Cornelius James Kirkfleet.

The life of Patrick Augustine Feehan : bishop of Nashville, first archbishop of Chicago, 1829-1902 online

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THE UNIVERSITY



OF ILLINOIS



LIBRARY



F^95lc



OF




THE MOST REV. P. A. FEEHAN, D. D.



THE LIFE

of ^

Patrick Augustine Feehan

BISHOP OF NASHVILLE
FIRST ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO

1829-1902

By

The Reverend Cornelius J. Kirkfleet, Ord. Praem.
Author of the "History of St. Norbert"

With Introduction by

The Right Reverend Peter James Muldoon, D. D.

Bishop of Rockford, 111.




With Sixteen Illustrations



Published by

MATRE & COMPANY

CHICAGO
1922



Approbatio Or dints

Die 16 Jan. 1922 Depere, Wis.



B. H. Pennings, O. Praem.
Prior.



Nihil Obstat

Joannes B. Furay, S. J.

Censor Deputatus



Imprimatur

*& Georgius Gulielmus Mundelein

Archiepiscopus Chicagiensis
Die 6 Februarii 1922



COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY
MATEE & COMPANY

All Eights Reserved
Printed in the United States



J



TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS . xi

PREFACE xiii

INTRODUCTION xv

CHAPTER I
HIS CHILDHOOD

HIS BIRTH HIS PARENTS THE FEEHAN FAMILY OF
ANCIENT LINEAGE THE IRISH A UBIQUITOUS RACE
PHIL. KEARNEY THE ARCHBISHOP'S PHYSIQUE HIS
IDEAL CATHOLIC HOME-LIFE HIS EDUCATION HIS
LOVE FOR BOOKS THE BALL-ALLEY AT THE HOME
OF HIS GRANDFATHER THE O'CONNELL MONSTER-
MEETINGS HE RETURNS TO HIS HOME THE IVY-
COVERED TREE . . . . . . 1-10

CHAPTER II
THE YOUNG MAN

CONDITION OF THE POOR IN THOSE DAYS YOUNG FEEHAN
TAKES THEIR PART IS FOND OF ATHLETICS BARNEY
HEALY TAKES THE PLEDGE PATRICK STUDIES GAELIC
IS KNOWN TO BE DESTINED FOR THE MINISTRY IS
GUIDED BY HIS FATHER IN READING MATTER DEATH
OF HIS SISTER HE TELLS HIS MOTHER OF HIS VOCA-
TION GOES TO CASTLE KNOCK CHARLES RUSSELL
THE FAMILY LEAVES IRELAND PATRICK'S LOVE FOR
HIS PATRON SAINT HIS COMING TO AMERICA . 11-21

CHAPTER III
THE MISSIONARY

SAYS FAREWELL TO HIS NATIVE COUNTRY AT THE SEM-
INARY OF CARONDELET IS ORDAINED TO THE PRIEST-
HOOD IN ST. LOUIS TEACHES IN THE SEMINARY THE

iii



i



694604



iv TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

TALENTED YOUNG PREACHER CHOLERA EPIDEMIC IN
ST. LOUIS MRS. GOTSEL, THE HOUSEKEEPER FEEHAN
IS MADE PRESIDENT OF CARONDELET BECOMES PAS-
TOR NEVER ASKS FOR MONEY THE PRIEST OF THE
POOR HIS VISITS TO THE JAIL HE HELPS THE
PRISONERS HIS VISITS TO HIS MOTHER ESTABLISHES
A HOSPITAL FOR WOUNDED SOLDIERS MAKES NUMER-
OUS CONVERTS 22-33

CHAPTER IV
THE BISHOP OF NASHVILLE

DEATH OF HIS MOTHER IS MADE BISHOP OF NASHVILLE
HIS CONSECRATION IN ST. LOUIS HIS ARRIVAL IN
NASHVILLE CONDITIONS IN THE SOUTH THE DIOCESE
A BARREN MORASS CONSEQUENCES OF THE WAR THE
BISHOP BRINGS LIFE INTO THE DIOCESE THE DOMIN-
ICAN SISTERS THE BISHOP'S LOVE FOR THE ORPHANS
HIS LOVE FOR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS THE CHOLERA
EPIDEMIC IN NASHVILLE 34-43




HIS WORK THROUGHOUT THE DIOCESE RESULTS OF HIS
EFFORTS SOON VISIBLE SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES ON
HIS VISITATION TOURS THE CHURCH AT MEMPHIS
TRANSFER OF FATHER WALSH THE BISHOP'S AN-
SWER TO THE COMMITTEE SOME FINE TRAITS OF
CHARACTER CALVARY CEMETERY AT MEMPHIS HOW
THE BISHOP HATED FLATTERY HIS AVERSION TO
TRAVEL AN AMUSING INCIDENT HIS WORK OF FIF-
TEEN YEARS IN THE DIOCESE .... 44-54

CHAPTER VI
THE YELLOW FEVER EPIDEMIC

THE EXTENT OF THE PLAGUE EVERY WORSHIPPER AT
CHURCH IN MOURNING IN MEMPHIS TWENTY NUNS
AND FIVE PRIESTS DIE THE DOMINICAN FATHERS



TABLE OF CONTENTS v

PAGE

THE FEVER OF 1878 ACTS OF HEROISM OF BISHOP AND
PRIESTS NAMES OF PRIEST-HEROES TRYING POSITION
OF BISHOP FEEHAN HE PREACHES THE FUNERAL ORA-
TION OF TWELVE OF HIS PRIESTS . . . 55-65

CHAPTER VII
THE BISHOP LEAVES NASHVILLE

CHICAGO MADE AN ARCHBISHOPRIC BISHOP FEEHAN AP-
POINTED ARCHBISHOP HIS FAREWELL A COMMITTEE
WAITS ON HIM THEIR SPEECHES A PURSE IS PRE-
SENTED TO HIM THE BISHOP'S LOVE FOR THE
SOUTH THE ADDRESS OF THE CLERGY ON THE
TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ORDINATION A
LETTER FROM FATHER GLEESON BISHOP FEEHAN AND
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHTS OF AMERICA . . 66-78

CHAPTER VIII
HIS COMING TO CHICAGO

HIS ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION HIS INVESTITURE READ-
ING OF PAPAL BULL THE SERMON BY ARCHBISHOP
FEEHAN FURTHER DETAILS OF THE CELEBRATION 79-95

CHAPTER IX
RECEPTION OF THE PALLIUM

DETAILS OF THE SOLEMN INSTALLATION IN THE CATHE-
DRAL THE SERMON BY BISHOP HOGAN MEANING OF
THE PALLIUM WHEN AND HOW MADE AND BLESSED
THE PALLIUM IS PLACED UPON HIS SHOULDERS . 96-114

CHAPTER X
THE ARCHBISHOP

CONDITION OF THE DIOCESE HIS FIRST OFFICIAL ACT THE
CONSECRATION OF BISHOP MC MULLEN DEATH OF
FATHER ST. CYR THE CONSECRATION OF BISHOP



vi TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

RIORDAN THE ARCHBISHOP IS SUMMONED TO ROME
A TESTIMONIAL BANQUET ADDRESS BY VICAR GENERAL
CONWAY REPLY BY THE ARCHBISHOP A FULL AC-
COUNT OF THE DEPARTURE .... 115-126

CHAPTER XI
HIS RETURN FROM ROME

A LARGE DELEGATION MEETS HIM OBJECT OF HIS MISSION
IN ROME DETAILED ACCOUNT OF THE ARCHBISHOP'S
RECEPTION AT VALPARAISO THE SPEECHES HIS RE-
TURN TO CHICAGO THE GRAND DEMONSTRATION HE
SPEAKS IN THE CATHEDRAL THE WELCOME FROM HIS
CLERGY ADDRESS OF FATHER CONWAY THE WEL-
COME FROM THE LAITY ADDRESS BY HON. HENRY F.

SHERIDAN SPEECHES IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES 127-148

CHAPTER XII
ECCLESIASTICAL DISCIPLINE

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BALTIMORE COUNCIL THE ARCH-
BISHOP'S INTEREST IN EDUCATION THE SCHOOLS HE
BUILT IN CHICAGO THE GREAT FINANCIER A CELE-
BRATED LAW CASE PROGRESS OF THE ARCHDIOCESE
THE FIRST DIOCESAN SYNOD PERMANENT RECTORS
APPOINTED BOARD OF SCHOOL EXAMINERS RURAL
DEANS 149-166

CHAPTER XIII
FEEHANVILLE

GENERAL CONDITIONS IN CHICAGO INFLUENCE OF THE
PRIESTHOOD PLANS ARE FORMED FOR AN INDUSTRIAL
TRAINING SCHOOL LAYING OF THE CORNERSTONE
STATE ASSISTANCE THE CHARTER SOLEMN DEDICA-
TION ACCOUNT OF THE CELEBRATION VARIOUS
SPEECHES BUILDINGS DESTROYED BY FIRE SCHEDULE
OF ASSESSMENT OF PARISHES FOR REBUILDING 167-188



TABLE OF CONTENTS vii

CHAPTER XIV
HIS SILVER JUBILEE

PAGE

A SPECTACLE OF MAGNIFICENCE THE CELEBRATION IN THE
CATHEDRAL THE SERMON BY BISHOP HOGAN THE
DINNER ADDRESS BY VICAR GENERAL DOWLING THE
PROGRAMME THE CELEBRATION AT NIGHT THE
MARCHING 189-200

CHAPTER XV
THE CHILDREN'S CELEBRATION

FIVE THOUSAND CHILDREN PRESENT THE PROGRAMME
TWO ADDRESSES FROM THE ORPHANS ADDRESS BY THE
BOYS FROM FEEHANVILLE SPEECH BY ARCHBISHOP
FEEHAN POEM BY JOHN T. MC NELLIS 201-211




(Second Day)

THE ARCHBISHOP IS SHOWN TO BE A FATHER TO ALL
NATIONALITIES THE ADDRESSES IN VARIOUS LAN-
GUAGES ADDRESS BY THE NEGRO CATHOLICS
SPEECH OF THE ARCHBISHOP HIS GRATITUDE . 212-219

CHAPTER XVII
THE PROGRESS OF THE CHURCH

INCREASE OF CATHOLIC POPULATION IN CHICAGO INCREASE
IN NUMBER OF CHURCHES, SCHOOLS AND CHARITABLE
ORGANIZATIONS THE "NEW WORLD" IS ESTABLISHED-
LIST OF ORIGINAL PROMOTERS THE CONSECRATION OF
BISHOP DUNNE MASTERFUL ADDRESS OF THE ARCH-
BISHOP ON CATHOLIC EDUCATION HIS GENEROSITY

HIS KINDNESS TO THE NUNS HIS UNTIRING EFFORTS

IN BEHALF OF THE OUTCAST OF SOCIETY 220-233



viii TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER XVIII
THE FRIEND OF CATHOLIC SOCIETIES

PAGE
WHY CERTAIN SOCIETIES WERE CONDEMNED BY ROME

THE ARCHBISHOP GRASPS THE SITUATION HE AN-
TICIPATES THE ENCYCLICAL LETTER OF POPE LEO XIII
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHTS OF AMERICA HIS LOVE FOR
ALL CATHOLIC SOCIETIES HE- BECOMES THEIR CHAM-
PION HIS DEFENSE OF THE A. O. H. THE TESTIMONY
OF ARCHBISHOP IRELAND THE PROMOTER OF TEM-
PERANCE SOCIETIES HIS SPEECH AT THE TEM-
PERANCE CONGRESS IN CHICAGO SKETCH OF THE
ORIGIN OF THE CATHOLIC ORDER OF FORESTERS . 234-257

CHAPTER XIX
THE WORLD'S FAIR

ARCHBISHOP FEEHAN PRESIDENT OF THE SECOND CATHOLIC
CONGRESS TOPICS TREATED HIS WELCOME SPEECH
THE GENERAL INTEREST IN THE CONGRESS THE
CATHOLIC EDUCATIONAL DAY THE ADDRESS OF THE
ARCHBISHOP THE MAGNIFICENT CATHOLIC EXHIBIT

THE "PROTECTOR OF OUR SCHOOLS" . . . 25&-27G

CHAPTER XX
HIS LOVE OF IRELAND

SPEECH ON MOORE SERMON ON ST. PATRICK SPEECH IN
ANSWER TO THE TOAST: "THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY
AND CLERGY OF IRELAND" HIS LOVE FOR THE IRISH
SOCIETIES COLONEL FINERTY'S COMMENT HIS LOVE
FOR AMERICA THE TRUE AMERICAN HIS LOVE FOR
THE AMERICAN FLAG 277-298

CHAPTER XXI

BISHOP McGAVICK'S CONSECRATION

ARCHBISHOP FEEHAN'S FAILING HEALTH CONSECRATION
OF BISHOP MC GAVICK THE DINNER SPEECH BY THE



TABLE OF CONTENTS ix

PAGE

ARCHBISHOP SPEECH OF BISHOP MC GAVICK ILLNESS
OF THE NEW AUXILIARY PETITION FOR OTHER
AUXILIARY 299-305

CHAPTER XXII
BISHOP MULDOON'S CONSECRATION

IMPRESSIVE SCENE AT THE CATHEDRAL OFFICERS OF THE
MASS THE NUMBER OF BISHOPS AND PRIESTS THE
CELEBRATION THE REV. TINAN'S SPEECH ANSWER
BY THE ARCHBISHOP SPEECH OF REV. THIELE
ANSWER BY BISHOP MULDOON THE GREAT DEMON-
STRATION AT NIGHT , 306-319




HIS SUDDEN DEATH COMMENTS BY VICAR-GENERAL FITZ-
SIMMONS AND MR. LUTHER LAFLIN BODY LIES IN
STATE NOTICES FOR FUNERAL CONDITION OF THE
ARCHDIOCESE STATISTICS TRIBUTE BY NEWSPAPERS
LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE .... 320-335

CHAPTER XXIV
THE SOLEMN FUNERAL

A MOST IMPOSING CEREMONY OFFICERS OF THE MASS
DIGNITARIES PRESENT SERMON BY ARCHBISHOP RYAN
REFERENCE TO THE CROWLEY SCANDAL THE RELA-
TIVES OF THE ARCHBISHOP PROCESSION TO THE
CEMETERY REMOVAL OF THE BODY THE MONU-
MENT 336-347

CHAPTER XXV
ECHOES OF THE FUNERAL

EDITORIAL COMMENT BY SECULAR PAPERS : TRIBUNE, INTER-
OCEAN, DAILY NEWS, JOURNAL AND EVENING POST
CATHOLIC PRESS COMMENT: PITTSBURGH OBSERVER,



TABLE OF CONTENTS

CATHOLIC JOURNAL AND NEWS, MEMPHIS, TENN.,
IOWA CATHOLIC MESSENGER, THE REVIEW, ST. LOUIS,
MO., THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSE, THE CATHOLIC TRAN-
SCRIPT, THE WESTERN WATCHMAN, THE NEW
WORLD 348-^366



BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY . 367



APPENDIX DOCUMENTS

NO. 1. TESTIMONIAL LETTERS OF THE ORDINATION OF

PATRICK FEEHAN 369

NO. 2. BRIEF OF NOMINATION OF FATHER FEEHAN TO THE

SEE OF NASHVILLE, TENN 370-372

NO. 3-4. LETTERS OF CARDINAL SIMEONI TO BISHOP

FEEHAN 373-374

NO. 5. BULL OF THE ELEVATION OF BISHOP FEEHAN TO

THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO . . . 374-376

NO. 6. BULL OF ERECTION OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF

CHICAGO 376-378

NO. 7. LETTER FROM THE APOSTOLIC DELEGATE CONCERN-
ING THE REV. JEREMIAH J. CROWLEY . 378-379

NO. 8. LETTERS OF EXCOMMUNICATION OF THE REV. J. J.

CROWLEY . . 380-381



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

THE MOST REV. P. A. FEEHAN, D. D. . . Frontispiece

FEEHAN THE STUDENT . . ' 18

FEEHAN AT CARONDOLET 26

THE BISHOP OF NASHVILLE, TENN. .... 34
THE RT. REV. JOHN MCMULLEN, D. D. . . .79
THE MOST REV. PATRICK W. RIORDAN, D. D. . . 117

THE VERY REV. P. J. CONWAY, V. G 127

THE RT. REV. MAURICE F. BURKE, D. D. . . . 160
THE VERY REV. D. M. J. BOWLING, V. G. . . . 194
THE VERY REV. JAMES McGovERN, D. D. . . . 212
THE RT. REV. EDWARD JOSEPH DUNNE, D. D. . . 224

THE PROTECTOR OF OUR SCHOOLS 273

THE RT. REV. ALEXANDER J. MCGAVICK, D. D. . . 299
THE RT. REV. PETER JAMES MULDOON, D. D. . . 306
THE VERY REV. M. J. FITZSIMMONS, V. G. . . . 322
MOTHER MARY CATHERINE FEEHAN . 345



PREFACE

DURING the summer of 1918 great interest was
aroused in local Catholic historical matters by the
organization of the Illinois Catholic Historical Society.
The first number of its excellent Review appeared in
July and caused not only history to be the topic of
conversation in many Catholic circles, but also led a
number of people to rummage through old papers and
family relics hidden in closets and covered with dust.
I was visiting friends at the time and was given the
pleasure of glancing through an old scrap-book kept
for years by a pious nun in one of the convents of
Chicago. It contained newspaper clippings, speeches,
articles, etc., that had reference to Patrick Augustine
Feehan, first Archbishop of Chicago. The more I read
the more deeply I became interested in the life of this
providential servant of God and resolved to rescue this
historical material from oblivion. I began gathering
data about his early life and found a kind and enthu-
siastic helper in the Rt. Rev. P. J. Muldoon, D. D.,
Bishop of Rockford, 111. With the substantial assistance
of this intimate friend of Archbishop Feehan I tried
to retouch that beautiful portrait, fading perhaps from
the memory of a large number of friends and admirers.
Credit should also be given to the Rev. James J.
McGovern, D. D., author of the "Souvenir of the Most
Rev. P. A. Feehan's Silver Jubilee." Furthermore,
the interesting works of the Rev. D. A. Quinn, "Heroes
and Heroines of Memphis," and the proceedings of the
"World's Catholic Congresses and Educational Ex-
hibit," published by J. S. Hyland and Co. in 1893, fur-

xiii



xiv PREFACE

nished me with numerous data and interesting accounts
of the various happenings of this period.

To what extent I have succeeded in retouching the
fading portrait, the reader may judge; I at least have
the satisfaction of having saved the historical material
scattered through books and papers, as well as the per-
sonal recollections of some intimate friends of the great
Metropolitan of Chicago.

THE AUTHOR.

Sept. 13, 1921.

St. Patrick's Church,

Maytown, Sublette, 111.



INTRODUCTION

WHEN the author of this biography asked me to
write a short Introduction, I was reading "The
Centennial History of Illinois." With sadness I
noticed that in the chapter devoted to "The Growth
of Education, Art and Letters," for the years 1893-
1918, with the exception of two and one-half lines refer-
ring to one high school, there was nothing said of the
great Catholic school system comprising grammar and
high schools, colleges and universities. Also in the
chapter "Illinois and the Great War" there is not
even a passing mention of the large share the Catholic
schools of all grades had in assisting the various relief
organizations during the war. We are told that, "The
State Council of Defense received valuable assistance
and co-operation from the public schools of the State,
and from the University of Illinois, the State Normal
Schools, the University of Chicago, Northwestern Uni-
versity and the colleges." This statement permits the
reader to suspect that the parochial schools and the
Catholic institutions for higher education of the State
of Illinois held back and did not do their full share. I
doubt if any were more patriotic in the great crisis or
worked more diligently to give aid and to sustain the
authority of the State and Nation than did the pupils
and teachers in our institutions.

Why these omissions? I cannot believe that it is
entirely intentional; but it is surprising to find state
historians apparently knowing so little of the great
moral, cultural, and educational force constantly at
work in the State of Illinois. I think, in part, we

XV



xvi INTRODUCTION

Catholics are to blame, as we have not put the glorious
records of the Catholic Church in the State in more
acceptable and obtainable form. What a blessing a
history of the Catholic Church in Illinois would be!
Such a work would make it impossible for any fair
historian to pass by the magnificent work of the Church
in an article on "The Growth of Education, Art and
Letters," during a most fertile period of our State
history (1893-1918). Again, how useful would be a
history of the sacrifices, achievements and struggles of
the Church in this State in the iclass-rooms of our
Catholic schools !

The present volume is given to the public with the
affectionate desire to perpetuate by a feeble tribute of
respect and admiration the memory of the Most Rev-
erend Patrick Augustine Feehan, truly worthy of being
entered among the "Makers of America." He left his
native land when ecclesiastical superiors would have
been happy to retain him on account of his unusual
talents, and when his Alma Mater desired to crown him
with honors by placing him in the professor's chair.
He brushed aside all offers that he might with zeal
and sacrifice defend and expound the cause of Christ
in the then Far West. He would be the shepherd of
scattered immigrants rather than the professor of the
clerical youth of Ireland. The very motive power
renders such a life interesting. To be driven by God's
grace to give up the conveniences that are inherent to
a well-established ecclesiastical order, for the sacrifices,
uncertainties, and hardships of a missionary life, makes
the recipient of such a vocation well worthy of more
than passing notice.

How faithfully this talented son of Erin followed
the call of the Holy Spirit this biography endeavors



INTRODUCTION xvii

to relate. That it is a complete work the author does
not pretend, as we are yet too close to the majestic
figure. Future historians will, no doubt, give an ampler
and more perfect account of the life and deeds of the
first Archbishop of Chicago. All major ascertainable
facts have been given here, but, unfortunately for the
biographer, his subject kept little in the way of cor-
respondence, and the few letters and documents that
came from his portfolio did not concern the most im-
portant phases of his life. This volume, however, will
keep in permanent form the larger engagements of this
faithful soldier of the Cross. I think the author has
drawn a faithful picture of Archbishop Feehan, and
all who knew him will find pleasure in lingering with
loving admiration over the features of this spiritual
father and friend.

Throughout the work you will find Archbishop Fee-
han ever the same quiet, retiring gentleman. As Arch-
bishop Ryan said: "He was the same as a young priest
in St. Louis as he was as Archbishop of Chicago." He
never complained of difficulties and never shirked a
duty. Quietly and without comment he accepted the
hard conditions that were present when he went to
Nashville. The work of reconstruction was accom-
plished so quietly and apparently so easily that all were
surprised.

When the Archbishop came to Chicago, the city was
still bearing the marks of the great fire and recovering
from the effects of the financial panic of 1873. The
history of immigration shows that following each finan-
cial panic the stream of immigrants has lessened. Thus
after 1873 immigration was comparatively small and in
1878 the number of immigrants was only 138,000,
whereas in 1873 it was 457,000. However, in 1880,

2 Feb. 22.



xviii INTRODUCTION

when Archbishop Feehan came to Chicago they num-
bered above 400,000, and in 1882 a new record was
made with 789,000. The Italian immigrants coming to
this country in 1870 numbered 3,000; in 1880, 12,000,
and in 1890 their number was 100,000. Also the Slavs
came in large numbers during these same years, and
unfortunately most of these immigrants went to the
large centers of population. Chicago saw them coming
to her gates in unusually great numbers. The Catholic
proportion of this army was very great and the question
was how to give churches and schools to this multitude,
poor in the goods of this world, and without a knowl-
edge of the English language. The Archbishop took
up the gigantic task without any misgiving or perturba-
tion. It was in nearly every respect a new situation
and required delicacy of judgment and unusual patience.
How well he accomplished his task the comparative
table of churches and schools (1880-1902) will tell
better than any words of mine. Through it all he had
great faith in the newly arrived immigrants for he often
said: "All will come out well, for these people have
faith."

He was most sympathetic toward all the races coming
to our shores and his idea of Americanization was kind-
ness, sympathy, coupled with aid during their first
years in the United States. He said once that he feared
the result if the newcomers would too rapidly discard
their old-country habits, customs, or language. The
change, he explained, would have to be gradual, and
come from their own appreciation of the United States
and the blessings conferred, rather than from a too
forced action from without. His idea was persuasion
rather than compulsion.

To provide priests, churches, and in part schools for



INTRODUCTION xix

these immigrants during the high tide of this exodus
from the Old World was a labor of love for him, and
that he enjoyed the affection and confidence of all the
elements of the great cosmopolitan city can be affirmed
without fear of contradiction.

On the pedestal of the marble statue of Archbishop
Feehan, which graced the Chicago Catholic school
exhibit at the World's Fair, these words were inscribed :
"Patron of Our Schools." His constant attention to
the welfare of the schools well merited this affectionate
tribute. It was during the administration of Arch-
bishop Feehan that the Archdiocese recorded more chil-
dren under Catholic care than any other diocese in the
Western States, and that record has been maintained
until the present, through the earnest solicitude of his
successors.

Sincere in thought and action, the only one the Arch-
bishop never understood was the flatterer or him who
acted a double part. His views were large, and his
heart was generous, but withal he was most economical
in his administration of church funds, and unusually
frugal in his personal habits. It can be said of Arch-
bishop Feehan, I think, without exaggeration, that he
was truly a Prince of the Church, in thought, word,
and deed.

The writing of this short Introduction affords me
an opportunity to publicly express my undying grati-
tude to my benefactor, friend and superior.

fi& PETER JAMES MULDOON, D. D.,

Bishop of Rockford, 111.



CHAPTER I

HIS CHILDHOOD

HIS BIRTH HIS PARENTS THE FEEHAN FAMILY OF ANCIENT
LINEAGE THE IRISH A UBIQUITOUS RACE PHIL KEAR-
NEY THE ARCHBISHOP'S PHYSIQUE HIS IDEAL CATHOLIC

HOME-LIFE HIS EDUCATION HIS LOVE FOR BOOKS THE
BALL-ALLEY AT THE HOME OF HIS GRANDFATHER THE
O'CONNELL MONSTER MEETINGS HE RETURNS HOME THE
IVY-COVERED TREE.

PATRICK AUGUSTINE FEEHAN., first Archbishop of
Chicago, was born August 28, 1829, at Killenaule,
County Tipperary, Ireland. His father, Patrick Fee-
han, was a man of large and robust body, of strong
and active mind, and remarkable for his distinguished
appearance, courtly manners, and scholarly attainments.
His mother also possessed many of those qualities that
were so strikingly noticeable in her distinguished son.
She was of a modest, retiring disposition, reserved and
unostentatious; intensely devoted to her children and
careful of keeping them from anything that in the
slightest degree might interfere with the old faith, of
which she was intensely proud, and to which she was
all her long life sincerely devoted.

The Feehan family is one of ancient lineage, as may
be inferred from an inscription engraved upon an old
tomb in a deserted cemetery. On a green slope in Innis-
fail, at the foot of Slievnamon in Tipperary, stands
within a deserted cemetery a Celtic cross, furrowed by
the storms of centuries : it was there when the first savage
Viking came to Erin, and when the last Dane was driven
out of the land; it was a silent witness to the ravages
of the more savage and "ruthless Cromwellian." At the
foot of this cross is the tomb worn and old as the cross



2 THE LIFE OF ARCHBISHOP FEEHAN

itself on which is engraved, in the Gaelic tongue,
"FEEHAN." The last of Archbishop Feehan's im-
mediate family buried there was a much loved sister.
The branch of the family from which the Archbishop is
immediately descended is that in the city of Waterf ord,
where for many years one of the members filled the office
of Lord Mayor. The brilliant and patriotic Thomas
Francis Meagher belonged to this same branch.

The Archbishop's father was the youngest of a family
of two sisters and three brothers. The sisters married
merchants in the city; the oldest brother, Martin, chose
the life of a farmer and settled in Graystown near the
old castle of that name, in the County Tipperary;
Edward, next in age, became a priest and died soon
after his ordination; the youngest, Patrick, left home to
visit the New World, either in order to escape his father's
solicitations to study for the bar, or on account of the
death of his beloved brother. He never reached the
New World, for during the voyage he suffered ship-
wreck. He lived for three days on an iceberg without
food or drink, and when at last he was rescued, he re-
turned to Ireland and settled on a farm near his brother
Martin's in Springhill. In 1825, February 21st, he
married Judith, the oldest daughter of John Cooney of
Coleman. 1 This family with its many branches, as well
as the family of the Feehans, gave many bishops, priests
and missionaries to foreign lands ; they have been called
"Levitical families." Their traditions are rich with

i The following record was found among 1 the Archbishop's papers:
"Ex registro hujus Parochiae constat Patritium Feehan de Killenaule et
Judith Cooney de Coleman junctos fuisse in matrimonium die 21a Februarii,
1825 testibus: Joanne Cooney, Alicia Cooney et aliis."



Online LibraryCornelius James KirkfleetThe life of Patrick Augustine Feehan : bishop of Nashville, first archbishop of Chicago, 1829-1902 → online text (page 1 of 28)