Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 50

that they would not receive him. At this juncture some friends told him that priests were wanted in Louisville, and it would do no harm to apply there. Dan followed this advice telling as before of his deficiencies and of his limited funds. A reply came at once from the authorities at Louisville telling him not to worry about his finances but to come and they would be glad to give him a trial. Leaving Cincinnati quietly Dan came to Louisville and was sent to St. Thomas in September 1866. He did not even tell Sister Mary Joseph, his sister, of his movements and his intentions. For a year he wrote to her under cover of a friend in Cincinnati, leaving her with the impression that he was still at his job there. She was out in the state caring for a community of orphans, and did not know of his plans until he returned to her after a year at St. Thomas. He wished to spare her the humiliation of knowing that he had tried to be a priest and had failed and he was afraid that one year at St. Thomas would convince his new teachers that his was a hopeless case. When at the close of his first year of study he was told to come back and continue, he hastened to visit her and share the good news with her. 

          But Dan did not get through without anxiety. He was a close student as far as he could study, but his progress was slow and his apprehension difficulty by reason of his age and previous lack of book learning, but his conduct in observance of rules were perfect. He was always a gentleman. Yet, many times he despaired and was on the point of giving up and returning to the world of manual labor. He was made prefect of studies and everyone was his friend. I, as one, advised him to continue, even after we had finished our year of philosophy, and not to give in until his superiors, who knew him and were responsible for him, told him to go and not return. The fact was that Dan continued and was called for ordination more than a year in advance of any in his class. He used to say that they ordained him then because they knew he would never learn anymore and they needed a priest to say mass at some of the numerous communities then attended from the Cathedral. But Dan O'Sullivan was nobody's fool. He had an alert mind and a good judgment, and no one can say that he did not do good work in any position he held. His Parish of the Blessed Sacrament, where he built a brick church and school, was proud of him, and when business drove most of them away and his parish window to almost nothing, they still came to hear his mass and simple sermon, and contribute to his scanty revenue. The last few years of his life he spent as a patient invalid unable to say mass, but he clung to his old Parish to the end, which came only a week's a few weeks ago in the ninety-seventh year of his age and the sixtieth of his priesthood. 

          And what of his sister, Sister Mary Joseph? . . . Their lives ran in a way parallel, in good works, in humility and in friendship. Regularly he visited her, and every year his Christmas present to her was a check equal to the number of her growing years. Last year (1932)  she celebrated the centennial anniversary of her birth at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, where an Archbishop, a bishop, a large number of priests and hundreds of sisters gathered to honor her, not alone for her years but for her merits. It was a great day for her, and her only regret was that Father Dan was not able to be present. Her life has been a happy one because she loved God's work among the lowly and did it, but there were a few days of excelling happiness, and some 

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