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

Page 95

flattering, but it got us nowhere; the Bishop of Louisville might be an old Bardstown student with us and want us all together, but he knew we were not like the preachers, obedient to calls and offers of better positions. I told him also that I did not think my bishop would listen to a request for a chance, but I did mention the fact that some time before the Bishop of Davenport had asked me to accept the position of Chaplain to the Catholic students at the university of Iowa at Iowa City, and Bishop Matz had made light of the idea. “A chaplain,” said he, “I’ve got better than that for you myself.” Howere, I promised to think it over when he said the Sisters had some writing they wished to intrust to me.

          When I reached home I found that Father Donnelly was on the high road to recovery, and that ended the Denver provisional arrangement and I also dismissed the thought of Loretto.

          Shortly after my return I received a letter from Mother Praxedes asking me to come back as chaplain. I had to explain my position that it was not a matter of my will or of here alone; there were two bishops interested in the matter, one in Louisville and one in Denver. Another letter from her told me the Bishop of Louisville was willing and in fact a letter from O’Donague came a few days later urging me to come and promising me a home-coming welcome into the diocese. As he and I had been fellow-students at St. Thomas and at Bardstown, his kind invitation had some weight and I concluded to lay the matter before Bishop Matz.

          It was at the priests’ retreat in June that I broached the matter to him, giving him an account of my experience just about as now written and handed him the letters to read in the order I had received them. His answer in substance was, “I know you are not getting a proper living at Loveland, and our Denver arrangements are things of the past; I know you like to write and I have nothing more for you to do in that line, so if you wish, you may go to Loretto for a while. I am willing to give you an indefinite leave of absence. I will not give you an Exeat, but you may stay long enough to do any writing they want done and then come back to Colorado. Do as you please in the matter.”

          After consulting with some of my friends I concluded to go at least for one term of three years and let the future decide my course afterwards. The summer was on in Kentucky and I knew what that was, so I wrote to the Bishop of Louisville and to Mother Praxedes that I would come in the fall if that was satisfactory, but my business would not let me come sooner. I wanted to let the hot weather by. I could not possibly think of plunging suddenly from the snow-cooled invigorating atmosphere of Colorado into the hot and stifling humidity of a Kentucky summer without any acclimation. I knew that the Sisters were well cared for by the Passionist Father, any my delay would not work to their detriment. Both wrote that such an arrangement was satisfactory, and the bishop wrote me to let him know a couple of weeks before my coming.

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