|Title:||Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan) to a brother, 1881|
|Sender||Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan)|
|Origin||Mt. St. Joseph, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary|
|Genre||reprimand for not writing, religious commentary, new church, gratitude for donations, enquires about family|
Mount St. Joseph,
8th day of November 1881
My very dear Br:
On the 6th? inst. I received your truly kind and much esteemed letter, which gave unbounded pleasure to my longing heart, and I'm happy to say that the many conflicting thoughts have passed away which, in the shape of temptations, have for some time past hovered round and pervaded my mind, seeking for my assent to the strange fact that you have lost all kindness and charity for me and that nothing remains but coldness and indifference. And I rejoice to say that though your letters to me are like Angels' visits--few and far between--I can easily ascertain by reading your last, that instead of the icy cold of uncharitableness and unkindness which appeared to have taken possession of your heart, the fire of charity still burns there, ready at any moment to burst forth into those glowing flames which should invariably adorn the character of one brother towards another. But what shall I say of those who never write a line at all to me? Have they lost all charity and brotherly affection in that respect, or do they wish never to hear from me again? I can say--so far they are unwise, so far they are foolish, they know not what blessings might result from an occasional letter to a religious community.
It would remind the Superiors and others too, to say and to get said special prayers on these occasions, for any pressing or important intentions which might be laid before them. It would remind the Superiors to say some special prayers in the Mass, which they would never fail to do when necessary. See now what benefit these pious acts would be to persons surrounded by the cares and dangers of the world.
But perhaps these persons do not require such supernatural assistance--I wish I was sure of it. Then indeed I would rejoice with great joy and congratulate them most cordially: for it is not everyone who goes to America that takes the care of his salvation that he is bound before God to take.
I hope, however, that you are all going on well and that none amongst you have forgotten the good resolutions which you made at the mission in Bagenalstown long ago. I hope none of you have turned aside even for a moment from the true path which leads to that home of bliss for which we were all created.
It would be a pity and a crying shame that any one of you would be so unfortunate. I'm sure you all know too well the beauty of virtue, the dulcet influences of religion, and the happiness of serving God faithfully to be so foolish or perverse as to turn aside (even for one moment as I have just said) from the true way of salvation, still less to persevere in any one of the many dangerous paths that lead to eternal misery.
If, as you say, temptations are many, and constant, don't be discouraged. Remember the saying of St. James, who spoke the words of Inspiration, "Blessed is the man who endureth temptation" &c., meaning of course if he does not consent. And on this point also Scripture encourages and consoles us saying "God never permits anyone to be tempted above his strength but will always grant issue (that is) a means of escape that we may not yield to it."
Besides these consolations my dear brother, let us remember that in our dear Lady we have a most powerful advocate and most loving Mother, whose ears and eyes are ever opened to hear the silent prayer or catch the penitent look of even the most sinful of her children. Her hands and heart are ever open to afford aid. Let us hail her full of grace who was worthy to be the mother of our Savior. Let us beseech her to impart to us of that fullness she has received, that thus we, the poor banished children of Eve may at the end of our mourning and weeping in this valley of tears may merit to see in his glory Jesus, her beloved son, and her own most clement, most pious, and most sweet Virgin face for ever more.
I'm sure you are delighted to know that our church is now so far advanced we have Mass celebrated in it every Sunday for the people since its dedication. As yet, it is no benefit to us as a monastic church as there are no altars but a temporary one, no Choir erected, no flooring done, &c. all which will be the work of time & . . . . . The Prior is most thankful for your kind donation of one pound and says he will say Mass for you all very soon. On last Sunday the prayers of the Community were asked for you all. The Superior is also most grateful to Hugh for his kind offering of ^2 sent by Thomas McDonald. I sent a card to Lawrence Bryan to Chicago a long time ago and never received an answer. Would you think it too much to give a slight hint about it next time you write to him. I also sent some cards to the Meany family. Please let me know next time what your opinion is about them. Tell my poor Mother and Mathers? [Mahers?] how sorry I was to hear of their late illness, and also how glad I am to know they are recovering. Remember me most kindly to them and to all my brothers, sisters, and friends, and assure them of my highest esteem and most tender regards. Amongst my friends there is one especially most dear to me, whose fidelity and kindness, whose good nature and decency, besides the ties of nature, render her so well deserving of all gratitude and love--and that person is no other than poor Mary Meaney. Please remember me to her in the best manner you are able and say that the prolonged period which has elapsed since my departure from home has but increased for her my most tender regards &c.
Remember me also to her good-natured husband and her dear little children, and tell her neglect nothing toward those little ones in the way of instruction.
I hope you'll neglect nothing that you can do towards my poor Mother, to make her comfortable and happy in every way: and tell her from me to go often to Confession and Holy Communion and to do all that she can to be prepared at any moment night or day to appear before her Judge. Assure her of my great love and unbounded respect.