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

Page 62

a grand yet no less epoch of my life. Your letter furnishes many serious subjects of meditation, and they are formulated with such unction that they are quite affecting. I was rather expecting this letter from you, though you were not in the knowledge of the date of my Golden Jubilee. I will surprise you by telling you that yours was the only letter of felicitation I received on the occasion. As far as I know, nobody seems to know, or care perhaps, whether there is a jubilee or not. It was an absolutely private celebration. Had all to myself. As it was a personal affair and concerned nobody but myself I made up my mind to keep it a secret. In writing your letter on 3rd June you were not far off the proper date, which was May 22nd.

                                        In the bulk, as you say, these fifty years look short enough, but in reality long enough to have done a great deal of good, which I have too many grounds for believing I have failed to do.

                                        Through all these years I have had wonderfully good health, and even at the present age of 77 I am well and can’t feel old. I am well pleased to hear that your health is so robust. What a pity you can’t manage to get a substitute while you pay us a visit. It would be a really enjoyable treat to have a visit from you. I hope you will be able to satisfy your and my wishes in that direction. The call to Rome is very urgent this year, and remember Ireland stands between you and Rome, so that you can’t miss it.

                                        I am very grateful for your loving remembrance of an old time friend, for your good wishes and prayers. Would it be too presumptuous to hope to be alive when you celebrate your Jubilee? It can’t be far off now. I should like to know the date, so that I might join my feeble voice to the chorus that America will raise on that eventful and joyful day. “Jubilate, Ad Multos Annos!”

                                        With all best wishes and heartful thanks, I
                                        remain, My dear Fr William,

                                                                            Sincerely yours,
                                                                         **** JOHN M BROWNE.

          My ordination as deacon took place at Christmas, 1875, and to the priesthood on June 10, 1876. Cardinal Guilbert [Guibert] was the ordaining prelate, and the ceremony was performed in the Church of St Sulprice in Paris. I believe ours was the only class to receive all orders, from tonsure to priesthood, from Cardinal Guibert  while he was Archbishop of Paris. There was a large class composed of French, English, Irish, Scotch and Americans. Few of them can be alive now, and these must feel that they are growing old even if their hearts are young. We would live a long time if the mens sana in corpore sano was the result of the heart’s feelings. The fact of so many leaving us, and a sense of loneliness growing upon us make us feel old rather than the

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