Main content

Title: Coogan, Michael (Brother Declan) to Coogan, William, 1878
CollectionCarlow-Coogan Letters
SenderCoogan, Michael (Brother Declan)
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationmonk/shoemaker
Sender Religionunknown
OriginMt. St. Joseph, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
DestinationHarlem, NYC, USA
RecipientCoogan, William
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count727
Genrefounding a new monastery, description of the place, greetings to family
TranscriptCistercian Monastery of Mount St. Joseph,
Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
1st day of August, 1878

My Dear Brother,

Your first glance at my long delayed letter will, I am sure, fill you with astonishment to find that it is not directed from dear Mt. Melleray, that abode of sweetness where I spent so many happy days and years, but the divine voice which called me from the wicked world fifteen years ago sounded on my ear a second time through the organ of my Superior to leave that holy abode and come here to assist--so far as in me lies--to establish a second monastery of our order in this remote corner of the King’s County. However, I'm not one bit sorry; we have here a most beautiful property, both of house and lands. It was purchased by the Honourable [Mr.?] [Wm?] Moore, M.P. for Clonmele, for fifteen thousand pounds, the most of which was paid by himself, and the remainder by the Abbot of Mt. Melleray. The property consists of six hundred and fourteen acres of land bordered by a wood on each side, interrupted by a beautiful river which runs through the centre from end to end, that is, about a mile; then at the other side of the house convenient to the yard, there is a nice stream of fresh water nearly fit for any use. Besides, we have a well and a pump, which supplies all our wants. The farm is most beautiful; it’s like a nice pleasure-ground from beginning to end, full of beautiful trees and shrubs of various kinds which are the habitations of large flocks of wild birds of a most beautiful kind, but to our surprise they employed themselves on one occasion since we came here gathering the handkerchiefs from the grass where they were drying and placing them up on the boughs of the trees to our great astonishment. Our house is very large. The kitchen, refectory, and some other apartments are under ground, the Church & Chapels,etc., are on the next story, and then the dormitory, library, etc., on the upper story. I have a nice little room on the second story of the tower where I work part of the day at the old employment [shoemaking]. Our Community consists of a Superior (Fr. [?]). He is the Choir religious whom you knew at Melleray, nine other priests, three Choir brothers, and nineteen lay brothers. I'm quite happy and contented and enjoy splendid health thanks to God.

Remember me in the kindest manner to my poor brother James and tell him how I'm delighted to hear such good accounts from him. I was overjoyed to hear the account you gave me of his eldest son Michael, but send word to Michael that his Irish uncle and namesake is, if any, at least very little lower, but exceeds his American nephew by at least 50 lbs. weight, so you may conclude that it’s no sign of delicate health.
I suppose it’s useless for me to say how I feel towards you all by and in your difficult position. All that I can say is, my trouble is great, but I can do nothing but pray, and I do that constantly, and I ask that you all would follow my example in that point and in the end God in his mercy may send you grace in abundance. I send my love to you all, but especially to my mother, and tell her how glad I am that she is so attentive to her religious duties. Tell her not to forget me in her prayers. And tell her be as patient and as resigned as the Lord in her heavy trials; they will all end shortly, and God will do for those she'll leave behind.

Though we have a nice property here, we are very poor. We are beginning to build our church and monastery and depend for the expences on the charity of the faithful. I hear frequently from Bridget Joyce of Bagenalstown. They were all well the last time I heard from them.

I expect Mr. Townsend will come here; it’s only about 3 hours’ journey by rail from Melleray. Remember me to the Doyle family, and no matter what passes between you forgive and forget all if you expect God to forgive you.

Yours, &c.
M. Coogan