Father John of St. Raphael's and Old Angus Macdonell.
One day Grandfather said, "My boy, did you ever hear about the dream old Angus Macdonell had the night that Father John lost the Blessed Sacrament ?.." Well, old Angus was a very pious man. Indeed if I were as good, I wouldn't be worrying about my soul.
Father John (Maigster Ian) went on a far-away sick-call and was returning late at night on horseback. For some reason, either because of the priest's fatigue, or by accident due to the rough roads, the string of the bourse in which he carried the pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament, broke and the bourse slipped unnoticed from his breast to the ground. The good priest only discovered the unfortunate accident upon his return home. As it was still very dark, he decided to pray until break of day and then set out to search.
Meanwhile, old Angus had a dream and was awakened by a voice saving, Angus, go and get the priest; I am being menaced." (literal Gaelic). The dream seemed so strange and yet so real that he decided to go and tell the priest. He arrived at the chapel to find Father John walking up and down before the altar in great distress. Angus told the priest his dream, and said that he would take him to the place. They went, and true enough there upon the grass lay the bourse with its Heavenly Treasure-while only a short distance away a herd of cattle were browsing, moving closer and closer to menace Him who in a stable at Bethlehem humbled Himself for us.
Our forefathers had strange dreams.
Dear MESSENGER Readers:----When you are asked to contribute for "Peter's Pence," remember that the Popes and many noble Cardinals of former days gave of their private fortune to keep the Faith living in the Highland glens. The Pope, no longer a Temporal Sovereign, looks to you for support. All you give -twelve cents a year-could never repay the debt we owe.
Our readers in Glengarry and Stormont who wish to possess complete sets of MESSENGERS giving so much valuable local history, may send their names direct to this office. Subscription: $1.00 a year; single copies, 10 cents. Back numbers will be sent when asked for.
Towards our Tabernacles
But how did it happen?" inquired the priest, surprised at the unusual request. It was not every day that a Jew, especially a highly educated one, came to demand instruction in Catholic doctrine, with a view to being received into the Church.
You may find my account strange, Father," replied the Jew, "but I am stating facts. About a year ago, being no longer able to find peace of soul in the observance of the Mosaic Law, I resolved to give deep thought to the subject of religion. As a result of my study I drew the following conclusion: religion should make for contentment, and that consequently I would know the true Church by the real happiness it brought to its members.
"With this in mind I spent several months visiting the different churches of the Metropolis, locating myself at the door as the people came out from Divine service. My inspection was thorough and the result was ever the same: the people returning from your services alone had an appearance of perfect contentment. They had participated in the only I true worship and the Creator had flooded their souls with joy. I am satisfied that I am making no mistake. Please take the trouble to instruct me in your doctrines."
It is remarkable how varied are the methods the Holy Ghost employs to draw those struggling along the paths of error into the Fold of Christ. In the case of this Jew, light was granted through his experience of the wonders wrought in the souls of others by intercourse with Christ in the Sacrament of His love.
Another instance may be cited of a recent conversion effected through personal experience of the influence of grace on one frequenting our Tabernacles. The late Frederick Stuart Church, a leading American artist of our own times, gives the following account of his conversion to the "Old Mother Church."
A NATIONAL HERO FROM GLENGARRY
Camp at Detroit, August 16, 1812
Capitulation for the surrender of Fort Detroit, entered into between Major-General Brock, commanding his Britannic Majesty's forces on the one part, and Brigadier-General Hull, commanding the Northwestern army of the United States on the other part:-
ARTICLE 1. - Fort Detroit, with all the troops, regular as well as militia, will be immediately surrendered to the British forces under the command of Major-General Brock, and will be considered as prisoners of war, with the exception of such of the Militia of Michigan Territory who have not joined the army.
ARTICLE 5.-The garrison will march out at the hour of twelve this day, and the British will take immediate possession of the fort.
Lieutenant-Colonel Militia, P. A. D.C.
Lieutenant-Colonel Fifth United States Infantry
Brigadier-General commanding Northwestern Army
The above is an extract from the terms of the capitulation of Fort Detroit. Lieut.-Colonel John Macdonell, Provincial Aide-de-Camp and Attorney General of Upper Canada, arranged these terms for his chief, Major-General Brock. Had he no other title to fame but the military genius and diplomatic ability displayed on the occasion of this brilliant exploit by his Major-General,
Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonell would be one of our national heroes.
The following letter from the Duke of York, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, forwarded to his family after his death, was received, together with a gold medal, by the grandfather of Mr. John Greenfield Macdonell, of Alexandria.
Horse Guards, May 16, 1820
"Sir:-The King having been graciously pleased to command that the officers present at the capture of Detroit should be permitted to wear a medal in commemoration of that victory. I have to transmit to you the medal which would have been conferred on the late Lieutenant-Colonel John Macdonell of the Canadian Militia, and which his Majesty has been pleased to direct should he deposited with his family as a token of respect which his Majesty entertains for the memory of that officer.
"I am, Sir, yours,
Duncan Macdonell, Esq.
Colonel John Macdonell, P. A. C. D., and Attorney General, has won his place among our national heroes, because of his conduct in another battle. The following extract from the narrative of Mr. F. B. Tupper, General Brock's biographer, will suffice to show why Colonel John Macdonell is buried with his chief at Queenston Heights, and has his name inscribed with that of General Brock on one of the noblest national monuments we have.
After describing in full the gallant General, Mr. Tupper continues,
"His Provincial Aide-de-Camp, Colonel MacDonell, of the Militia and Attorney-General of Upper Canada, a fine and promising young man, was mortally wounded soon after his chief and died the next day at the age of twenty-five years. He fell while gallantly charging, with the hereditary courage of his race, up the hill with one hundred and ninety men, chiefly of the York Volunteers, by which charge the enemy was compelled to spike the eighteen pounders in the battery there, and his memory will be cherished as long as courage and devotion are reverenced in the Province."
You may read his wonderful story in Sketches of Glengarry in Canada, written by his grandnephew, J. A. Macdonell, Greenfield. I take this occasion to say that I have been given much help by this hook and wish to thank the gentleman, not only for the generous encouragement he has given me, but also for the great service he has done, by his careful and painstaking research work, for those who would write a history of Glengarry.
Our national hero belongs to Glengarry. Our great-grand-fathers were proud of him. They chose him to represent them in the House of Assembly. Our grandfathers were proud of him - he inspired them to serve their country well. We are proud of him-you know the reason why!
The Story of a Catholic Mother.
While reading over the Catholic Highlands of Scotland by Father Blundell, 0. S. B., I came across these words, "Donald MacDonald entered the Seminary of Lismore in 1816, and later completed his studies in Rome." There is no further mention made of Donald MacDonald in the book, but I have been ableto discover his identity and give to readers of THE MESSENGER the story of the perseverance of his Highland Catholic mother.
Mrs. Angus MacDonald was the mother of twelve sons and two daughters. She was a woman of extreme energy and at the same time of sterling Catholic Faith. She was too poor to educate one of her sons for the priesthood, but as her son Donald expressed the desire to become a priest she decided to seek help from her bishop. She undertook to walk fifty Highland miles to interview his Lordship on the subject.
When she was taken into his presence, she asked him in Gaelic: "Will you educate my son Donald for the priesthood? I am too poor to educate him myself."
He replied, "My good woman, we also are very poor and we cannot educate your son Donald."
She obtained a second interview in the afternoon and addressed his Lordship thus:
"Will you educate my son Donald for the priesthood if I send my daughter Margaret to work in your kitchen?"
The bishop replied, "My good woman, we cannot refuse your request."
Donald entered Lismore College where he was successful in his studies. He was sent to Valladolid in Spain and from there to Rome. With him were six other students, among them were William Kennedy who did not persevere in his vocation to the priesthood. He came to Glengarry and his daughter was the wife of Alexander MacDonald, known to Glengarrians as Brother Paul.
Another of the students named Donald MacGregor also came to Glengarry and was for many years professor of the College at St. Raphael's. The only one of the seven to become a priest was Donald MacDonald. He had made a very brilliant course and was also to have to come to Canada, to Glengarry. While he was in Rome, his father and mother, his brothers and sisters had immigrated to Canada, and they settled in the parish of St. Raphael's.
His mother undertook another long journey on foot to interview the bishop, this time the Rt. Rev. Alexander MacDonell, first Bishop of Ontario. This time the conversation was also in Gaelic. Her words to the bishop were, "Bishop, will you write to the bishop in Scotland, and ask him to permit my son Donald to come to Canada." The bishop replied, "No, we will not write to the bishop in Scotland, but you will write yourself to the bishop in Scotland and make your request. He will not refuse you.
The letter was sent and permission was granted, but the newly ordained Donald, by some mishap, failed to take the sailing vessel, in which at first he intended to sail. It was some months before another vessel could sail; meanwhile, the brilliant young priest was stricken with a fatal Roman fever, and died before he could even reach Scotland.
His brothers were well known in Glengarry and Stormont. One of them was George of Athol, another was Alex MacDonald of Munroe's Mills, father of Duncan A. MacDonald, postmaster of Alexandria, another was James of Glen Nevis, father of Rev. Ranald MacDonald, Williamstown.
Mothers of Glengarry!!! Are you prepared to make sacrifices to educate your children? Our bishop has asked from each person who pays dues the sum of one dollar for a diocesan tax to form a fund for Seminary purposes. Be generous towards the support of students studying for the priesthood. Would that there were more Mrs. Angus MacDonalds! Would that the bishops wouldalways have funds to educate all who present themselves to be disciples of the Master!
St Alexander's Parish - St Finnan's - From A Pastor's Breviary -
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