xt7mkk947z8x https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7mkk947z8x/data/mets.xml Minogue, Anna Catherine, 1874- 1912  books b92-78-27212126 English American Press, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Sisters of Loretto. Loretto  : annals of the century / by Anna C. Minogue ; with an introduction by the Most Rev. John J. Glennon. text Loretto  : annals of the century / by Anna C. Minogue ; with an introduction by the Most Rev. John J. Glennon. 1912 2002 true xt7mkk947z8x section xt7mkk947z8x 



































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        I




 



























































REV. CH \RI.ES NERINCKX. FoUTNDER.


 





        LORETTO


ANNALS OF THE CENTURY






                  BY

         ANNA C. MINOGUE



Author of CARDOME: A ROMANCE OF KENTUCKY
     BORROWED FROM THE NIGHT
     THE WATERS OF CONTRADICTION





       With an Introduction by the
 MOST REV. JOHN J. GLENNON, D. D.
      ARCHBISHOP OF ST. LOUIS




          NEW YORK
       THE AMERICA PRESS
             1912


 







































  COPYRIGHT, 1912

        BY

THE AMERICA PRESS


 

















               NIHIL OBSTAT
          REMIGIUS LAFORT, S.T.L.,
                               Censor Deputatus



                IMPRIMATUR
          JOHN CARDINAL FARLEY
                        Archbishop of New York
March 12, 1912



                IMPRIMATUR
          CAMILLUS PAULUS MAES
                                Ep'us Covintonen.
Die 26a Februarii, 1912


 
















                   TO
     THE REVEREND CHARLES NERINCKX,
        WHOSE APOSTOLIC LABORS IN
                KENTUCKY
   WERE CROWNED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT
        OF THE LORETTINE SOCIETY:
            TO THE FOUNDERS,
MARY RHODES, CHRISTINA STUART, NANCY HAVERN
          AND THEIR COMPANIONS;
   TO THE EQUALLY VALIANT WOMEN WHO,
         IN THE YEARS SUCCEEDING,
HAVE FED, BY THE CONSECRATION OF THEIR LIVES,
          LORETTO'S HOLY FLAME,
               THIS BOOK
               IS DEDICATED
                   BY
              THE AUTHOR.


 








INTRODUCTION.



   A word is asked of me to serve as a prelude to the story
beautiful which follows. This should be an easy task; for,
as a prelude introducing a song that is to be sung adopts
from the song itself its spirit and its motif, so in our case it
will be only necessary to point the way to "Old Kentucky,"
and tell you that there one hundred years ago the order of
the Sisters of Loretto was founded.
  There, by the running brooks, amid forest trees, with the
cedars and the stars as sentinels of their vigils, they set
up the symbol of sacrifice, rude and crude as became the
frontier; but, for those who stood beneath it, henceforth
the Holy Rood. There was formed the Society of the
"Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross."
  These were pioneer days: not as yet, though Boone had
blazed the way westward, had the fires died by the wig-
wams of the savage: not as yet were hushed the wild voices
of the forest. The log cabin was the castle where lived
the hunter's wife, while the master himself went forth to
the freedom of the forest and the limitless savannah.
  And yet the scene and times were not without their in-
spiration. It was typically American, with the flavor of
the frontier. They who came together there to chant their
Song of Faith, to form with God's benediction the first
American Sisterhood, had undoubtedly all that splendid en-
thusiasm, that self-sacrifice, that high resolve, which the
faith at the frontier is sure to inspire in noble souls. There
were united the pure Catholic strain with the generous
American spirit, which has ever since distinguished the
Order of Loretto. We of the West know what this Amer-
ican Catholicity means; we know that it stands for hatred
of sham, purity of heart, gentleness of manners, loyalty to
Church, consecration of life.
                           V


 




INTRODUCTION.



  We owe much to the Catholicity of Kentucky, and we
hold the brightest blossoming of it began when Father Ne-
rinckx summoned his spiritual daughters to dedicate their
lives to Jesus and His Sorrowing Mother.
  We see in their wondrous development since then an
evidence of their zeal then, of that vital faith and passion
for sacrifice which distinguished the founders, and which
remains with all the daughters of Loretto, at once their
heritage and their protection.
  In every western diocese to-day there are Catholics proud
to claim Kentucky as their mother State, and the Kentucky
Catholic, wherever he may go, yields to none in his tena-
ciously holding and loyally defending the Faith of his
Fathers. And equally so, practically every western diocese
boasts of one or more houses of the Loretto Sisterhood,
which it undoubtedly cherishes as among its most helpful
Sisterhoods.
  A teaching Order in the beginning, it has remained true
to its first love-its primary purpose.  It is still at the
frontier, where the battle of Christ is being fought-that
greatest battle of modern times, where the prizes are the
souls of children. The future of civilization and humanity
is largely dependent on the outcome.
  On your centennial our greetings go to you, the Sisters
of Loretto. We gave back to you from Missouri the ashes
of your Founder, but we want to retain his spirit and yours.

                            JOHN J. GLENNON,
                              Archbishop of St. Louis.
  St. Louis, Mo.,
    March 7, 1912.



vi


 




INTRODUCTION.



  The Institution of the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of
the Cross was founded in Kentucky one hundred years ago
by the pioneer missionary, Father Nerinckx. The history
of his life and labors is known, and his good judgment and
prophetic eye are seen in the result of his work. He left
his footprints wherever he walked, and they have not been
blotted out. He was long alone in this great State with
the exception of a single companion, Father Badin, who
labored with him in the wilderness in the battle for souls.
The heroes sleep; their work endures. The volume here
presented gives an account of the work of Father Nerinckx,
particularly as regards the foundation of the community of
the Sisters of Loretto. The early records of this Institu-
tion are a treasured memory of which little is left but the
twilight. Who could then have imagined that Loretto ever
would become what it is now Tradition mainly tells the
story of its humble beginning; the historian tells what the
Institution has accomplished. One hundred years have
passed, and the Institution has grown from the grain of
mustard seed into a great tree, whose branches now extend
far beyond the spot where the corner-stone was laid. The
ashes of the Founder rest in the shadow of the convent
he established, and the heart of Father Badin, his com-
panion in labor, privation, and toil, watches near by, where
a relic is enshrined in the monument which pious hands
have erected to his memory. Those who read this centenary
volume will learn much of the history of Loretto from the
story that its pages tell.
                                 ( D. O'DONAGHUE,
                                 Bishop of Louisville.



Vii


 








FOREWORD.



IN offering this history of the centenary of their Society
to the Sisters of Loretto I should be ungrateful indeed
if I failed to acknowledge my great debt to their Superior-
General, the Reverend Mother Praxedes Carty, who placed
at my disposal such records as were necessary, aided me by
her advice and encouragement, spared herself no pains, in
short, that I might perform my allotted task with ease.
  It may appear singular to these spiritual daughters of
hers that the glorious part performed by their present
Mother-General is all but missing from this volume. If
the last chapters lack the interest that inheres to the story
during the closing years of Loretto's century, the cause is
not attributable to inappreciation or want of knowledge of
it on my part, but to the humility of her who has achieved
so much for her beloved Society. If, however, in the
proper place I was denied the privilege of paying just
tribute to her worth, I claim the right to say here on a
page she shall not see until the printed book is in her hands;
and in claiming it I know every Sister of Loretto sanctions
my act, that, beginning with that memorable December day
in 1812 when Mother Ann Rhodes laid down her briefly
held rein of authority in the cabin-convent of Hardin's
Creek, the glory that illumines each radiant figure in that
long line of great, loyal and self-sacrificing women finds
its brightest culmination in her who now rules the destinies
of her beloved Loretto.
  In New Mexico, where her noviceship and first years of
professed religious life were spent, her name is held in
benediction; Florissant knew her as a prudent Superior,
and Loretto Heights rightly regards her as her savior.
Called to the office of Mother-General at a solemn hour of
the Society's existence, she proved anew the wisdom of
                          Viii


 



FOREWORD.



Loretto's God-directed choice, in providing it with a Su-
perior capable of leading it out of every difficulty and
bringing it to this auspicious day, crowned with richest
blessing. What her hand found to do, she did; and lowly
the task or mighty, one purpose ran through all: God's
honor and glory, the salvation of souls!
  I also gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance ren-
dered by the Reverend Edwin Drury, Chaplain of the
Mother House; likewise by Sister Mary Antonella, whose
tireless research rescued many an interesting fragment of
history and whose loving interest in the progress of the
work never flagged.
  As all must who write of Kentucky of the days of the
pioneers, I am indebted to the admirable "Life of Reverend
Charles Nerinckx," by the Right Reverend Camillus Paul
Maes, D.D., Bishop of Covington; "Sketches of the Early
Catholic Missions in Kentucky," by the Most Reverend
Martin John Spalding, D.D.; "The Centenary of Catho-
licity in Kentucky," by the Honorable Benjamin J. Webb;
also to "Soldiers of the Cross," by Most Reverend J. B.
Salpointe, D.D.; "The Catholic School System of the
United States," by the Reverend J. A. Burns, C.S.C., Ph.D.,
and to the Sister annalists of the various houses of the
Society.
  That this history of Loretto's century of existence falls
far below what its readers, from the theme and the occasion,
have a right to expect, I am most painfully aware. There
are circumstances which might be offered in excuse; but
I prefer not to renew old acquaintances and begin new
ones with an apology for my word of greeting. To temper
a too severe criticism, however, I would plead that had my
time and my ability been the equal of my love and venera-
tion, then should I have laid at Loretto's feet on this day
of her centennial a gift worthy even of her acceptance.
                                   ANNA C. MINOGUE.
  Dinmore Park, Latonia, Kentucky.
                           ix




 







                   ILLUSTRATIONS.

Reverend Charles Nerinckx, Founder ................. Frontispiece
Old Loretto, from Engraving Made for Father
    Nerinckx in Belgium, 1816-Buildings Erected
    in 1812...                               Facing page 12
Title Page of the Rule in Father Nerinckx' hand-
   writing  ........................................      "   28
Record of the First Holy Name Society in the
   United States ................................         54
Reverend Stephen Theodore Badin, Pioneer Priest '    "    76
Letter of Mother Mary Rhodes, Foundress......   "    "    88
Right Reverend Benedict Joseph Flaget.........       "     2
Sister M. Generose Mattingly on Her Diamond
   Jubilee Day. Also Showing Veil Worn by
   Lorettines Until 1909 .........................        "   104
Loretto Academy, Florissant, Mo." 122
Convent, Academy and Chapel of Our Lady of
   Light, Santa Fe, New Mexico................"          140
Loretto Academy, Kentucky; Seniors of Loretto
   Academy 1912; Our Lady's Court; Guests'
   House .........................                    "   164
Novitiate; Chaplain's Residence, and Church of
   Our Lady of Dolors     ..........................     172
Loretto Academy, St. Louis, Mo..              .    '     17 6
St. Mary's Academy, Denver, Col ................      '    "   180
Loretto Heights Academy      .       ...........         188
The General Council of 1904    .      .0........           N
Loretto Academy, Kansas City, Mo    .    ......          210
Chapel of Loretto Academy, Kansas City, Mo....           216
Church of Our Lady of Dolors, Loretto                    224
Via Matris Dolorosae, Loretto Mother House....           246
The Convent Cemetery, Loretto   .    .    .........      252
                             x




 










               TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER                                               PAGE
     I. Early Mission of Kentucky-Arrival of Father
         Nerinckx  ..........     ...............................  1

    II. Father Nerinckx' Labors-His List of Churches-
         Bishop Flaget at St. Stephen's ....................  11

   III. The School on Hardin's Creek-Loretto Society
         Established-Reception on June 29th, and First
         Election-Mother Anne-Beginnings ......     ........  21

   IV. Buildings   Erected-Mother     Ann   Dies-Bishop
         Flaget Visits Loretto-The     Sisters Pronounce
         Perpetual Vows August 15, 1813 ..................  37

    V. Father Nerinckx Goes to Rome-The Rule-First
         Branch-First Retreat, 1817-Gethsemani-The
         Brotherhood-Father Nerinckx' Return-Mount
         Mary's and Father Byrne-Bethania, 1821-Mt. St.
         Carmel, 1823-Bethlehem, Ky.-First House in
         Missouri, 1823  ................ .....................  48

   VI. Father Nerinckx Leaves Kentucky-His Farewell
         Letter-His Death-Removal of His Remains-
         Father Badin at Loretto ............................  62

  VII. Father Chabrat Appointed Ecclesiastical Superior-
         Bon-fire-Changes Rule-La Fourche-Mother
         House Removed to St. Stephen's .................   78

 VIII. Sketches of First Mothers and their Best Known
         Associates-Mother Mary's Letter-Certificate of
         First Election Under Commended Rule, 1822-
         Jericho  Branch-Negro     Sisterhood-Deaf and
         Dumb Asylum-Sister Generose-Mother Berlindes       87

   IX. St. Genevieve, Mo.-Arkansas-Cape Girardeau-St.
         Benedict's, 1842-Father Badin's Letter ............ 112

    X. Florissant and Osage Mission ....................... 121
                           xi


 






               TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    XI. Santa Fe Colony, 1852-Death of Mother Matilda-
          Death of Sister Alphonsa, 1867 .................... 136

   XII. Foundations in New Mexico and Denver ........... 148

   XIII. The Mother House-Distinguished Visitors-Fire in
          1858-Kentucky Foundations .......       ................ 162

  XIV. Foundations     1857-1894-Missouri,    Illinois-Sister
          Ferdinand - Alabama - Kansas Again-Parsons-
          Foundations in Colorado .......................... 175

   XV. Sketches of Mother Superiors and Other Prominent
         Members .................    ......................... 193

  XVI. Ecclesiastical Superiors-Rome-Final Confirmation... 208

  XVII. Schools-Benefactors .........         ......................  217

XVIII. Memorials of Father Nerinckx, His Tomb, His
          Statue-The Via Matris-History         Resigned to
          Other Hands .227

APPENDIX   ....................................................  234



xii


 









CHAPTER I.



             EARLY MISSIONS OF KENTUCKY.

THE lure of the West has been felt by man in all ages.
      It matters not what the object of his quest may be,
the land of the setting sun draws on, nor is any danger
deemed too great, any obstacle insurmountable, when he
goes forth to answer that unaccountable call. Whether it
is true or not, as legend has it, that the Redeemer on the
Cross faced to the west, from time to time adventurous spir-
its providentially directed have led the race into undreamed
of possessions, bearing aloft the torch of Faith as they
followed the sun in its course. A trivial event may some-
times point the way to great achievements, or causes that
shake empires and bar the progress of civilization may
contribute to form characters destined for new fields and
greater enterprises. When the French Revolution forbade
religion, it awakened apostles to the divine call to spend
their lives and be spent in moulding the destiny of the
western world.
  Because he could not forswear his conscience and prom-
ise allegiance to the government Napoleon had set up in
place of the throne, a Belgian priest, no longer in the first
flush of manhood, found himself deprived of his office and
his livelihood, his liberty dependent upon his ability to find
cover, his very life imperiled. The experience was soul-
harrowing, but it brought the enlargement required to trans-
form the simple parish priest into an apostle lifted up to
the desire for the world-wide establishment of the Kingdom
of Christ. The contentment that had marked his days as
he passed among his people, guarding their faith, and cul-
tivating the truths of religion in the minds of their chil-
dren, was gone. In his ears had sounded the call of the
                            1


 




LORETTO.



lottier emprise, which all who hear must obey or be there-
after the most wretched of men. From the realm of the
\r'est it came, and the response was swift and royal. W:th-
out thought of self or fear of the future, Father Charles
Nerinckx sailed for the American shore.
   Before proceeding farther in a narrative which a poet
might weave into an epic let us acquaint ourselves with the
earlier history of this remarkable man. Like many who
hlave accomplished the great works of the world, Father
Nerinckx was sprung from the middle class of people. His
father, Sebastian Nerinckx, belonged to a respectable fam-
ily, and was a physician by profession; his mother, Pe-
tronilla Langendries, possessed the virtues and qualifica-
tions that distinguish true Christian womanhood. Of their
union, Father Nerinckx was born on October 2, 1761, at
Herffelingen, in Brabant, Belgium, being the eldest of four-
teen children. With the parental generosity that has made
Belgium the nursery of religion, they gave three sons and
three daughters to the service of God.
  In 1762 Dr. Nerinckx, with the view of enlarging his
field of practice and giving his children more educational
advantages, moved to Ninove, province of East Flanders,
and there Charles began his primary studies at the age of
six years; later he passed to the College of Enghien, to
Gheel in 1774, and completed his course of Philosophy at
the Catholic University of Louvain. Having then deter-
mined to study for the priesthood, he entered the Seminary
of Mechlin in 1781. He was ordained priest, November
4, 1785.
  Divine grace had not been impeded in its workings in
this chosen soul, and he appeared before his superiors as
one to whom could be entrusted duties that ordinarily call
for the test of experience. He was appointed vicar of the
Metropolitan parish of St. Rumold, Mechlin, and in the
discharge of his office early proved himself the ideal pas-
tor of souls. The needs of the poor made special appeal
                           2


 




EARLY MISSIONS OF KENTUCKY.



to his priestly zeal, and they, recognizing his understanding
love, were quick to respond to his efforts for their spiritual
advancement. He possessed a well-balanced character, and
if he gave himself completely to his pastoral work while it
engaged him, he never forgot that to be able to aid others
one must have strength oneself. His own advancement
was never neglected, and he grew daily in piety and knowl-
edge.
  His worth was not unappreciated by the Archbishop of
AMechlin, and when the important parish of Everberg-MIeer-
beke became vacant by the death of its pastor, Father Ne-
rinckx. although then but thirty-three years of age, was
promoted to its charge. He found difficulties awaiting him
in his new field of endeavor, the most obstinate being the
apathy of the people toward their religious duties. To one
so greatly in earnest, so deeply imbued with a sense of the
gravity of life, and the necessity of making every moment
of it count for eternity, such a condition brings the most
painful anxiety, especially when to those sentiments is
added. as was the case of Father Nerinckx, an acute real-
ization of his responsibility as shepherd of his flock. But
the Divine Guidance soon brought him to the mastership
of the unhappy situation. A little child shall lead them, it
has been promised, and Father Nerinckx saw its fulfilment
in Everberg-Meerbeke, as afterward on the Kentucky fron-
tier.
  He sought out the children, and, winning their love and
obedience, it was not long until their elders followed them
to the good priest's side. In the brief period of three years
he had wrought so complete a change that the mighty wave
of irreligion which had swept northward with the victorious
armies of the French Revolutionists was ineffectual in its
attempts to engulf the inhabitants of that town. They op-
posed a barrier to the devastations of the Prince of this
vorld. and his emissaries, knowing well the source from
w-hich thev drew their power of resistance, directed their
                            3


 




LORETTO.



efforts against Father Nerinckx. Their opportunity came
when, refusing to take the oath demanded by the Govern-
ment, and which would have been a violation of his con-
science, he continued to officiate in his office of pastor. His
arrest was ordered, but, by the vigilance of his people, he
was able to make his escape.
   Disguised as a peasant, Father Nerinckx left his parish
and, reaching Dendermonde, August 6, 1797, was received
at the Hospital of St. Blase, of which institution his aunt,
Mother Constantia Langendries, was superior.  But his
continued safety depended solely on his caution.  For
months he lived in the attic of the hospital, not daring to
stir abroad until the darkness of night had set in. Yet amid
such conditions he found God's work to be done. The Sis-
ters and their hospital had been spared because their services
were required by the Government, and to these devoted
women, deprived of their chaplain by the same enmity
which had made their guest a fugitive, the presence of
Father Nerinckx was as an assurance from on high that
they were not utterly forsaken. There were also the pa-
tients to be ministered to, and the prisoners condemned to
death for defending their country. These the heroic priest
visited in the dead of night, consoling them with religious
rites, preparing them for their last end.
  Thus passed four years. In the meantime, in the heart
of the hunted priest a change was going on. The condi-
tions imposed on the clergy by the French Government were
to him, and many other pious priests, impossible. He was
offered again his parish at Everberg-Meerbeke, but he de-
clined it, feeling that in the existing state of affairs all effort
of his would be useless. His zealous activity called for free
scope, nor could he endure seeing God's work hedged in
and trammelled by its enemies. In another portion of the
world there were souls to be saved, yea, crying for salva-
tion, and they now became the objects of his solicitous
thoughts. The Western world called for him, and if his
                           4


 




EARLY MISSIONS OF KENTUCKY.



response was generous in his ignorance of what life meant
there for the missionary, it never was regretted when knowl-
edge, the fullest and the bitterest, was his measure. He
applied to Bishop Carroll for admission to the Diocese of
Baltimore, and when he came and that sorely burdened
prelate assigned him to the Kentucky mission, he accepted
the charge in holy joy.
   There is not any record left us of what the word Ken-
 tticky meant to the Belgian stranger as he received his
 appointment from the lips of his bishop, and as he set forth
 for the hospitable Jesuit college in Georgetown, in the
 District of Columbia, to perfect himself in the English
 tongue, he little dreamed what a light his coming was to
 spread over that fair land, how precious a heritage he was
 destined to leave to it, how inseparably entwined was to be
 his name with its history. He learned to love it well, too.
 His brave old heart, that could sever freely the ties that
 bound him to the land of his nativity, broke when he was
 driven from Kentucky, to find, as had poor Daniel Boone
 before him, a refuge for his hoary head in generous Mis-
 souri, and we are fain to believe that both gallant pioneers
 slept better when kindly hands gave back their ashes to
 their adopted mother's keeping.
 At the time Father Nerinckx reached the American shore
 (1804) some thirty-five years had elapsed since Boone had
 left his "peaceable habitation" on the Yadkin, as he has
 handed the description of his North Carolina home down
 to us, to take up his dwelling in Kentucky. The way he
 blazed through the forests had been widened by the civil-
 ization that had poured after him, and the beautiful land
 that none of the Indian tribes had ever been able to lay
 claim to, and over which all had fiercely contested from
 earliest traditional days, became the possession of the white
 man. Kentucky kept herself for the superior race, and it
 is the generally accepted opinion that that portion of it in-
habiting her is in some indefinable way the superior of the
                           5


 




LORETTO.



remainder. Boone's immediate followers, hailing largely
from Virginia, established themselves in the rich Bluegrass
Belt; they were the settlers who fought the Indians in their
last battles for their favorite hunting ground, and coming
out victorious, began to build the foundations of the State.
It was not until 1785 that the Maryland Colonists began to
arrive, and they took up their abode in what is now Nelson,
Washington and Marion Counties. Webb, in his "Centen-
ary of Catholicity in Kentucky," questioning why these
Maryland Catholics should pass by the fertile level lands
for the less favored district, suggests that Divine Providence
withheld the material wealth the more worldly wise Vir-
ginian gained that they might seek and obtain the higher
spiritual good, and, as if to illustrate the contention, after-
ward relates the sad fate that befell the little Catholic colony
which abandoned its journey to Pottinger's Creek for a
more promising home in Scott County. We must also re-
member that the Reformation ploughed a bloody line be-
tween Englishmen, and the mutual hatred of Catholic and
Protestant was carried by them across the sea; and we can
readily believe that the descendants of the followers of
Lord Baltimore would find themselves ranging as far as
they prudently could on the frontier from the descendants
of the founders of Jamestown.
  Through many perils and hardships, and attended by we
know not what weariness of body and loneliness of soul, the
Maryland colonists drove on until their new home on Pot-
tinger's Creek was reached. Then began a life of which
not the most fervid imagination can form an accurate con-
ception. No child of Kentucky but is familiar with the
history of the days of the pioneers. We know of the lordly
trees felled for the construction of the cabin, the chimney
built of mud and wattles, the earthern floor, and the loop-
holes for its defense against the wild beast and the Indian;
of the stockades; of the perilous labors in the field, where
the musket was carried along with the hoe; of the rude fare
                           6


 




EARLY MISSIONS OF KENTUCKY.



so hardly gained; of the rough apparel secured by such toil:
all this and more we have been taught of the struggle made
by those heroic men and women to plant civilization on the
Western frontier. But only outlines has the most indus-
trious historian given us of that period of travail, out of
which a great and glorious Commonwealth was born. Some
figures stand out splendidly on the canvas of that time;
some incidents are revealed that shall command love and
veneration while valorous deeds and acts of honor shall
appeal to the souls of men. But who shall ever know of
the hidden heroes who shall unfold from the silence of the
past the lost stories of their lives Who shall tell us of
the toil of the men, the suffering of the women, the repres-
sion of pathetic childhood, experienced by the dwellers of
those first rude habitations of Kentucky, whether amid her
mountain fastness, the ample reaches of her Bluegrass
Belt, or the picturesque hills and long, sequestered valleys
of her Maryland District! Sacred for us should be the spot
that held one of those poor cabins, and more beautiful in
our eyes than the shafts of marble that mark the last rest-
ing-place of our latest born to fame, should be some poor
slab, crumbling to decay, that points to us where one of
those unknown heroes sleeps.
  The Maryland pioneer brought with him something that
but few of his brothers of the Bluegrass Belt possessed,
that Faith which, reaching back unbroken through the cen-
turies, bound him by cords of gold to the Manger in the
stable of Bethlehem where the Lord of the world first
opened His eyes upon the earth He had come to redeem.
The treasured knowledge of that poverty made this easier
to bear, the loneliness of that Heart, cast out by His own,
made more endurable the austere solitude with which Na-
ture enfolded them. The practice of a religion handed
down through the generations gave them an invincible
armor, and in a conflict where others, perchance, had ulti-
mately been routed, they held out valiantly, until home and
                           7


 




LORETTO.



church and school were permanently established in this por-
tion of Kentuckv.
   It is not at all surprising that the first priest in Kentucky
was an Irishman. and the Franciscan, Father Charles Whe-
lan, in penetrating the wilderness in 1787 to minister to
the Colonists of Pottinger's Creek, was but exemplifying
the apostolic spirit of his native land. Another Irishman,
Father William de Rohan, his immediate successor, built
the first Catholic church within the confines of the State. It
was dedicated to the Holy Cross, and, like the home sur-
roundings, it was of logs, covered with rough clapboards.
and a block of wood served for an altar. But shortly after
the erection of their church, the faithful settlers were again
deprived of the services of a priest, Father Whelan having
retired from the field and Father de Rohan discontinuing
his ministrations by the order of Bishop Carroll.
  For some three years this sad condition remained, though
the number of colonists was increasing; then came a priest
whose name leads all others in the missions of the frontier,
and whose right is unquestioned to the title of the Apostle
of Kentucky. Father Theodore Badin was another of the
priceless gifts which the French Revolution bestowed upon
the Church in the New World. Coming to America as a
cleric, he was ordained by Bishop Carroll, May 25, 1793,
being the first priest to receive ordination within the limits
of the first thirteen of the United States. In the autumn of
the same year lie was sent, with the Rev. Father Barrieres,
a French exile like himself, to take charge of the scattered
Catholics of Kentucky. They entered the State at the point
where now stands the flourishing city of Maysville; and
among the owners of the few log cabins they found several
Irish Catholics. Thence they journeyed to Lexington, which
they reached on Sunday. After celebrating Mass, they
continued their way to White Sulphur, and on the same
day broke the Bread of Life for the Catholics of that set-
tlement. Then the two missionaries separated, Father Bar-
                            8


 




EARLY MISSIONS OF KENTUCKY.



rieres going to Pottinger's Creek and Father Badin remain-
ing at White Sulphur. The conditions confronting him be-
ing so unlike those to which he had been accustomed, and
feeling, perhaps, he was too advanced in years to hope to
accommodate himself to them, Father Barrieres after four
months abandoned Kentucky for New Orleans, leaving Fa-
ther Badin alone in a field that embraced almost the entire
Middle West. He foresaw the labors his mission as a priest
must demand of him in this sparsely settled country,