The Story of the
Mary's College and Seminary
Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween
Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911
Chapter 9 |
Chapter 10: 1822-1824
The Mount 1822
Father Dubois has a journal of his
trip to Niagara Falls made in
July-August, 1822, but it is nothing
more than a litany of the places
through which he passed by stage and
steamboat. Of the Hudson River he says
very little, and of the Falls
absolutely nothing. How different had
it been were Brute to describe the
same journey and reveal the thoughts
raised in him by this wonderful work
It has been the custom for many
years to give a holiday and a feast on
St. John Evangelist's Day, the patron
of Father Dubois, a date included now
in the Christmas holidays, but not in
that time of sterner discipline. This
year Mr. Wiseman of the Seminary asks
in poetic measure recreation for the
1. Once more the festive day
comes round To cheer the Winter" s
chilly reign; Once more our youthful
hearts rebound We do not hail it now
2. For ready is our Father's
heart To hear his children's humble
prayer; The day of joy he will
impart And bid it joyful garlands
3. St. John's through years
and long time past Has ever been a
happy day, And now again it hastens
fast To be the subject of our lay.
4. Kind father, listen to our
claim And grant the leave you always
gave; Withhold the cruel bell again,
May we our recreation have.
5. We know the joy you always
feel To see your children's artless
glee; Then do not former laws
repeal, But tell us we are once more
6. Tomorrow is your patron's
right; He claims it for us, and will
you Bid us in sorrow pass the night,
Without the joyful day in view ?
7. O no! We know your heart
too well To think you would reject
our plea. O then the shades of doubt
dispel And bid your children happy
We may be allowed to trust that
this appeal did not fall on deaf ears
or a stony heart.
The following memorandum of Father
Brute's is, as is so frequently and
unfortunately the case, undated, but
it must have been written about this
time. It gives a sketch of one day's
"Saturday night, 14th, I received
from Baltimore a number of the
Edinburg Review and Stuart' Against
the Eternal Generation Jesus
Christ.' Sunday, 15th. Already read
through Stuart's book, and wrote a
long letter to Rev. Mr. Elder.
Attended the duties of the day at
Emmitsburg. In the evening read part
on the road, part at home, most of
the Edinburg. Monday. This day I
finished the Edinburg; made a dozen
long notes on the article on
O'Meara's Journal ("A Voice from St.
Helena"), and two on the article
upon Duprat's works, with some
search among my books in regard to
points in these memoranda. Wrote a
letter to Mr. Chanche; packed up,
the whole to be sent to Baltimore
to-morrow morning by Sister Xavier,
who is going there. Finished a map
of the Ecclesiastical States for the
geography class. Read on the sixth
chapter of St. John, Witasse,
Tournley, Drouin, Bellarmine, and
the Discussion Amicale; consulted
also Wesley's Notes, Cajetan, Beil,
Bergier, my old notes of Mr.
Frayssinous, and noted down
twenty-one arguments upon the
subject. Taught the class in
theology ; studied some other
questions; taught the class in
philosophy; went on a sick call,
etc., etc., etc., and then the usual
happy round of a priest, prayer and
meditation, mass breviary, beads,
visit to the Blessed Sacrament, etc"
This other memorandum of Father
Brute's was written some time in the
two years he was pastor of Emmitsburg.
The word "Eternity" is found upon all
his leaflets an ever-present thought
and influence with him.
"One day a priest—Eternity!"
4 ˝ o'c. "Benedicamus Domino"
"Praise be to God" on awakening;
vocal prayer ; meditation before the
tabernacle; Rev. Mr. Hickey's Mass,
Jesus Christ my own Lord present;
breakfast; bodily care. Returned to
the church (on the Mountain) opened
the tabernacle and took out the
Blessed Sacrament. Went with Guy
Elder through the woods, our Blessed
Lord on my breast. Said our beads
with acts of devotion to the Blessed
Sacrament at the end of each decade.
"8 o'c. At Mrs. McCormick's ; her
lively marks of faith and joy; heard
her confession; arranged the table;
called the people; the young convert
and her little one; her husband
preparing for his first Communion;
administered the Blessed Sacrament
to Mrs. McCormick ; spoke of Martha
and Mary and Lazarus and Zacheus,
old friends of our Lord on earth; He
still upon earth and we His present
living friends. On our way to
Emmitsburg recited the Miserere, Our
Father, Hail Mary, hymn "Jesus Lover
of My Soul."
"9 ˝ o'c. At the church in
Emmitsburg, opened the Tabernacle
and Ciborium. Went to see Mr. ————,
ten years with out making his Easter
Communion ; good moral character, as
they say; heard his confession;
strong faith, gave lively evidence
of it; had a talk with him, etc.
"l0 ˝ o'c. Coming back, baptized
the child of Peter's wife; her
abundant tears; her great
difficulties; did not hear her
confession at that time.
"11 o'c. Returned to church in
Emmitsburg; restored B. 8. to the
Ciborium; stopped at St. Joseph's
with Guy, paid a visit to the
Blessed Sacrament; saw Mrs. Brawner.
"12 o'c. Found at the college an
old German woman waiting for me; no
duty for ten years; sick and lame;
looked very poorly, came to know if
I would hear her; Sister Angela gave
her a dinner. To come again on
"1 ˝ o'c. Was called to see
Glacken above Emmitsburg ; went to
the church at Emmitsburg to get the
Blessed Sacrament; this is the fifth
time to-day that I have touched my
Sovereign Lord, "The king of glory,"
as M. Duhamel has it embroidered on
the inside door of the Tabernacle;
carried it to the sick; administered
the Sacrament of Extreme Unction ;
made a little address to those
present several Protestants.
" 4 o'c. Went to Mrs. Brawner's;
heard her confession ; recited my
office. Oh! the wonders of that
office of the Blessed Sacrament; and
am now writing down these notes; but
a thousand details, thoughts and
acts not told; how wonderful the day
of a priest ! In the evening.,
"Instructions for Confirmation."
On the same paper is written: "What
have I done today for the house?
Reviewed the second Latin class; had a
conversation before God with one of
the young men Latin lesson; reviewed
the third French class; Latin lesson
to Guy Elder; had a conversation with
another young man who came to consult
me; one with Mr. Hickey; one with the
two Gardiners; wrote a letter; the
Dialogue for Baltimore, six pages;
spiritual reading, the usual prayers.
"If all done well, what a blessing it
would bring, but, Oh! my Lord, so
poorly, by halves alas!"
letters of the students give an idea
of their life in those days. Mr.
Purcell to Mr. Egan (in Baltimore)
care Mr. Ed. Tiers (Purcell was still
studying at the Mountain, while Egan
had gone to finish in Baltimore.)
Mount St. Mary's Aug. 7th, 1823
dearest friend: 1 have just received
your kind note and I sit down to
answer by candle light [Candles were
the only lights then]. I foresaw my
detention at the Mount this vacation
spent it with Rev. Mr. Brute
visiting all the sick. Mr. Hickey,
Mr. Shanahan and myself had a
fifteen miles walk over the
Mountains today, with our Lord, to a
dying man family truly edifying . .
. I am to stay up till 10 or 11
o'clock to make out complicated
bills for A. & F. Fanlac. Non
erit requies this life's a
warfare. Your evenings domestic are
silent, I hope. Deloughery and
Hiltzelberger. other students of the
Mountain, tell us in their letters
that they are sick of Baltimore. Mr.
Hickey, Mr. Pise and myself planted
a flag on the highest tree on
Carrick's Knob yesterday. Et tu
super moniem lucebis. Don't be
troubled about the Prefectship. I've
had a time already and can again a
fortiori no one will refuse you . .
Mr. Dubois to Mr. Egan.
Mount St. Mary's Aug. 9th, 1823.
dearest child: . . You recollect
that from the advice of our good
friend Mr. Tiers, I determined to
have a three story gallery put in
the back of my new Seminary, facing
the Mountain. Those three galleries
must be supported by pillars or
columns. I wish the whole to be done
according to rule at first 1
had fixed upon columns of the Tuscan
order, as the plainest and neatest,
but when I began to consider the
diameter of those columns, I found
it would not do, at least I thought
so be so good as to request our good
friend Mr. Williamson to inquire of
the gentleman, architect, of whom he
was speaking to me when he was here
last what kind of columns or pillars
ought to be put to my piazza or
portico to be regular and neat. Each
of the lower storeys is twelve feet
high the highest only eleven feet
high but on account of the roof, the
pillars of this last cannot be
higher than nine and a half feet.
Now what must be the form, and
diameter of those pillars and
columns to be both suitable and
elegant? There must be of course but
a small entablature over these
columns since they are to support
simple galleries. From the books on
architecture it appears that if
regular columns are erected, being
twelve feet high—the diameter should
be twenty inches at the bottom,
which would be enormous if of the
Tuscan order. I wish not for show,
still I want everything to be neat
and regular. The expense will be the
same or nearly so why not follow the
rules if possible? As soon as
possible, try to get the answer and
write to me immediately for we are
ready to put on the roof and they
say we cannot do it, without having
first the pillars I must get the
trees procured, get them bored
through with a pump auger to prevent
the columns from splitting and
nothing can be done until I know the
thickness which those columns or
pillars ought to have. If some were
"sick of Baltimore," others were
somewhat "discontented" at the
Mountain, as the next letter shows.
'Tis the way of young men.
Rev. "Alphabet" Lynch to Mr. Egan,
Care Mr. Shanahan.
Mount St. Mary’s Aug. 17th,
Dearest friend: I have been daily
expecting to see you arriving at our
lonely Mountain; it is so lonely
indeed, since it has lost you and
our common friend Mr. Wiseman. I
mean it has lost you. not that you
do not intend to return (as some
have said) but because things do not
appear to go on well since you have
left us. We are now about to begin
studies: and it is decreed that Mr.
Schreiber is to be first Prefect,
Mr. Gildea the second and Mr. Ch.
Smith Prefect's Devil. We do not as
yet know our respective classes, but
Mr. Dubois has fixed them, and, as I
am informed, in a manner which will
be disagreeable to many of the
masters; and he says that he is
determined that none shall grumble
against his appointments. Now, dear
friend, I think this a very improper
time for our good Superior to use
violent and coercive measures; it
appears that several would not
require many incitements to abandon
him: Mr. Jamison is about to start
for the Seminary in Baltimore and
Mr. Schreiber. as I believe, may
probably soon follow him, as since
his return from Baltimore he appears
quite discontented; perhaps, if you
were here you might do considerable
good. As for my part, dearest
friend, I remember the conversation
which we had together not long ago
on the terrace, on the future . We
spoke then, we may act hereafter ...
In haste after night prayers, Your
most &c, J. A. G. A. S. C. lynch.
Clearly he deserved his sobriquet.
The expression "Prefect's Devil"
recalls the expression "Printer's
Devil," which like "Chapel,"
"Sanctum," and other terms of the
printers' craft came from the Abbey of
Westminster where the hospitable monks
welcomed Caxton with his printing
press in 1474.
Mount St. Mary's. Arp. 21st,
My dearest child: I hope you and
Mr. Wiseman will come with Mr.
Smith. You will prepare him for the
inconvenience of our lodging for
him. I expect you shall have to
lodge him in your room. If I can do
better I will. You can take either
the public stage in Baltimore or if
you have people enough to hire a
private hack so that it will not
cost more, you may do it. If Mr.
Curran (a seminarian) is with you
and can send what collection he has
made, so much the better.
Michael Egan was then probably at
home in Philadelphia. He, Wiseman and
others had been studying Philosophy
and Theology at St. Mary's Baltimore.
The following letter gives an inside
view of things scholastic and
governmental among the Seminarians.
Mr. Purcell to Mr. Egan.
Mount St. Mary’s Aug. 23rd,
Rev. and dearest friend: Our
endeared Father has given me an
opportunity of writing another
scroll to you. In his letter of the
20th he forgot to answer your
request about permission to consult
the doctors on your weak state of
health. He wishes me to tell you
that he has not the least objection,
provided the directions you receive
be of such a nature as to serve as a
general prescription, and to
supersede the necessity of
afterwards applying for medical
advice on the same complaint. He
therefore requests you in his turn
to be very particular in enquiring
about the regimen and exercise
necessary for a person in your
situation, that you may be enabled
to act accordingly on your return to
He was in Cathedra Penitentiae
when he told me all this, it was
before meditation had begun; the
church was almost dark: and he bid
me tell you that at such a solemn
and sacred moment he and I were
thinking of you!
Rev. Mr. Brute's trip to Be. has
given us time to think of resuming
the study of divinity. Tell my good
and amiable friend Kev. &c. Wiseman,
that Mr. Schreiber, Mr. O'Keilly,
and Mr. John Gildea are Prefects and
that they have turned me out of the
The letter you sent about
Poplars, Pillars, Joiners, Bishops,
Priests, and Sub deacons was read,
pleno concilio, on the
terrace the other morning. I had not
the satisfaction of being present at
the time, having gone to town after
three half runaways, but our dear
Father favored me with a particular
reading of it. You will have one or
two French classes this j-ear.
Goodbye, my dearest Egan, and
believe me to be, in every condition
of life, your warm and steady
friend. John Pueceli,.
Michael Egan was, it appears, of a
delicate constitution, and the event
showed it. The period allowed by the
Archbishop for teaching theology at
the Mountain had expired and Brute had
gone to Baltimore presumably to
consult about an extension.
Another of Mr. Basil Elder's
anecdotes comes apropos here:
"President Dubois reserved to himself
the exclusive right to punish with
corporal infliction, except in his
absence, in which case it devolved on
the first Prefect. In my experience I
can recall only half a dozen instances
of "flogging," as we termed it. One
of them I shall never forget, as I
happened to witness and hear it
through a half-closed window of the
portico. Pablo Farres, a
generous-spirited but proud Spaniard,
was reprimanded harshly in his Latin
class and his sharp reply angered his
teacher so that he was sent to the
prefect Jamison, who ordered him to
"'No, Mr. Jamison. I cannot, he
should apologize, he insulted me!
"Then I will have to flog you!" ' I
will not be flogged! " The Prefect
sent out and had several rods
brought in." 'Now, Pablo, either
apologize or take off your coat I "'
No, Sir, I owe no apology, I am
Hidalgo and cannot be flogged
"buttoning up his coat to the chin.
He resisted until one blow was
struck, then folding his arms and
hanging his head, he exclaimed, 'I am
"Pablo remained several years at
the College, returned to Venezuela and
finally located in Havana, where, some
years after I called to see him. And
now I come to the point I purposed to
illustrate by the foregoing gossip.
"Pablo was not in the office and a
negro was sent to show me to his room
(he was unmarried). He was out, so I
discharged the boy and took a seat as
I saw by the surroundings that this
was Pablo's cuarto! On one side of
the room hung a handsomely framed
large engraving of Mt. St. Mary's
College (from a drawing by the
accomplished Father Thos. R. Butler):
on the opposite side one of St.
Joseph's. In a few moments Pablo
entered. I cannot convey an idea of
the surprise and delight he evinced on
seeing me. He rushed into my arms and
hugged me ! After some chat I referred
to the two pictures and asked how he
felt towards the old Mountain. He
declared there was no spot on earth he
loved more dearly; and hoped some day
to revisit it.
"A somewhat similar greeting I met
from Jose Bargas. He was in a banking
house at Vera Cruz and had no
knowledge of my arrival until I was
shown into a room where he was engaged
in counting out coin. He sprang from
his seat, clasped me in his arms,
exclaiming: 'Don Basilio, amigo mio!
He had innumerable inquiries to make
about his ' dear old Mountain' and
Mountain companions. In fact I never
met a Mountaineer who did not love his
We have reason to rejoice in Mr.
Elder's love for the old College, for
his reminiscences have been of
incalculable assistance to us, giving
that tone of local coloring and
familiar knowledge to our pages which
tend to leaven the weariness of dull
statistics and detail of dates.
Chapter 11 | Chapter
Historical Society Note: In honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Grotto of Lourdes we'll be posting at least 2 new chapter every week.
Special thanks to John Miller for his efforts in scanning the book's contents and converting it into the web page you are now viewing.