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The Story of the Mountain
Mount Saint Mary's College and Seminary

Mary E. Meline & Edward F.X. McSween

Published by the Emmitsburg Chronicle, 1911

Chapter 74 | Chapter Index

Chapter 75: 1903-1905

Our genial neighbors, the Jesuits, with whom our relations had been so intimate and friendly for nigh a century, left the Jesuit Novitiate January 15, on a special train which took them to their new quarters near Poughkeepsie, N. Y., and thus was closed a very beautiful chapter in our history. The Novitiate had opened at Frederick, February 22, 1831, but the Jesuit priests were there long before that period.

Rev. Walter Elliott, of Father Hecker's congregation, the Paulists, called to see us one fine May day, with several young priests who were training at the Apostolic School, Washington, He was happy at visiting a place sacred to him, where Fathers Hecker, Hewitt, Walworth and other departed members of his order had given one of their earliest "missions." He himself, once a soldier in the Union army, was now drilling clergymen to fulfill the various duties of their apostolic ministry in respect not only to those within the fold but likewise to those without, so that the Gospel might be preached to every creature and all brought under one shepherd.

June 17. Commencement was held today in the new gymnasium just completed. Dr. Robert Marmion, M. D., '61, addressing the graduates, bade them not to fear that the professions were too crowded. " Out of 155 who with myself took the degree of M. D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1868, less than one-fourth ever practised medicine. There is always room and even demand for men of brains as leaders. . . ."

Cardinal Gibbons was so pleased with the new gymnasium in which the exercises were held that having spoken for twenty-five minutes, he declared, as did all who heard him, that the acoustics were perfect, though no regard had been had to this in designing the building.

At the election today the same officers were chosen and a vote of congratulation was extended to Father O'Hara for the material improvements brought about under his administration, the renovated seminary, the gymnasium, athletic field, baths, etc. With his name in the vote were associated those of ex-President Alien and Father Bradley.

In April the College received from the estate of Henry T. Coleman, '44, five thousand dollars in memory of his sons, Henry and William, who had received in 1882 the degrees of LL. B. and A. M., respectively.

Rev. Maurice M. Hassett, Sem.-95, became a professor at the Catholic University, Washington.

On Laetare Sunday Charles Jerome Bonaparte, LL.D. '82, son of Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, ex-'21, a nephew of Napoleon the First, received the Laetare Medal bestowed annually by Notre Dame University on a Catholic layman or woman. Notice has been taken of his father's career while a student at the Mountain.

On occasion of the 250th anniversary of the incorporation of New York city, a song, "Right Makes Might," by John Jerome Rooney, '84, was sung in every public school of the metropolis. The author was president of the Catholic Club in that city, and has been already mentioned in this history.

The Cardinal inquired what were the relations between the College and the University at Washington, saying that the Pope would like them to be intimate. It developed we had given three professors to the institution, as well as several students.

This year's barbecue, was notable for the opening (October 18) of the new gymnasium, swimming pool and all. The joy of the students must be left to the reader's fancy, and cannot be exaggerated, while the visiting alumni present at their annual reunion showed great enthusiasm.

Scarcity of labor made it necessary this year for the first time to procure laundry machinery. The facility afforded by railroads for going to the cities where wages were higher, and the increasing knowledge of the attractions of city life caused by the newspapers, etc. which were now brought daily to everyone's door by the new rural free delivery, more and more induced the young people when of age to abandon the farm life, and their place was taken by machinery. This of course saddened the pastor who saw his congregation diminish and rendered the neighborhood less and less attractive, at least to the moralist, the scholar and the poet.

Rev. William J. Hill '72, LL.D. ex-president, died this year. M. J. Roehe '76, writing to the Mountaineer, says of him:

"I knew Father Hill as seminarian and priest, I knew him as professor and confessor, but I knew him best as friend God rest his soul! I do not believe a truer man breathed. I used to think him one of those men God put upon this earth just to show what kind of a man He could make. . ."

Abp. Diomede Falconio, 0. F. M., Apostolic Delegate, visited us on St. Joseph's day and addressed the students. This, the third Papal delegate to the United States, was a citizen of the Republic and had been president of the college at Alleghany, N. Y.

In April, Father Edwin Drury, of Kentucky, missionary to non-Catholics, visited us and addressed the students. Such missionaries and missionary bands were now found in many dioceses, and Mountaineer priests were also amongst them. The Apostolic School at Washington had for its primary object to train such men.

A friend proposed that, conjointly with himself, the College buy Clairvaux, near the site of the Elder house, where Father Dubois's boys lodged before the first log house was built near the Greenbriar Spring. Clairvaux had been once our property. It was sad to see how the estates in the neighborhood changed hands and made the religious and social complexion of the locality gradually to change and the life described in former chapters of this history to be extinguished. However, our financial condition did not permit the purchase.

At the annual election 1904, Rev. Dennis J. Flynn was chosen Vice-President and also treasurer. He began his administration of the latter office by bringing down from the hill the beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin and setting it upon the lawn in front of the gymnasium, where it faces a corresponding figure of St. Joseph, donated by Rev. Thomas L. Kelly, '79.

On October 9 a party came in an automobile run by gasoline in an hour and a quarter from Frederick, twenty-one miles. This was considered speedy. What a change from the time sixty years since, when there was not even a telegraph, and when the stage took half a day to make the journey!

We had a delightful visit this month from Louis A. Huergo, C. E., ex-'60, of Buenos Aires, who had come north to the St. Louis Exposition. He rambled all over the home of his boyhood, and making a handsome donation said in parting: "My heart is shaken." Viva el Viejo Cristiano f

Thirty-three were at the alumni reunion during the barbecue. The remoteness of the College, the long absence from business made necessary and the chance of bad weather kept many away from those meetings.

Dr. James C. Monaghan, of the Bureau of Commerce and Labor, former Consul at Mannheim, lectured for us very acceptably indeed. He was a source of honest pride to the Catholics of the United States.

The following day, the Vigil of All Saints', Abp. Elder, '37, died at Cincinnati in his 86th year. He, with Bishop Alien, '78, and a member of the Faculty had attended the Eucharistic Congress in New York this very month. The Archbishop was a hard worker to the end, staying at least five hours daily at his desk. He said not long before his death: "I have never felt better in all my life. In fact, I feel so well and strong that I could start my life over again." He inherited a good constitution, as his father had lived to be 96.

One of his last remarks to those surrounding his sick-bed, a day before his death, while in semi-delirium, was, "I'm going back to Maryland." The following beautiful verses, based on this pathetic incident, appeared in the Cincinnati Post, November 8.

"I'm going back to Maryland, my Maryland, my own," Softly breathed the dying prelate ere the spark of life had flown. While thoughts of heavenly glory flitted through his wearied brain, The scenes of happy childhood called him back to earth again.

"I'm going back to Maryland, my Maryland, my own," Where nature rules in splendor, like a monarch on his throne. To roam again the pleasant lanes and dream beside the brook, And nestle ' neath the leafy bowers that sheltered many a nook.

"I'm going back to Maryland, my Maryland, my own." To live again those happy days when care was all unknown, To meet once more those cherished ones where fondest love had grown There's nothing nearer heaven than the love we bear our own.

'"Twas far away in Maryland the Master's voice had called; With firm step and faithful heart, nor at the task appalled, Went forth the youth with gleaming eye, his joy ah, who could tell, To gather sheep unto the fold 'My Maryland, farewell!'."

Within the vineyard where he toiled the fruitful seed was sown; With loving care he nurtured it until its beauty shone Above the fairest flowerets that bless this lowly vale; Besides its royal beauty all earthly glories pale.

Oh, Maryland! Oh, Maryland! His strong heart yearned for thee! While angels hovered round his form to bear his spirit free Unto the realms of endless bliss, unto eternal joy, Unto the glory of the just, where love has no alloy.

Be mindful of our sorrow, our father and our friend, Within the courts of heaven, where celestial voices blend, That we who love thee dearly may all united be, And there behold His glory for all eternity.

Anne M. Murphy.

In a previous chapter we inserted a notice of one of the Archbishop's contemporaries and life-long acquaintances and friends, William (known as ' Bill') Richardson, who soon followed his reverend friend to Heaven. Richardson was buried from the parish church at Mt. St. Mary's. Fathers Bradley and McSweeny, of the College Faculty, with Rev. Messrs. Brady, Bratton and Field of the seminary, officiated at the Solemn High Mass of Requiem.

His aged consort Anne did not stay long behind him. She died a month after at her daughter's home in McKeesport, Pa. Like her deceased husband she had passed the ninetieth milestone. In days " before the war" both were slaves of Mount St. Mary's College and this woman achieved an exploit that recalls Jacob's union with Rachel. The Patriarch worked twice seven years for his wife, but it must have taken Anne twenty-one years or more to earn the money with which she bought her husband's freedom. May their souls rest in peace!"

A reverend member of the Faculty placed a number of busts in the Library.

On July 11, 1904, died at Birmingham, Joseph Augustus Blount ex-'88 of Alabama, a typical southern gentleman, a noble Catholic leader, a lawyer and a business man. He had become a Catholic at the College and on leaving it went home and brought his mother into the fold. The death of this gentleman was looked upon as a public loss.

Another alumnus died this fall, Major Henry Seton U. S. A. a grandson of Mother Seton ex-'55. He had been in the Austrian army but came home at the outbreak of the Civil War and served his country ever after. His sons, one John a corporal in the army, the other William a physician, both under thirty, died before him, and the Setons of Parbroath became extinct. These young men also were alumni.

This summer the corner-stone of the church built at Frederick near the close of the 18th century by Father Dubois, was dug up in that town, where it is now to be seen lying against the wall of the present edifice.

Rev. Peter Walsh of Boston, who had first introduced Rugby football, gave this year four medals for Athletics, and William F. Nagle of the same town sent a "tackling dummy" for football practice.

On Father Mathew's birthday October 10, Chief Justice McSherry ex-'61, of the Maryland Supreme Court spoke at the meeting of the Total Abstinence Society, and on November 23, Rev. Alexander Doyle C. S. P., lectured to the students on the Missionary Life. He was rector of the Apostolic Schools, Washington, D. C.

December 28, 1904 died V. Rev. Thomas C. Moore '63, D. D., Administrator of Leavenworth, Kansas, a master of familiar style and author of many papers in the College journal.

A writer in the Mountaineer speaks of the College chapel. This building transformed in 1834 from the original Spring House, afterward the wash-house and then the dairy, is a small L-shaped structure behind the College with an old-fashioned shingled pitched roof. The rough stone of which the building is composed is concealed beneath a thick coating of plaster, upon which the clinging ivy thrives and bids defiance to the wintry blasts. A stream from the Greenbriar Spring runs beneath and keeps it always more than becomingly damp, while a small belfry stands close by, a silent sentinel, and a large willow tree spreads its protecting branches overhead, affording useful shade, and adding greatly to the beauty of the scene.

The interior is poor indeed, though a fine "Annunciation" which serves for the altar-piece and the Spanish crucifix from the Old Church on the Hill are striking and valuable ornaments. This venerable sanctuary is twice as large now as it was before 1895, when it verily resembled, even in its dimensions, the little House of Loretto, but the aged alumnus who returns to his alma mater after long years of absence will recognize it still. And how does the little chapel bring back many sweet memories of happy college days! As he kneels at the foot of the time-worn crucifix, while the gathering shades of evening enshroud the whole interior save the tabernacle, which is dimly lighted by the glow of the sanctuary lamp, his heart is filled with a holy peace. Breathing a silent prayer for the souls of his departed schoolmates, he slowly, lovingly, retires, saying within himself:

You may boast of your cathedrals And basilicas so grand, With their lovely cross-crowned steeples Rising high above the land; But all the world over There is none so dear to me As our humble college chapel 'Neath the weeping willow tree.

See how another adorer expresses his feelings:

A Visit.

Mien shade and sunbeam sweetly blend To form the twilight hour, And prayers as incense sweet ascend To Love's celestial bower, I love to linger at the shrine Where Christ himself doth dwell My heartstrings there with His to twine, My sorrows there to tell.

The many-colored floods of light That through the windows stream; The lamp that sheds through day and night Its faint but faithful beam; The snowy altar whereupon Are .Nature's blooms most fair; All fade as mists before the dawn My soul is rapt in prayer.

It looks upon that bleeding Heart A subject of love's thrall Transpierced by sin's most cruel dart, Yet calling, loving all; It looks upon that thorn-crowned Head And on those hands and feet That on the Cross of Calvary bled Ah ! blissful sweet retreat.

John C. Connolly, '94.

We select a kindred little piece from the Mountaineer of 1873.

On the Chapel.

'Neath the drooping willow branches, Ivy creeping o'er its walls, Ear-enchanting, ever plashing,dose beside a fountain falls. Song-birds near its confines hover: When the sun at early dawn, Glinting mellow beams of glory, Softly paints woodland and lawn.

Tiny voices from their cover Mingle in one sweet refrain, Hearts with melody are swelling Throats in soul-inspiring strain; Gushing rippling notes they mingle With the cherubs, who within Chant, in happy jubilation, Praise to Him who died for men.

O! the bliss of here adoring, Where the soul in peace may dwell, Far removed from worldly tempest In this peaceful, blissful dell, Where the blessed Redeemer dwelling Meets us with His heart of love, And the offerings of our homage Bear to the Triune above.

William Seton, 3rd, of Parbroath 1905

Dr. William Seton 3rd, ex-'55, eldest grandson of Mother Seton died March 15, 1905, and was buried on the hill with his father, his wife and child, and other relatives. The College gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1890. He wrote works on physical science as well as sociological and historical essays and some romances of American history. Like his brother Henry he carried a sword in the War of 1861, fighting for the Union. Two of his sisters, one a member of the Order of Mercy, the other unmarried and resident at Huntingdon, N. Y., came to the funeral which was conducted with all the circumstances prescribed by the rubrics and sanctioned by custom. As he had held a captaincy of volunteers the flag covered his coffin.

On his' death-bed he dedicated his last book to his alma mater and perpetuated his annual prize by the following clause in his will:

"I give and bequeath to the President and Council of Mount St. Mary's College in Maryland the sum of five hundred ($500) dollars and request them to invest the same at their discretion, and to pay over the annual interest arising there from as a prize to the student of said college who shall pass the best annual written examination in geology and mineralogy. This bequest however being upon condition that the Seton plat in the cemetery near the said College be always kept in good order."

March 25, the day of the Landing of the Pilgrims in 1634, became this year a legal holiday in Maryland, and was celebrated with patriotic addresses recitations, etc. The College had long ceased commemorating this glorious Catholic event, and it was only now that the Land of Sanctuary awoke from that lethargy so sadly in contrast with the aggressive enthusiasm with which the people of Massachusetts every year blow the trumpet and drain the bowl in honor of their intolerant forefathers. May the memory of our Maryland Pilgrims never die!

In "Donohoe's Magazine" for April Alfred V. S. Watterson LL. D., President of the Alumni Association, always noted for his love of alma mater, published an article on " The Centennial of an Historic Church " (the Old Church on the Hill). It was received with such favor that the magazine, for the first time in its history, issued a second edition.

In May, at the rooms of the Catholic club, New York, the "New York Alumni Association of Mount St. Mary's College " was organized. Hon. Edward J. Dunphy, '76, was elected president; Mgr. John F. Kearney, '63, and John Lafarge, '53, vice-presidents; James W. Prendergast, '95, secretary, and Hon. James W. McLoughlin, ex-'78, treasurer.

The Catholic University notified us that a scholarship was open to competition exempting the holder from the one hundred dollars tuition fee in the school of philosophy and technology and seventy-five dollars similarly in the school of law. A reverend member of the Faculty offered two thousand dollars for five years without interest for the equipment of a laboratory of natural science, and another reverend member offered six hundred dollars to replace the oratory of the Grotto with a stone edifice. Both gifts were accepted and the intended objects carried out.

At the Commencement held June 15, Cardinal Gibbons and Governor Warfield, of Maryland, made addresses, Bishop Alien, '78, Monsignor Byrne, '59, of Boston, and Chief Justice McSherry, ex-'61, being among those present.

Right Rev. Mgr. Dennis J. Flynn, L.L. D. 15th President

Among the degrees conferred was the doctorate on Charles W. Swisher of George Washington University, who had written on the "Religious Orders in Mexico." It was announced that a new laboratory of physics and chemistry would be opened in the fall. The celebration was very brilliant and enthusiastic, the presence of the Governor, the first one in our history to visit us, making the day a notable one. At the banquet following Governor Warfield aroused great applause and accepted honorary membership in the alumni association, but supreme satisfaction was expressed when Bishop Alien announced that Messrs. Alfred Watterson, '75, Richard M. Reilly, LL.D., '80, Chief Justice James F. McSherry, ex-'61, John Cogan, M. A., '80, Francis Guilfoile, M. A., '95, and Edward Dunphy, LL.D., '76, had been appointed the first members of the Lay Advisory Board. This action had been taken at the annual election held today, in which also Rev. Dennis J. Flynn, LL.D., '80, was chosen President; Father Bradley Vice-President, and also treasurer; Father McSweeny secretary; and the President was authorized to act as prefect of studies. The retiring President was formally thanked for his acts, special mention being made of the gift by an anonymous benefactor of twenty-seven thousand dollars, as well as the reconstruction of Dubois Hall, the building of the gymnasium, the athletic field, etc., which had marked his administration. He was accorded vacation for one year, his salary as President to run on for that period, with the title of President emeritus.

The Baltimore Sun of June 15, 1905 thus refers to the Very Rev. William L. O'Hara LL.D.:

"Dr. O'Hara, who retires from the presidency, has filled that office with distinguished ability for the past eight years, succeeding Rt. Rev. Edward P. Alien, now Bishop of Mobile. Dr. O'Hara is a native of Brooklyn, N. Y. where he received his early education in private schools. Entering Mount St. Mary's College, he pursued his classical studies there, graduating in 1883. He then entered the theological department connected with the college and was ordained priest in April, 1887. After laboring for 18 months on the missions in the Diocese of Brooklyn, he accepted the invitation of the council of Mount St. Mary's College and became a member of its faculty. He taught philosophy and Latin and filled the offices of treasurer and vice president for several years, and in 1897 was elected president. During his administration the college campus was extended and a new athletic field and a large gymnasium were provided. Other buildings were also enlarged and modern sanitary conveniences introduced."

Of the new president it speaks thus: "V. Rev. Dr. Flynn is a native of Louisville, Kentucky. He was educated at Mount St. Mary's, having been graduated in 1880. He then studied theology in the same institution and in 1883 was ordained priest by the late Bishop Becker. Dr. Flynn served on the missions in the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., his last charge in that diocese being the pastorate of St. Patrick's Church, Wilmington. Six years ago he was elected a member of the faculty of Mount St. Mary's and filled successively the chairs of Latin, Greek and Moral Theology. Last year he was elected vice-president and treasurer."

In September the long tables were removed and arrangements made for the great increase in the number of students.

Basket ball was introduced in the gymnasium this fall. Indeed this building proved of immense value in promoting the comfort of the students who instead of hanging around like Irving's barnyard fowl on a wet day, could now enjoy themselves to the full, and relieve the anxious minds of those in charge of discipline.

The annual retreat of the seminarians was held as usual the last week of the long vacation, but that of the boys followed also as usual the barbecue in October. It was commonly given by a priest who had experience in colleges, and this year was by a graduate of '71, who seemed to live over again his boyhood days and to enjoy the brief retirement on the Mountain as much as the boys themselves, who took to him at once as one perfectly acquainted with their manner of life, its troubles and temptations, and who not only entered with all their souls into the practical spiritual work, but in the intervals indulged in their accustomed sports with all the more delight for knowing that five days of freedom from study accompanied the spiritual exercises.

The new President, who while procurator had shown taste as well as enterprise in decorating the grounds, at once started out on the grandest scale and proposed building for the Centenary a chapel suitable for the needs of all the students and of a size and grandeur corresponding to the anticipated future of the College. The Council on September 16 confirmed the project, but decided to build first a new and distinct edifice for the seminarians. We also began renting private rooms to the boys, something that all the American educational institutions were now doing. This last innovation took effect on October 5, and the score of available apartments were at once taken; while after the transfer of the seminarians to their new building, all rooms in Dubois Hall were immediately rented, thus adding to means required for further development. The private-room plan had been tried on a limited scale in 1883, but was soon abandoned.

October 14. The directors of the turnpike dined with us, about a dozen farmers and merchants from the county. It was an old-fashioned gathering of friends and neighbors and no doubt did us and them much good, Colonel Rouzer, of Thurmont, made a speech on part of the visitors, which savored of the locality and seemed to express the sentiments of his associates. The President replied in corresponding form.

On October 19 was celebrated at the parish church the centenary of the starting of the Old Church on the Hill. The Pope sent his blessing, Cardinal Gibbons presided and addressed the assemblage, Bishop Alien singing the Mass. It was an extremely interesting and hearty celebration, some in the congregation being descendants of those who in 1805 helped Father Dubois to chop down the trees on the Hill.

This is our last mention of the Old Church on the Hill to which the preacher thus referred in his peroration:

In 1895 the parish separated from the college, began an independent career and two years later this pretty church was opened by the zealous Father John Manley remember him for it, O Lord! who had bought this most lovely site and taught the congregation how easily they could maintain their pastor, their church, and their school, and how much pleasanter it is after all to see their own boys in the sanctuary and hear their own children's voices in the choir. But though the College is no longer responsible for the parish, it does and always will cherish and help it, for the College and the parish are twins, the children of Dubois and Brute1, the wards of their successors.

After the opening of this structure mass was said occasionally in the Old Church on the Hill, especially on the summer feasts of Our Lady. I recall with what delight Bishop Chatard, who was staying with us for a while, some years ago, heard that there was to be mass up there and how he assisted thereat with a joy and devotion that can be imagined only by those who, like him, said their prayers in childhood before that venerable altar. We were obliged to forego this holy pleasure, however, for the ravages of time in the ancient sanctuary made it dangerous to celebrate there any more and its doors were closed, perhaps forever.

But though it must soon disappear from the landscape, the heart-strings of its lovers will cling around every beam and every stone. We toiled up that hill too often, Dear Bishop, at half-past six in the morning, winter and summer; we ministered too long in the rude confessional, at the altar and in the pulpit and at the baptismal font, ever to forget or to cease to love the old Church. Every one knows how Mountaineers, especially seminarians, love the College. It is because, like Jacob for Rachel, they worked seven or fourteen or more years, before graduation or ordination, gave them the right to call it their own. So we of the former time love the old Church.

Can any one that has been present ever forget the night prayers, the meditation and the Stabat Mater in Holy Week ? Whose heart did not exult at the strains of Dr. Dielman's "Glory to God" at the five-o'clock mass of a Christmas morning? Who did not feel his heart burn within him at the charm of the Corpus Christi precession, when our beloved Savior was borne through the forest lane up to our sweet grotto? Who has not felt nearer to God when, on All Souls' day, we visited the sleeping-place of the departed, or reverently assisted at the putting away of one of our associates among the fathers and the mothers of the hamlet, beside the professors and students who had gone before?

Indeed we cannot forget you, O venerable Mountain Church, house of mercy, home of grace, tabernacle of God, dwelling place of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament. Sad will be the inevitable day and may it be a distant one, when your consecrated walls will yield to the common fate! But you will rise again. "Benignefac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion, ut aedificenturmuri Jerusalem." With a new beautiful and glorious body you will rise like the bird of fable from your ruins, the same spirit still animating the structure, and your children and their children will come from Plymouth Rock, from the Golden Gate, from the St. Lawrence and from the Apalachicola, to rejoice in your resurrection, to renew the fervor of their youth within your gates, while strangers from distant lands shall hear still more of your history and shall come as pilgrims to see and to pray at one of the spots made holy by the lives and by the deaths of some of the early apostles of faith and charity in the Church in America. . . .

One of the most interesting events of this year was the publication in the New York Times supplement, January 13,1905, of John Jerome Rooney's sketch of George H. Miles '43, under the title "A Neglected Poet." It was an answer to a query in the London Times: " Who wrote ' Said the Rose?' " Nearly all the Mountaineers are acquainted more or less with the work of the "Sweet Maryland Singer."

Chapter 76 | Chapter Index

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.