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

Page 70

          My visit at Augsburg was made pleasant by the Raitmeyer family but it could not be extended beyond a day or two, and I left bearing messages from all of them and some warm socks from his mother to her reverend son in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains. A day at Munich and a long ride down to Lake Constance and into the Austrian Alps to Feldkirch. The Jesuits had a college at Feldkirch, and my little friend, Franz Scherer, the son of my German teacher at Wuertzburg, had come to join them. I passed a pleasant Sunday with him and with him visited the tomb of Feldkirch's martyr-- St Fidelia, called, of Sigmaringen.

           Monday was a great day, for our train traversed the whole length of Switzerland to Zurich and Basel, through mountains that  reminded me of the Rockies on a small scale, with a subdued beauty and an enchanting civilization. The trains in Switzerland were the first in Europe to remind me of American railroads. The coaches had doors at the ends instead of at the sides, and a long aisle allowed free passage from one compartment to another although the compartments were small and graded as first, second and third class. We changed to the French trains at Mulhausen, and a tiresome ride all night brought us to Paris nearly next morning.

          By request of Bishop Machebeuf I went to visit his relatives at Riom in Auvergne. There I found his sister--Sister Mary Philomene--and spent a couple of days there in the parish where they were born, and then under the care of their cousin, Father Fontanel. A visit also to a brother, Marius Mchebeuf, who was in business at Clermont, was a part of my errand, and while there I called to pay my respects to the Bishop of the Diocese, and the good old man began by telling me that he had no priests to spare for Colorado and New Mexico, put he was reassured when I told him that I did not come for his priests, but to get a blessing from the very hands that had conferred the graces of the priesthood on my bishop forty years before. The Diocese of New Mexico was sometimes called “Little Auvergne,” from the fact that nearly all the priests there had come from Auvergne in France.

           At Riom I asked Sister Philomene to preserve the letters she had received from her brother, Bishop Machebeuf, as they would make excellent material for some future biographer to write his life. She said she had them all and would give them to me; an offer I declined as I did not wish to have the family correspondence of one in whose house I was going to live at least for a time, but promised to remember them when the time came, never dreaming that the work would be left to myself to do years after his death. When that time came, she very kindly sent me copies of all of them.

          The return voyage to America was in March and the crossing was favorable. I do not think I lost a single meal on the ship, although some of them were not very hearty. A silent passenger on the steamer was a Mr Sweeney, but no one seemed to

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