In those days the schools did not close until near the end of June. Our closing exercises were of the simple: a little music, an essay or two, the valedictory, the conferring of honor and a word from a member of the faculty; then home. I reached Denver, this time by rail all the way, on the morning of the Fourth of July, 1872. It was my first return since 1867 and I noticed great changes in the town and in the surrounding country. It was no longer “wild and woolly,” as in the earlier days. My old dislike passed away, and I felt perfectly satisfied to consider it as my future scene of labor and my home. The ox wagons were mostly gone, the stages had given way to the railroad, four of which radiated from Denver, and two priests were doing the work of the surrounding missions. There were now seven with a bishop at their head. Manufacturing had started, farming was becoming more general and prosperity reigned everywhere. The outlook was bright and I was anxious to share in the work of the future.
My hope at the end of my preparatory studies was that I might to to [go to] Lovian in Belgium for my course in theology. During the vacation I consulted several times with Bishop Machebeuf on the matter and found him adverse to my going abroad. The Rector of the American College at Louvain, who had given me my First Communion had suffered a mental breakdown, and the Bishop feared that might interfere in some way with the successful management of the institution, so he would not send me there. Rome was out of the question as the Pope was a prisoner and the city in the hands of the enemies of the church. Cincinnati had a fine Seminary and that was his favorite just then. So it was settled that I go to Cincinnati and enter Mount St. Mary's Seminary which would open for registration of students on Monday, September 2, 1872. On the day preceding my proposed departure for Cincinnati I called at the house of Bishop to say goodbye, but I found that he was absent at Central City, forty miles away, and would not return until the next day. Father Raverdy , the Vicar General, advised me to remain until the bishop came home, and I would yet have time to reach Cincinnati by Sunday morning. The next day saw the return of the bishop and two priests with a brand new plan for my consideration. This time it was to go to France and enter the seminary of St. Sulpice of Paris. The pastor of Central City, Rev. H. Nourion, had a younger brother, Alcide, who had just finished his preparatory studies, and was about to start for Paris to continue his theology. He was then visiting in Central City, and would leave for Paris on the following Sunday night. It was then Thursday evening, and I was considerably upset by the preposition and the suddenness of the departure. I had no fear of any trouble in Europe from the start, and I do not think Bishop Macebeuf had either. It was his way of putting things to make his plan appear the best thing. France had just been defeated in a serious war, and the ruins of a part of Paris were almost smoking still from the fires of the commune. He had no fear of trouble, and it was such a good chance with a Frenchman as my companion and guide all the way.
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