|Title:||Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan) to Coogan, James, 1871|
|Sender||Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan)|
|Origin||Mt. Melleray, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford|
|Destination||Lincoln, Illinois, USA|
|Genre||his mother's recovery, correspondence, monastery life|
|Transcript||Mount Melleray Abbey|
Feb 16th, 1871
My Dear Brother,
I am happy to inform you that I have been favoured with a letter from William a few days ago informing me of my mother’s recovery from a severe fit of illness by which she was visited some few months ago. They always express their anxiety (when writing to me) of hearing from you; indeed, I must say & as for myself [& I am so myself?] I'm expecting a letter from you for many years past and still I find my wish was never accomplished. But I'm perfectly sure it’s not the want of good nature that causes you not to write. I suppose you're like every man in the world, or at least in Ireland that is, immersed in business and cannot find time for writing. But I hope now at least you will be so kind as to let me know how you are going on though William was seeing you lately as I understand of it. He never told me one word about you to any great surprise as you were remarkable when at home in Ireland for your good nature, particularly to my poor mother. I hope you haven't cast away that noble principle now by refusing to write to us to let us know how you are going on. Mother is so delicate and feeble; it would give her the greatest Consolation to hear from you.
I'm very well this time, thanks be to God for his goodness to me. I employ my time working at shoe making for the Community. It’s now very large; I believe nearly eighty, twenty-four of whom are priests. They say mass every day. We have one mass every morning for our benefactors, that is, for those among the faithful who contribute to our support. We never use fish, eggs, or butter whilst in health, yet some live to a very old age. We rise from sleep at two o'clock on work days and at one o’ clock on all Sundays and Holy days. We spend our time in prayer, pious reading, and manual labour and consequently we are never one moment idle. I promise you my prayers and those of the Community and I hope you will all pray for me, and with God’s Divine assistance this [ex]change of kind offices between us will gain for us all eternal Salvation.
God be with you all. Remember me to Mrs. Coogan and all the family, to whom I send my kindest wishes and best regards and be assured of the reality of my abiding gratitude, whilst I remain your loving and respectful brother,
Michael Coogan, in Religion, Brother Declan
Please write soon and direct your letter to Mount Melleray Abbey, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Ireland for me.
Page numbered 4 [same letter?]
My life here is a continuous course of penance for the last seven years since I left the world. We are about eighty in number, twenty-four of whom are priests. We fast from the 11th of September till Easter Sunday on one crust and a Collation each per day, and during the Summers the austerity is mitigated on account of the heat. We rise from sleep at two o'clock on weekdays and at one o'clock on all Sundays and holy days. We spend much time in prayer and spiritual reading and the remaining portion of the day in manual labour or go to the mountains to work at our turf. It is very high, yet notwithstanding its altitude, it produces beautiful springs of fresh water. When working, we are delighted with the beautiful Sea Breeze which wafts across the wooded valley and renders the place most salubrious. We go to Confession every Sunday and receive Holy Communion several times during the week. The greatest glory we can give to God in this life next to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is to receive him worthily in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Write to me shortly that I may have you and your family under the notice of the Abbot [so that] you may have a special share in all our prayers. Remember me in the kindest manner to all your family and believe me to be your most affectionate brother till death, Michael Coogan, Br. Declan, Mt. Melleray, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford.