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

Page 71

know until we reached New York that he was the famous Peter B Sweeney of the Tweed Ring of swindlers in the government of New York. He had been a fugitive in Paris for some years and was returning by special arrangement to endeavor to effect a compromise with justice in that famous case that brought Samuel J Tilden to the front as Presidential Candidate. I do not know what arrangements he made, but he was allowed to return to Paris to spend the rest of his life undisturbed.

          In New York I spent a few days at the Church of St Michael at the invitation of an old acquaintance, Father Spalding of Kentucky, then Bishop-elect of Peoria, Illinois. My old professor at Bardstown, the Rev Jas P Ryan, was then a Paulist and I had a pleasant visit with him at their monastery. I witnessed the St Patrick’s Day parade and listened to a fine lecture on Ireland by Bishop-elect Spalding at St Michael’s in the evening. 

          On my way west I could not leave Kentucky off my itinerary, so coming to Louisville I was the guest of the family of my friend Mr Deppen, and I made a circuit of the places with which I was familiar in former days. 

          Bardstown with its old college and cathedral, Nazareth, Loretto, Lebanon, New Haven and other places in what is called the Holy Land were visited again, a mass and a few words to the students of the college, and a seranade [serenade] by the band in return recalled former days when I helped to do for others what my successors were now doing for me. A former classmate, the Rev Thoe F Tierney, got an extension of time for me from Bishop Machebeuf, and I went with him to Franklin, Kentucky, his mission, for a visit. It was Holy Week and we went to Nashville and helped at the Holy Thursday services and again on Good Friday. There I made the acquaintance of Father Scannell, the rector of the Cathedral and future Bishop of Omaha. Nearly forty years later I assisted at his funeral in the City of Omaha. We also helped Father Bax at Bowling Green for Holy Saturday, and then Father Tierney told me I would have to preach for him on Easter Sunday. I had very little time to prepare and as this was my first sermon I was glad it was to be a small congregation. It can be understood that it was short, and nearly half the attendants were Protestants, who generally are quite appreciative of a sermon the Gospel.

          Continuing my way toward Denver I stopped at St Louis to see my sister who had become a member of the Loretto Order and was teaching at St  Michael’s school in that city. It was my first sight of her as a Sister and her first sight of me as a priest. We had many things to speak of in the wonderful dispositions of Providence which need not to be written down here. Her life was not a long one, and there are some yet living who knew and loved Sister Theodors. It was while I was in St Louis on this occasion that the old Southern Hotel was burned with the loss of many lives. I was staying with Father Eustace at St Michael’s and heard of the catastrophe only the next morning. I went down to the scene of the fire and saw the ruins while the fire department was yet at work extinquishing [extinguishing] the blaze among the debris of what was one of St Louis’ most popular hostelries. 

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