|Title:||Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan) to Coogan, William & Catherine, 1882|
|Sender||Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan)|
|Origin||Mt. St. Joseph, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary|
|Destination||Harlem, NYC, USA|
|Recipient||Coogan, William & Catherine|
|Relationship||brothers / son-mother|
|Genre||correspondence, commentary on enduring trials, prayer, new church, weather, crops / family, preparing for death|
|Transcript||Mt. St. Joseph|
July 27th, 1882
My dear brother,
From the long delay of your letter I was beginning to think that perhaps you had ceased to be an inhabitant of this wretched world, and had taken flight to that home of peace & rest where St. John saw the "great multitude that no man could number," near the great white throne in Sight of the land."
However, though such has not been the case, I'm sorry to say your letter had afforded me very little consolation; on the contrary, it has (humanly speaking) filled me with bitter sorrow to hear of your meeting with such heavy trials and embarrassing difficulties. Nevertheless, Christianly speaking it affords me consolation and joy when I reflect that it's the Paternal Hand of our loving Lord has placed the heavy Cross on your shoulders, not for your destruction, Oh! no, but that you may (by braving these trials with patience and resignation) merit for yourself an eternal reward and that you may decorate more brilliantly the Crown of Glory which he has prepared for you, and which his Divine Majesty shall place on your brow when he'll invite you away from this place of exile to participate with his elect in the never-ending joys of the great harvest home in the happy Land above.
Keep these things always before your view, my dear Brother, and all sickness and trials will lose their teasing bitterness and death its terrors; for death will have very little terror for those who think of the great reward of a virtuous life and who live in such a way as to be ready at any moment to appear before the Great Judge, of whose final Summons we know so little. You were all recommended to the prayers of the Community on last Sunday and some of the priests promised a memento in their Masses for nine days for the same intention.
I hope you'll now take care of your health and don't act foolishly in future; and be not uneasy at the idea of wearing glasses, for it is quite common at Melleray even with some who are far under thirty years of age; besides, I expect with God's assistance that you will soon be restored to perfect sight. I shall have special prayers offered for you occasionally until I hear from you again, and as the Abbot of Mt. Melleray will be down here in a few days, I shall ask him to have the prayers of his own Community offered for you & all the family. I am glad to hear you received my note of last March and that it afforded you some consolation in your illness. I have not sent you any one since, nor did I write a word to any one in America since that period; and indeed it surprises me fearfully to think how any person could assume the office of prophet to tell you the contrary. Our Church is progressing pretty well. Some of the Altars are already erected and the flooring is nearly finished, and in very short the stalls will be ready for the Choir to go there at least occasionally until such times as all will be completed. I received your circular, I mean of course the New Melleray one, and I wish to tell you that as charity begins at home, your exertions should be
[page marked 5] directed exclusively to Mount St. Joseph, all the collections you can make, and all the donations you can receive, and any money for Masses that may be offered you all is to be directed without any exception to dear Mount St. Joseph. And were it not for your delicate state of health, I would propose a pious project to you in connection with our new Church, but I'll suspend it for another time.
I know you'll like to hear that my health is remarkably good and has always been so since I came down here especially; the atmosphere is so beautiful every part of the year. Five new members have joined us since we came here, and many more asked to be admitted but could not be received in consequence of our want of house room, which difficulty I hope will soon disappear.
For a long time past we have had a great deal of rain, which alarmed the people very much. They feared the crops would be destroyed, but I hope it is now at an end as some of the past days were nearly splitting the trees. I heard nothing from James since about three years ago. I suppose I must give him up as a bad job.
Don't be too long without letting me know how you are, and take care and don't lose your courage in the battle though it be a painful one itself. Farewell for the present,
Yours &c. M. Coogan
To His Mother
My very dear and loving Mother,
I'm sure you won't be displeased when you see a letter from me going directly to your house and it not addressed to yourself. I cannot imagine for a moment that you'd attribute it to unkindness or want of respect on my part, anything at all but that; for though a score of years or near it has elapsed since I saw you, the love and respect which you know I had for you have but increased instead of diminishing.
I was delighted to hear from William of the great attention
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paid him by yourself and poor Denis, but take care. Don't distress yourself too much as you are now so old and feeble. I hope none of them will let you go too far in that way. I hope you are always thinking of death and preparing for it to secure for yourself a happy eternity, & I expect you won't forget me in your prayers. I am very happy and contented, thank God, and enjoy very good health. Though I'm delighted to hear of the kindness and good nature of poor Hugh and Denis, yet I must complain bitterly of both one and the other for never writing a line to me. Remember me to poor Mary Meaney & family, Mrs. Doyle & family, and all the rest. Let us forgive and forget all injuries and offences and live in peace one with the other, & the God of peace will be with us all. I remain dear Mother your loving and affectionate son,