The Story of the
Mary's College and Seminary
Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween
Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911
| Chapter Index
Chapter 19: 1829
Father Brute' has an extensive list
of Seminarians, etc., as follows:
- Seminary of Mt. St. Mary's, 22nd.
- Revd. M. McGerry, Prest.
American, Emmitsburg, Child of the
- Revd. M. Purcell. Vice pit.
Ireland. Child of the Mountain.
- Revd. M. Brute’, Professor.
- Revd. M. Xaupi. Professor,
France, of St. Sulpice, one of the
- Revd. M. Jamison, Professor,
American. Child of the Mountain.
- Revd. M. Wiseman, Professor,
American. Child of the Mountain.
Divines, nineteen, seventeen
present. Of the Baltimore diocese:
Messrs. Pelissier, subdeacon,
France; McCaffrey, Minors,
Emmitsburg; Hitzelberger, Minors,
Baltimore; Deloughery, Minors,
Baltimore; Parsons, tonsure,
Baltimore; Flaut, tonsure,
Emmitsburg. Of the Philadelphia
diocese: Messrs. Stillinger,
Chambersburg; Souriu, Philadelphia;
Gartland, Phila; Collins, Phila;
Thomas Butler, Phila; Duffy,
Of New York diocese: Dannengher,
Ireland; McCloskey, Amer. free;
Correy, Gegan, Bradley, McCool, all
from Ireland; Whelan, Baltimore,
after two years gone to Paris to
return hither. (The expression
"free" means no doubt that these had
not yet been adopted into a
Humanists: Obermeyer, Emmitsburg;
Quarter, Ireland; Correy, Ireland;
Aukenbaugh, Chambersburg; Riley,
Ireland; Donelly, Ireland; Murray,
Loretto, American; Gilmeyer,
Emmitsburg; Antony Hermange,
Baltimore; White, Ireland; Lawrence
Puzenet, Frederick; McAleer,
Chambersburg; Jerome Kelley,
Emmitsburg. Hopes declared
(aspirants?) all Americans:
Gardener, Maryland; Thorn.
McCaffrey, Emmitsburg; and twenty
others or more who wished themselves
to be presented as such to the Most
Rev. Archbishop last June nearly all
of his diocese.
Ordained Priests and gone: 1. Bev.
Cavanagh, Boston; 2. Quarter, New
York; 3. Curtin Philadelphia; 4.
Jamison, ordained Sept. 6, 1829
(remains here); 5. Gildea,
Martinsburg in Virginia.
Died: 1. Rev. M. Egan; 2. Rev. M.
Lynch, professor of mathematics; 3.
M. Taylor a divine; 4. J. M. Butler,
Gone: 1. Mr. Kelly a philosopher,
to the Jesuits of Georgetown. [This
is the first of the Mountaineers to
join the Society of Jesus.] 2. M.
Holahan, a philosopher to New York;
3. Mr. Dickehut, a divine to
Baltimore; Francis Hermange at
Baltimore Seminary, is also a former
child of Mt. St. Mary's.
Result: Present in the Seminary:
six priests, seventeen divines,
thirteen humanists, thirty in all.
Twenty Americans, eleven Irish, one
French. Paying scarcely three
teachers or prefects twenty-one.
Ordained priests in the year, five.
Died four, two priests and two
divines. Three gone, but to continue
their vocation. Pupils in the
College from one hundred and fifteen
to one hundred and twenty.
We add items about a fen-of the
lay-students. This year on March 24,
1829, died Thomas Sim Lee Horsey; he
was the eldest son of Outerbridge
Horsey, formerly Senator from
Delaware, and grandson of Thomas Sim
Lee, late Governor of Maryland. He was
18 years old, belonged to the Senior
Class, and his mother, brother and
sisters were with him to the end. The
students voted to wear crape on the
left arm for thirty days.
Of Thomas McCaffrey, John's
brother, we read: Thomas McCaffrey's
report for conduct, etc., 5th Latin: "
Talents very good. Memory the same.
Manners respectful and polite. Temper
mild." J. McCloskey (Cardinal),
The Most Rev. John
Baptist Purcell, D.D
Thomas became a priest as we shall
see and died a heroic death in 1853.
Brute' wrote to President McGerry, who
was still at the College, during Oct..
1829, from Baltimore where the former
was attending the First Provincial
Council as theologian to Bishop
England. We cull from his letters:
"Our dear and happy Mountain . . .
simple straight ways of personal duty.
Our Seminary is, as it always was, but
so particularly now all at the mercy
and only will of Divine Providence and
protection of the B. V. little to be
expected from men, and indeed this
has, I say, always been its happy
case; hence probably so much of
blessing. . . .
"Today Bishop England preached one
hour and fifty-five minutes, but one
flow of astonishing powers; matter,
logic, elocution, feelings, and
carrying along the mind and heart, I
hope, of his crowded auditory. What
Protestant could answer such a train
of argument ? I regret that you have
heard him not by far to such advantage
at the Mountain. He truly subjugates
all, and any blemish is forgotten in
the universal sense of such elevation
and superiority over the adversaries
he thus encounters. . . .
"There is still talk of restricting
the ecclesiastical development of 'our
own Mountain.' The Bishops generally
and their priests favor us.
"Monday 12. I met just in the
street Jerome Bonaparte, who stopped
his gig to speak the first to me,
remembering well his old stay at the
Mountain. He promised to call on me. I
have seen Mr. Kensey this morning with
Mr. Hughes and Mr. Pise. I have
conferred with M. Chatan about
Caroline Livers. He sees ' No need of
prescription (nor I)' . . . Exercise
and ' Ointment of opodeldoc' is
[Here speaks the physician. The
only time while at the Mountain that
Father Brute practiced his first
profession, that of medicine, was when
a boy had broken his arm and there was
no doctor near; he set it and set it
"After the grand dinner at the
Seminary:1. All the Bishops and the
priests from the talk here, (for of
the closed sittings of the Council
nothing is said) are for a principal
Seminary (to have elect students from
diocesan ones) just as Paris receives
principal students from all France;
and arrangements being made with St.
Sulpice, Theology being destined to
cease in two years at the Mountain and
only a petit seminaire to continue
with proper supply and means for the
carrying of the College as usual;
things would take that way their new
channel of ecclesiastical education in
the metropolis but I hear few details.
All the Bishops and the Archbishop
speak of going together to the
Mountain. I see nothing in the
eventual possible settlement to be
otherwise foreseen or prepared on our
side, but waiting in best order of
duty, and then all confidence in
Providence I perfectly trust that
keeping quiet and looking straight on
for duty, simplicity, humility, all,
all will still be well for Mount Saint
But later he has good news to
communicate : "This evening, St.
Theresa, 15 Providence, Providence,
good friends. Have hope! The Council
has decided this evening, and from
what I saw from the dinner, I did not
expect so good a result all remains in
status quo. The opposition of the
Bishops (to whom I have said nothing,
and nothing has been said in the
Council) has obliged all to be left in
status quo. I can tell you this, for I
have conscientiously asked Mgr. Flaget,
who said to me that I could certainly
say this to you. Therefore be at rest
concerning the Council. As for our
worthy Archbishop, remain also the
more quiet these next two years have
no other policy than the most faithful
and simple performance before God, and
you will see Providence will do all
for the best. Read this to the four
priests but however speak little of
it; this is a rule which I have
observed strictly and for the better I
will give you a full account. I have
written to you on the other page the
first, but behold the true, good page
Laus Deo! Auspice Maria!
"P. S. Friday 16. As I have told
you, we are exactly at the same point,
the Council having twice, and
yesterday evening the final
adjournment, refused to treat of such
matters as a Metropolitan and common
Seminary. But, I cannot repeat it too
often as I have already said-—since
you know the previous dispositions of
Mgr. the Archbishop keep quietly to
this simple and modest course with the
Seminary: 'All the present to duty,
all the future to Providence ! Duty
the most faithful and Providence the
most loving and all will go well. 'Diligentibus
Deurn omnia cooperantur in bonum.'
I will give you a more particular
account and hope that you will be
satisfied with your poor Brute’.
"P. S. 16. I will probably return
Tuesday next and probably some of the
Bishops by the stage. I did not hear
again of the Archbishop coming; I know
"Last post. Reopening this letter.
Just from visit to the Archbishop, all
very friendly, but not a word about
the Seminary. He thinks he cannot come
this time. Mr. Read wants to send his
sonbe sure however that I avoid any
puff and inviting. ..."
In October, 1829, after the close
of the Council came the Bishops of
Bardstown, of Cincinnati, of St. Louis
and of Boston, together with Rev. Mr.
F. P. Kenrick, theologian of the Bp.
of Bardstown. Addresses were made by
Bishops Flaget, Rosati and Fenwick of
Boston, as well as by Mr. John
McCaffrey of the Seminary, Father John
B. Purcell, Vice-President, and Father
McGerry, President of the College. The
Bishops stayed several days, and the
Bishop of Boston sang Pontifical Mass
on the Hill on Sunday, while Bishop
Flaget did the same at the Academy,
and addressed the Sisters to his and
their holy delight.
The same autumn a musical society
was started by Mr. Joseph Gegan. Dr.
Hermange came to live at the Mountain
in December of this year, and the
College obtained the Philosophic
apparatus, of which science the doctor
was professor, from Paris. Mr. Brute
taught the First Geography class for
sometime this year gave it to Dr.
President McGerry left the Mountain
about the latter part of November;
how, or why, and whether definitely or
otherwise, we know not, nor do we find
record of the induction of his
successor. He left to Mr. F. B.
Jamison a memorandum dated Dec. 2,
1829, of the state of affairs,
describing everything ..." William,
Maria and her child were accepted as
compensation for James Quinn, else
they would have been sold out of the
State. M. Parsons knows all the debts
and also all the money due us. I have
given you a full power of attorney . .
. The list of debts shows a total of
$26,500 ... I endorsed notes to the
amount of $1,400, but the principals
are all good. ..."There is evidence of
some misunderstanding between Father
McGerry and the others, but no
positive record of the cause or
circumstances of his resignation and
The following refers in a way to
Father McGerry's retirement, but there
is no record found of Father Purcell's
election to succeed him: Rev. J.
Hughes to Rev. J. Purcell.
Philadelphia, Dec. 21, 1829.
Rev. and dear Friend: ... I saw
our friend (Rev. M. McGerry) embark,
and in a few hours the canvas of his
ship seemed to mingle with the
distant clouds. His departure, which
excited a good deal of speculation
here, has entailed upon you a
responsibility which I trust you
will have the fortitude, as I know
you have the qualifications, to
sustain. Your situation is one of
great difficulty. Your institution
has certainly taken the lead of
every other Catholic establishment
in the country; but recent
circumstances are calculated to
excite in its friends a degree of
prospective solicitude. There is a
spirit of unusual vigor a species of
revival infused into the
Institutions of Baltimore and
Georgetown, which, unless by wise
management and renewed exertion,
Emmitsburg is destined to feel. Of
course there is patronage in the
country for them all, but whether or
not there will be reaction in favor
of those institutions at the expense
of yours will depend very much on
the united zeal, prudence and
exertion of you and your colleagues.
I have had frequent opportunities to
judge since I left there, and I do
not know anything so well calculated
to make the institution flourish at
home and popular abroad as to make
the boys happy, and the parents at
ease, by frequent and judicious
correspondence. In this poor Mr.
Egan was extremely felicitous and
Mr. McGerry extremely otherwise.
You have been kind enough in your
letter to say that you will receive
with consideration any remarks I may
deem proper in regard to the
institution; and if a constant
desire to see it prosperous could
establish a right, I might say that
I am entitled to the privilege. But
after all, human exertion and human
wisdom is in vain, unless that God
support it who has rendered the
administration of all your
predecessors happy and successful.
If there is anything which I might
suggest to you it would be this:
that being President "de nomine",
you should also be president de
facto; for I am afraid lest your
modesty or humility might induce you
to be guided by the judgment of
others, where it will be necessary
for you to follow the sober dictates
of your own. I think, also, that a
regular and unbending course of
discipline should be maintained
among the professors as well as
among the boys. I make this
observation because on my visit last
year it appeared to me that things
in that regard had very much
retrograded from the time I was
there. This I mentioned once to Mr.
McGerry, and whether it was so or
not you must know. ... It would
afford me great pleasure if you
would correspond with me whenever
you have time. Mr. Brute’, from
whose letters I derived comfort and
instruction, seems to have given me
up. Give my love to him and all.
If the future Archbishop of New
York, who was evidently out for a
missionary bishop and could never
understand the position of chief
executive in a constitutional
government, had read Brute's
communication to his young associates,
he would be aware that the "Angel of
the Mount" allowed no relaxation of
discipline to pass unnoticed.
"We understand," says "The Catholic
Press " of Hartford, Dec. 12, 1829, "a
Catholic College has been recently
established at St. Louis, Missouri ...
it will, we trust, like another Mount
St. Mary's . . . become the nursery of
Science, Virtue and Religion, supply
our churches with active and efficient
laborers in the vineyard and our
Republic with virtuous and scientific
There are no lists of premiums at
this period, but the bulletin books
were kept with great care and copies
sent to parents, who might thus know
exactly how their boys were doing.
Here is the record of the future
"J. McCloskey. 3d. English. Has
lately joined, can study if he will
good memory, good manners,
agreeable, disposition good. Latin
Grammar. Talents and application
good very attentive disposition
excellent. Manners everything
desirable; 5th. French. Joined a few
days ago given specimen of excellent
judgment. Writing application and
conduct satisfactory; 3rd. Arith.
Succeeds very well.
Chapter Index | Chapter 20
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