentioned previously, internal difficulties at Mount Melleray had prevented the abbot from giving more direct aid and attention to his American affiliate. As the Father Immediate of the Dubuque foundation, it was incumbent upon him to manifest this aid and attention. A "Father Immediate" of a house is the abbot of the monastery that founded it, and he possesses certain supervisory powers over it and usually visits it each year to make certain that the Rule is being observed.

 p93  The critical affair of which we speak was probably the most painful experience in the entire abbatial career of Dom Bruno, who, as his life showed, was a brilliant and learned monk of great virtue and commanding intellect. In his community was a choir religious, Father Palladius Cosgrove, who had been among those who suffered for the Faith by being expelled from the French abbey of Melleray in 1831 by the revolutionary government. He was a man of deep piety and marked ability; indeed, he had been prior of Mount Melleray from 1834 to 1846. Yet, along with his virtues, a severe streak of obstinacy began to manifest itself towards the abbot, ten years his junior, and for fear that others whom he influenced might be made rebellious in their spiritual life, he was permitted to visit the Primate, the Archbishop of Armagh, and lay his complaints before him. Leaving Dublin for America, he proceeded immediately to Iowa to the New Melleray monastery. Prior Francis had previously been instructed not to admit Father Palladius to the Dubuque house, but hesitated and vacillated. The abbot thereupon wrote Bishop Loras in his usual energetic way, asking him to take over in the matter. "I, therefore, pray your Lordship to exercise your authority, and as it is possible that doubts may be raised regarding the extent of your Lordship's jurisdiction, I hereby declare, that it is my will and my positive command that Mr. Cosgrove should not be allowed to enter the Monastery of New Melleray. It may appear strange, that I should presume to convey through your Lordship a command intended exclusively for the Prior of New Melleray; but the fact is, the Prior will not, as far as I can judge, take upon himself the distressing task unless supported by an authority superior to his own."

This letter was received by Bishop Loras while Prior Francis was still sojourning with the Vincentian fathers in southern Missouri after his steamboat accident. Loras took the matter under his authority, and decided to follow a prudent course. He learned from Father Palladius, now deeply penitential and humbly amenable to his authority, that it was at the suggestion of the Archbishop of Armagh that he came to the Iowa monastery, and of this matter the bishop duly apprised Abbot Bruno. The continuing correspondence revealed the magnanimous soul of Dom Bruno; he and Loras, as all their letters disclose had a strong affection and high regard for each other, and he finally left the decision entirely in the hands of the bishop of Dubuque. In fact, he had always been willing to allow  p94 Father Palladius to enter Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, if he so wished. Apparently, at Bishop Loras' suggestion Father Palladius had written the abbot a sincerely contrite letter of apology. Dom Bruno's last word on the matter was written to the bishop from Mt. St. Bernard's Abbey in England while he was on a tour of visitation there in May of 1852:

"I met the Primate in Dublin. His Grace's words were: Father Cosgrove has done precisely the thing which alone I commanded him not to do; he has gone to New Melleray! . . . Is it the will of God that he should remain at New Melleray? This question is so difficult that I must pray your Lordship to decide it . . . I pray your Lordship to bear in mind, that, in words as plain and strong as words could be, I commanded the Prior to exclude from his Monastery the unfortunate Monks, who had rebelled against my authority . . . If your Lordship decide that Father Palladius should join the Community, I shall not offer any further opposition; but I beg to suggest that he should not be allowed to renew his vows until (later). . . . Kentucky in my opinion is the only proper place for him. Indeed, my wish is, that he should go to Gethsemani at once . . . I consent to his saying Mass in both Monasteries, though I prefer, that he should wait until his arrival at the French House in the event of your Lordship's deciding that he should go there . . . I sincerely regret the necessity I am under of thus trespassing upon your Lordship's precious time. I hope, that never again shall I be obliged to write upon so painful a subject."

With the decision so magnanimously passed over to him by the abbot, the bishop chose discretion as the better part, and permitted Father Palladius to remain at New Melleray. His judgment was vindicated; Father Palladius became one of the most zealous means in the monastery and in due time was appointed Father Master of the lay brothers, and died a holy death a few years later — in 1864.

Conditions being what they were, the New Melleray brothers began more and more to turn to Bishop Loras as their counsellor and patron. Dom Bruno was still unable to make a visitation of his American filiate, partly because of lack of funds and time but principally because the primate of Ireland was unwilling to permit him to absent himself for so long a period from his abbey. So the abbot of Mount Melleray wrote to the abbot of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Dom Mary Eutropius Proust, requesting him to make the visitation  p95 of the Dubuque house. Gethsemani, the year before, although its members were still living in log houses, had been elevated to the dignity of an abbey, the first Trappist abbey in the United States. When the news reached New Melleray that Dom Eutropius had refused — for pressing reasons, no doubt, — the monks, at least some of the choir religious and lay brothers, wrote to Bishop Loras privately beseeching him to hold a regular visitation and insisting that his presence was much needed as he himself would clearly perceive on examination. This may not have been strictly according to the Cistercian constitution, but be that as it may, the Right Rev. Dr. Mathias Loras visited the priory in the summer of 1852, assembled the brethren in Chapter, explained the nature and object of his visit and proceeded to hear whatsoever the monks might have to communicate to him. He sometime later reported the results to the abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey and awaited his instructions as to further proceedings.

Dom Bruno up to this point had conscientiously given Prior Francis every kindly consideration possible but now realized that drastic action had to be taken. In a missive written to him from Dubuque on the 22nd of August, he had read again the prior's complaints that "the Brethren are literally in rags, and worse, full of vermin" and "the Brethren are in extreme distress for the want of money." Such letters coupled with the communication sent him by Loras as the result of his visitation grieved and mortified him, and on October 22nd, he wrote to the bishop: "It seems to me that after three years of toil and anxiety, Father Francis should be relieved from the burdens of office . . . If Your Lordship coincide in opinion with me, your own great prudence and charity will suggest the best means to be adopted, so as to spare the feelings of Father Francis. If on the contrary, Your Lordship considers my proposal rash and dangerous, the document can remain in your possession but used at any further time, according to Your Lordship's discretion."

"The document" of which Dom Bruno spoke and which was enclosed in his letter to Loras was the formal appointment of Father Clement Smyth to be prior of the New Melleray monastery and presupposed the resignation of that office of Father Francis Walsh. The bishop weighed the matter carefully and prayerfully for well over a fortnight and then made his decision. He found Father Francis very willing to lay down his burden which for him had really  p96 been a most unhappy one, and he accepted his resignation on December 6th, 1852. On the same day Father Clement accepted his reappointment as prior and thus became the fourth superior in three and a half years of life of the infant Iowa institution. A providential appointment it was, as will soon be seen, for the faltering and wobbling career of New Melleray had brought it to a perilous crisis; now both its spiritual and material foundations were to be speedily and sturdily strengthened, and halcyon days were at last ahead — for a few years at least.

The Author's Notes:

1 He meant, of course, the Sisters of Charity of the B. V. M.

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