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

Page 96

          Such is the history of my coming to Loretto. Mother Praxedes told me that the Sisters were praying to the Little Flower for a suitable successor to the good Father Drury, but she added, “I think I am the Little Flower who got you to come!” The wisdome [wisdom] of it all will be known only in eternity. I arrived at Loretto in the beginning of October 1913, and found Father James McDonnell, C.P., filling the position until my arrival. The work was of the ordinary kind in an institution of the sort, with a sisterhood of about seventy-five members, a novitiate of sixty and an academy school of some fifty girls. The work was not heavy but it was confining and allowed little time for visiting. This was not disagreeable to me, and it gave me time for study and preparation for the press of the story dealing with the Catholic pioneers of Kentucky which I had blocked out before coming, and which I now gave to the press under the caption of “In the Old Days.”

          Then I took up the work of compiling and completing a biography of Father Nerinckx. There was one already published by Bishop Maes of Covington but it was lacking in some points subsequently discovered, and it was rather involved in other matters foreign to the subject, so a new work was thought the best way to correct the deficiencies. This was finished in 1915 and I went to Techny, Illinois to arrange for its publication.

          Before leaving Denver in 1913, Bishop Matz told me that I should return perhaps the next year, to build a chapel in Estes Park for the accommodation of tourists, and that a Mr. Carry of Chicago had offered to assist to the extent of $500. through the Extension Society. When 1914 came, Mr. Carry’s donation had been diverted to Meridian, Mississippi, but later he might help the Estes Park project; so in 1915 I called at the office of the Extension Society in Chicago, stating that I was on my way to build the chapel; but I got no encouragement there, they having lost all recollection of Mr. Carry’s promise. However, I went to Davenport, Iowa, to visit Msgr. Ruan and interviewed an old friend, Mr. Patrick Walsh whose son, Walter, had died at Colorado Springs some time before, and from here I went on my way to Estes Park, relying on the Providence of God and Mr. Walsh’s check for $500. to build the chapel of St. Walter.

          I reached Estes Park on the 29th of June and rented a log house of four rooms for the season at the monthly rental of fifty dollars. Already some tourists had come in and others were expected, so I set up my altar in the front rooms where It [sic] could be seen from all the other rooms and from a porch that extended  the whole length of the building. I said Mass daily with some few present, and on Sundays with a good congregation attending, and those who could not get inside the building heard mass from the porch.

          The securing of a location was not so easy. Those who had favorable locations thought I cam with a pocket full of money, and put exorbitant prices on their property. Finally, through the good offices of Mr. Stanley of hotel and automobile fame, I got a fine lot near the Post Office for $150. from a member of the Estes Park Land Co., in Greeley. Mr. George Cook of Chicago, then with his family in Estes Park, gave me $750. and Mrs. P.T. Walsh added $250. to her husband’s donation, and other smaller donations made up the rest. The church was

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