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

Page 79

          My first visit to this section was in company with Father Matz, when we went farther and visited Hot Sulphur Springs and Grand Lake.

          On another occasion I took with me a priest from Kentucky, Rev J Jenkins. I left him there with friends on an outing to have a traveling vacation for six weeks for his health. He was anxious to kill a bear, which he did not, and to catch a wagon-load of trout which did not know how to angle for. He had a good time, however, and wrote a book on his experience. If Father Jenkins could not fish he could preach, so I had him preach for me on Sunday. It was the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, and he said he hoped the time would come when our lofty mountains would be crowned by a statue of our Lady rising above the snow of their loftiest peak, etc. There was a good Austrian miner Joe Pleiss in the audience and he had a mine up pretty high in the hills. It was but a prospect, but Joe had hopes, and to buy them up he got a small statue of the Blessed Virgin, and making a case with a glass front he proceeded to install it on the mountain. So much for Father Jenkin’s sermon, but some irreverent boys broke the statue and its case and Joe never put up another. His mine proved to be no bonanza. 

          After Easter, 1883, I exchanged parishes for a few weeks with Father Cummins of Boulder. In his missions my mother and other members of the family lived, and while attending these missions I received word that my sister--Sister Theodora--was ill of a deadly disease in St Louis. Without returning to my parish I went to St Louis and found here [her] she was rapidly wasting away with lung trouble. A sever [severe] cold, caught at Christmas time, had settled in her lungs, and now death was only a question of a short time. In the interim I acted as assistant to Rev P O’Reilley at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Lucas Place, and also helped Father Shea of St Kein’s on Compton Hill when he was sick, and made the acquaintance of many of the priests of the city. They were mostly older pastors, and I believe all of them have been called to their reward before now.

          Sister Theodora died on July 4th, and after seeing her laid away in the little cemetery of the Sisters at Florissant I returned to my mountain home.

          The next year I took a more extended vacation, and passing through St Louis with only a few formal visits I went to  Kentucky to renew acquaintances with my former classmates of seminary days. These were not all in Kentucky, but in Indiana also, and while so near, I went into Michigan to visit the companions of my boyhood days. I fared better than I had expected, for Father Cappon of Niles right royally received me and asked me to supply his place for a week while he attended some of his missions. It became noised abroad that I was there, and on August 15th the high mass was the occasion for all the old and young people of the town and of the Barron Lake district to come and see and hear me. The exhibit was not very wonderful in either way, but it was a very pleasant meeting on both sides. There were not as many of them, and the really young were not in existence when I was young

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