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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 75 | Chapter Index

Chapter 76: 1906-1907

Right Rev. William G. McCloskey, D. D. Bishop of Louisville, Ky.

In January, 1906 Rev. Dr. O'Hara resigned all connection with the College and, resuming parish work, took charge of Sea Cliff, N. Y. on his native island, his friends hoping that the change would build him up again after his long scholastic labors.

This same month Rev. John Talbot Smith, LL.D. '95, who had for years exerted himself to build up the Champlain summer school, became its president. He was distinguished as a historian, a critic, and an editor, as well as a novelist and dramatist.

At the semi-annual this January, oral examination was done away with and written substituted. This was a new departure as far as the records of the house show. In the discussion of the question it was admitted that the oral is useful as a training in expression, and to make the Faculty acquainted with the pupils, but the written is a fairer test and can be made more thorough.

The second week of July a meeting of the Catholic Educational Association was held at Cleveland O., several members of our Faculty participating.

Judge N. Charles Burke, ex-'77 (LL.D., '96), was promoted this year to the Supreme bench of Maryland.; Rev. James G. Burke, '01, entered the Faculty September 13.

Rev. John O'Rourke, '02, who had finished his studies in Portugal, was appointed to a Portuguese congregation in Providence, R. I. The bishops at this period used to send selected clerical students to most of the countries whence emigrants were arriving, in order that they might learn the language, traditions and customs of these.

The Emmitsburg Chronicle took a great step forward this year under new management, and in its issue of October 13th contains a detailed account of the corner-stone laying of the new seminary, which took place on Monday, October 8, the building having already reached the water-table of the first story. A procession of students, seminarians, priests and bishop set out from McCaffrey Hall at 2 p. m. and moved to the new building, the nearest wall, which is six hundred feet south of Dubois Hall, to which it corresponds in site and material.

The usual coins, newspapers, etc., were placed in the stone, together with a catalogue for 1906, and a parchment inscribed as follows:

D. O. M.

VIII Id. Octobr. A. S. MCMVI, Pio Decimo P. M ; Jacobo S. E. E. Card. Gibbons Archiep. Baltirnorensi; Theodore Roosevelt Statuum Foederatorum Praeside: Edvino Warfield Marylandiae Gubernatore; hie primus lapis hujus novi Seminarii Sanctae Mariae ad Monies positus est a Emo. D. Alfredo Curtis Episcopo Echinensi, Vicario Gen. Baltimoren. sacerdotum circumdato corona, adstanlibus rnoderaloribus et magistris. Admodum Bev. Dionysio J. Flynn Leguni Doctore Dioecesis Wilmingtonen. in Delaware presbytero conlegii praeside; Eev. Bernardo J. Bradley, Artium Magistro, Dioecesis Brooklynien. in New York, Conlegii Pro-praeside, thesaurario et hujus operis curatore, cum discipulis turn ecclesiasticis turn laicis, necnon sacris virginibus S. Francisci rei domesticae curam habentibus. et turba fidelium. Architectus autem fuit Franciscus Baldwin Baltimorensis, collegii nostri alumnus ; caementarius Michael Hen-rici Filius Lingg ; tignarius Joannes Hoke, ferroplumbarius Thomas Hays, omnes de districtu Emmitsbergensi.

Jsomina etiam praepositorum. professorum alumnorumque et studiorum ratio in libello typis impresso_hic inveniuntur. Laudetur Jesus Christus Verus Deus et Verus Homo: Ipse summus angularis lapis.

Monsignor Byrne, ex-President, paid us a visit in November and amused himself, as usual, when out for recreation, with teaching Greek and playing chess.

Rt. Rev. William George McCloskey, ex-'48, Bishop of Louisville, Ky., in a pastoral letter dated November 15, 1906, and commanded to be read at all Masses in the diocese on the Sunday following, orders a collection for the Catholic University of Washington. Referring to its trials, he recalls those of Mt. St. Mary's and would have all take courage from the endurance and success of the latter institution. He says:

. . . John Dubois was to open for students the superb stone building which he had erected as a seat for learning at the foot of the Blue Ridge, and the night before saw the work of years go down, a heap of ashes before his eyes. But did he falter in his work? By no means. Quietly making the sign of the cross as the fierce flames were steadily doing their fatal work, he pointed out defects which he said would be remedied in the next building. That's the stuff heroes are made of. They do all they can, so far as human means go, but their real trust is in Him in Whom they can do all things. Had he despaired of further success, what is today one of the most famous institutions of the country would never have existed. But the heroic priest of God did not know what in God's works failure was. Mt. St. Mary's of Maryland, the "Old Mountain," as her sons love to call her, rose phoenix-like from her ashes and counts the bishops and priests that have gone out from her by the hundreds; and as long as church history will be read the names of such men as Purcell, and Hughes, and McCloskey, our first Cardinal, and Elder, and Loughlin, and MacFarland, and Conroy, and Whelan, and Gartland, and Quinlan, and Gilmour, and Fitzgerald, and Watterson, and Alien, and a host of others who have gone forth to do their work in simplicity and poverty, will shine as a memory to those who come after them to go do likewise. And who shall tell of the deeds of that noble band of holy priests of the "Old Mountain," who spread themselves to gather the rich harvest of souls that are waiting for them; whose good deeds are known to God and His angels, whose memory is a benediction? We do but allude to these instances that you may see how great undertakings prosper when they are entrusted to those who are thoroughly in earnest, devoted to their task, and when God is at the helm. So, too, it is with our Catholic University, which is destined to a far more widespread field of church work than even grand old Mt. St. Mary's, which, too, has had its ups and downs, but has come victoriously out of them, putting forth new strength, going forth conquering and to conquer, to win souls for Christ.

November 14, 1906. This evening George Gregory O'Dwyer of New York, a blind man, lectured on "Mental Concentration as illustrated by the Education of the Blind, etc.," and gave a brilliant musical exhibition, piano and whistling. It was a highly intellectual and artistic treat for the Faculty and students.

The alumni banquet took place to-night at Hotel Astor, New York. The President and Vice-President attended it.

The day before Thanksgiving masons were at work on the new seminary, and it being a day of recreation many seminarians indulged in the "herculean amusements " of Father Brute and his seminarian-companions of the past, and broke and gathered and rolled stone. Father Bradley having provided them with gloves, which however soon gave away under the rough usage.

On Thanksgiving Night the boys entertained the seminarians and themselves with speechifying in the bright moonlight on the terrace, instead of the traditional "play-room exercises."

Our oldest alumnus died February 17, 1906, Alphonse Van Schalckwyck des Courcelles, ex-'27. An interesting summary of the family history and of that of Alphonse may be found in the Mountaineer of October 1904, and another in the Pittsburgh Catholic of March 29 and April 5, 1906.

Passing from the centenarian to the child of yesterday we select from The Mountaineer of the month that saw the death of our oldest, this sonnet addressed to our newest alumnus.

TO F. D. B.

How vividly I recollect that glow Of mingled fear and trust, which overspread Thy childish face when first thy steps were led Into our midst, where thou shall virtuous grow? What caused thy fear, I know not; but I know Thy trust was wisely placed, for all who read Thy appealing call for sympathy and fed Their eyes upon thy innocence, will show That high regard for purity and truth Yet dwells within their heart; and they will love Thee for awaking thoughts of days when sin Was far away; and last, they'll guard thy youth, That, kept from harm and grown to man's estate, Thou mayst show them what they might have been.

Rev. P. L. Duffy '75, LL.D. lectured in January before the Chrestomathian Society of Charleston College, being the first priest to lecture in that institution.

The alumni of Philadelphia formed a local association this spring with Hugh Gilbert Cassidy '86 as president, and held a banquet, while those of Pittsburg held a similar meeting, A. V. D. Watterson, president of Mt. St. Mary's Alumni Association, being chairman, the object of each being to "get together " and help the College at the approaching centenary.

April 14, Bp. Northrop '59 consecrated the new Cathedral of Charleston, the Apostolic Delegate officiating and Cardinal Gibbons pontificating. Rev. Joseph Budds '96 was Rector of the Church and many Mountaineers were present.

At a meeting of tie Archbishops this month it was proposed that owing to the great and increasing numbers of Catholic young men attending non-Catholic universities, special means the taken to provide for their religious needs. A bishop in whose diocese existed one of the large universities submitted his plan for opening a college there for the Catholic students, but the project did not meet with favor, although the like had been done at Oxford for young men and this year was allowed by Rome for young women also.

This same month saw the introduction of electric light on the terraces and in the grove and garden. The effect the first night was very weird, for the grounds were wet after a heavy rain, and a kind of Venetian coloring was produced by the lights reflected in the water.

The three days before Commencement, or "exi," as the boys call it, were of free and absolute enjoyment, examinations being over. On Saturday afternoon books were put away for vacation ; on Sunday the baccalaureate sermon was preached. Here one is reminded of "Babies' Sunday," as this day was called, and here is how the name originated: The students of other days derived great entertainment from the fact that on the Sunday preceding Commencement Dr. McCaffrey always delivered the baccalaureate sermon and invariably warned the congregation, all of whom he invited to attend the closing exercises, to "leave the babies at home." The boys understood and appreciated this part of the sermon and called the day Babies' Sunday.

On Monday of Commencement week a clearing was made and a cross erected on the site of Father Dubois' first cabin on the hill, afterwards long known as Father Duhamel's House, and which was also honored by being occupied from June 21 to July 31, 1809, by Mother Seton and her first associates. It stood halfway up toward the Old Church.

On Tuesday the ordination of priests took place as usual. In the afternoon a magnificent game of ball delighted the boys and their visitors, a brass band discoursing the while for everybody's entertainment and to their joy, for it was the first time on record here that a band had been hired for a ball game. Victory, too, smiled on the home team and everything was glorious.

In former days, as we saw, they used to have lectures on subjects of chemical and physical science, with experiments that were very novel and entertaining. These had been abandoned for many years. In the evening, however, of Tuesday the prize-speaking took place as usual before a large audience and the premiums of the preparatory department were distributed, after which the students and the guests strolled about the terraces under the fair moon and the newly-installed electric lights, and everyone felt it was like fairyland.

One hundred thousand dollars was pledged at a meeting of the alumni for the proposed College chapel, those present having the satisfaction of seeing the new seminary, 180 by 55 feet, almost ready for the slater. Among the alumni present was Judge Garvin, '44, now the senior of the corps. As regards the money pledged for the chapel, some one was remarking that our graduates do not contribute large sums of money to their alma mater, whereupon another said that these are mostly professional men, and such are notoriously poor hands at accumulating fortunes and cannot afford big donations.

Book-prizes were abandoned this year in the senior department, certificates being given instead.

In the forepart of July the Catholic Educational Association held its annual convention at Milwaukee, and adopted a constitution, thus perfecting the organization that had been gradually forming during the previous septennate. Our President and other members of the Faculty took active part in the proceedings. Twenty-five diocesan seminaries were reported and one of our delegates was chosen vice-president of the seminary department of the Association, the Superior of Saint Sulpice being elected president of the same.

On Wednesday, August 14, 1907, while excavating for the foundations of the new college-chapel, the workingmen discovered the corner-stone of the old College Church, begun just fifty years ago, but never completed. The stone had been, according to ancient custom, laid deep in the ground, being in fact literally the "first stone," as the name in Latin, lapis primarius, implies. Rev. William C. Poole, ex-'61, of New York, who saw this stone laid in 1857 was present at its finding today. The stone bearing date, June 23, 1857, is of granite, dressed, and each side is ornamented by a cross. Deposited in the stone was a lead box inscribed "D. G. Adelsberger, maker," containing two pairs of Eosary beads, two religious medals, a catalogue of the College for the academic year 1855-56, a copy of "The Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity's Directory" for the year 1857, (publishers, Lucas Brothers, Baltimore, 170 Market street,) and a parchment inscribed in Latin as follows:

In honobem D. O. M.

Auspice Maria sine labe concepta: Anno Kep. Sal. MDCCCLVTI, die XXIII lunii Vigilia Nativ. Sti. loannis Baptistae, Gloriose regnante Summo Pontifice Pio Nono, Foederatorum Statuum Praeside lacobo Buchanan; Marylandiae Gubernatore T. Watkins Ligon; Paroeciae hujus Eectore et Collegii Stae. Mariae ad Monies Praeside Bevdo. loanne McCaffrey, S. T. D.; Propraeside Kevdo. loanne McCloskey, Hunc Lapidem Primarium Ecclesiae Stae. Mariae Dei Matris et Dominae Nostrae, posuit Illmus. ac Kevdmus. loannes Baptista Purcell, Archiepiscopus C'incinnatensis, Collegii Stae. Mariae ad Montes Praeses Emeritus; qui etiam concionem ad populum habuit; adstantibus omnibus Collegii Professoribus, discipulisque et pluriniis Alumnis turn Clericis turn laicis, cum operum Praefecto loanne Taylor; Patritio C. Keely, architecto, et magna populi frequentia.

Komina Sacerdotum qui adfuerunt Collegio Sanctae Mariae ad Montes; Honoratus Xaupi, Georgius Flaut, Gulielmus McCloskey Theologiae Moralis Professor, Henricus McMurdie, Theolog. Dogmaticae Prof: ex aliis locis, Kevdus. lacobus Mullen, Ecclesiae Sti. Patritii ad Novas Aurelias Eector, Georgius McCloskey, Michael Curran e Neo Eboraco, Leonardus Obermeyer, Kector Ecclesiae St. Vincentii, apud Baltimore; Daniel Wheelan, e Brooklyn, Edwardus Keilly e Newburg in dioecesi; Isaac P. Howell e dioecesi Novarcensi, Joannes H. Luers e dioecesi Cincinnatensi, cum aliis.

Iacobus D. Hickey, Scr. Col.

Right Rev. Francis Silas Chatard, D. D. Bishop of Indianapolis

On the 26th day of August V. Rev. Dr. Flynn, President of the College, turned the first sod for the new Church, and on the 9th of September the masons began the huge foundation walls eight feet thick at the base. Bishop Chatard '53, who witnessed the ceremony of '57, visited his alma mater today and saw the beginnings of the new church.

Bishop Curtis V. G. of Baltimore came today also, being deputed by the Cardinal Archbishop to confer orders at the College, which he did on the three days following, raising eight candidates to Tonsure, nine to the grade of acolythe and creating seven deacons. These minor ordinations took place annually in the fall, priesthood being conferred at the close of the scholastic year on those who were not called by their bishops to be ordained at home.

In the summer Arthur E. Freeman A. B. 1907, a North Carolinian, entered the Faculty.

The number of students continued to increase this fall, there being fifty-six seminarians on October 1st and 260 boys. Of the seminarians forty-six were theologians.

A. V. D. Watterson sent us an oil painting of President McCloskey which having been raffled at a fair at Thurmont in 1872 was bought at Canton, Ohio, this summer. It was a very welcome addition to our portrait gallery.

September 24, Father Burke entered the Council, and on the 3rd of October Rev. Philip Gallagher '93, entered the Faculty, which now consisted of nine priests and seven laymen besides several clerics in major and minor orders. Father Gallagher was admitted to the Council, June 17, 1908.

To Rt, Rev. John J. Collins S. J. ex-'79, of Kentucky, is attributed the inauguration of Fordham University, New York City. October 28 he was consecrated Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica, several Mountaineers being present to his great and confessed delight.

On the same day James McSherry ex-'63, Chief Justice of Maryland, was buried at his native Frederick, the graduating class in their academic robes attending the funeral out of sympathy for his son William, their classmate, as well as to honor their eminent alumnus. Judge McSherry was the son of James McSherry '38, LL. D., author of the History of Maryland and orator at the semi-centennial celebration of the College in '58.

The next day died Thomas Laing of Cumberland, aged twelve. The following morning at nine his mother and sister and one of the priests took the body home for interment.

Two weeks later died Raymond Flannery, a Pittsburg boy of seventeen. His parents stayed a week with us, caring for him, and his noble bearing and farewell to the superiors, to the prefects, to the sister infirmarian and the seminarians who came nearest in his illness, as well as to his father, mother and brothers, edified us all and made us feel how the happy death of one of her children, in her own arms, is a benediction to alma mater.

In the fall of 1907, agreeably to the recent instruction of the Pope, efforts were made to train our seminarians in the Gregorian chant.

Bishop Collins visited us November 25, thirty-one years from his leaving, and was especially pleased to meet Professors Jourdan and Lagarde whom he knew well in those days.

This same month Rev. James 0. Hayden, C. M., Postulator of the Cause of Mother Seton, began an investigation into her reputation for sanctity, which it was proposed to establish, and on Tuesday November 26, the ecclesiastical court of six priests held sessions in the church at Emmitsburg, and also at the Convent, examining witnesses. Thus the College has already the delight of witnessing what may be the first rays of the sunburst that shall signalize the canonization by Holy Mother Church of this heroic woman and unitedly perhaps of the angel of the Mountain, Father Brute, both of whom illumined this place a hundred years ago.

Chapter 77 | Chapter Index

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