Transcribed by Sean Furniss
The Right Reverend Bishop Fink Administered the Sacrament of
REVEREND ALOYSIUS CARIUS.
(By B. J. Sheridan.)
For about three years, beginning with 1883, Reverend Father A. Carius was in charge of this parish. He was a Frenchman of deep learning, who had traveled much, and was then in the autumn of life. His first charges in America were in the South, and he was at New Orleans when the Civil War broke out. From there he went into the Confederate Army as chaplain, and with the exception of some two years that he was stationed in charge of a parish in Texas, he stayed with the Confederate forces until the close of the war. In 1866, he got the appointment of chaplain in the United States Army, and served at different places until about 1868, or 1869. Just when he came to this diocese is not known to the writer, but his advent to Paola was soon after the presidential election of 1880.
In looking after his priestly duties he was very industrious, prompt and devout. The dwelling was old and lacked the ordinary comforts necessary to a man of his age and habits and the pay of a parish priests was small. He had been accustomed to more money, and it was hard for him to accommodate himself to the cramped way. In fact, he often complained, saying: "This is a neckel (nickle) parish." However, no hardship was to great for him to undergo in serving any of his people. Neither stress of weather, answering sick calls, in Osage township some eight miles distant. In manner he was blunt and outspoken. He wrote an even, rather feminine hand and his letters were models of accuracy and choice language.
Paola never had a more versatile priest. Others were more fluent speakers, many of them orators of remarkable research and natural gifts, but none surpassed Father Carius in range of learning. He absorbed libraries, and his eyes were ever full of many things he had seen in his world travels. Most of the time in his parish he had no housekeeper, so he was priest, secretary, cook and janitor. Father Balmes's "European Civilization" Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Jefferson's letters to Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Father Ryan's Poems, and Longfellow were secular works that he spoke of most frequently.
Party feeling ran high in the campaign of 1884, and the word got out that Father Carius had been in the Confederate Army. He was strong for Grover Cleveland, T. M. Carroll of Paola, who was formerly a Democrat, and then a Republican, challenged the vote of Father Carius, upon the ground that his political disabilities had never been removed. The challenge came nearly starting a riot, but didn't prevent the judges from accepting the challenged vote. When quiet was restored, and a bloody face or two wiped off, Father Carius stepped before the election board, uncovered, and straightened to his full height, said:
"Yes, gentleman, I was in the Confederate service, I served as chaplain a few years, encountering hardships that I hope to never encounter again. After the Stars and Bars went down to defeat, I accepted from the victors their terms, and I at once took up the work of restoration; of making our country one country again. Soon I was offered the position of chaplain in the United States Army and there I served nearly as long as I did in the Confederate Army. I am a servant of God first, and of this, my country next. That's all I have to say."
The following winter in the Legislative session of 1885, a friend of Father Carius, to make sure of avoiding another scene at some future election, handed the priest's name to Honorable Ed Carroll, state senator from Leavenworth county, and it was included with others in the list often carried through the different sessions, restoring to full citizenship those who participated in the War of the Rebellion. Mr. Carroll, who was a Catholic gentleman, as well as a Democrat, saw to it that the bill passed both houses, and was duly signed by the governor. But when the published list fell under the priest's eye, he was much enraged, and gave his friend a rather severe tongue-lashing. He contended that no disabilities could attach to his name because of the nature of the services rendered in the Confederate Army and, further, because he had afterward rendered the same services in the Army of the United States. It was explained to him that able lawyers differed on this point, and that the Legislative Act was not uncomplimentary, but merely a formal course according to the usages of the day; and that, further, it cleared up the matter so there could be no adverse criticism in time to come. Father Carius accepted the explanation after he had studied it over for a week and by letters to his friends and to Mr. Carroll, expressed gratitude for what had been done on his behalf.
This good, old-fashioned priest was transferred from Paola to some other charge in about the year 1885, and was never back here but once after leaving; this was on a stormy Sunday in the winter, and all of the small children, who happened to be out that day, gathered around the noble old priest, greeting him fondly and affectionately. His love for children seemed to be uppermost in his makeup.
Of this remarkable man Father Hayden of Topeka, writes:
"Father Carius had the distinction of being chaplain in the war with Mexico as well as in the Civil War, and was present at the execution of Maximillian. A stranger to the ways of polite society, of rough and ready manner, as well as careless of dress and appearance, he was possessed of a large and generous heart, was a deep thinker and had very high intellectual attainments, for which his average acquaintance gave him no credit. He was light-hearted and happy, the soul of wit and good humor, cared nothing for appearances, and was lavish in his charity." (From notes by Very Rev. F. M. Hayden, LL.D.) In his latter years Farther Carius was chaplain of a convent in St. Louis; in his last illness he was cared for in the Sister's Hospital where he died a holy death and was buried in the priests' circle in the Catholic cemetery of that city.
The Right Reverend Bishop Fink Administered the Sacrament of
REVEREND MICHAEL J. GLEASON.
The immediate successor of Father Carius was Father Gleason. He was a young man lately ordained at Alleghany, New York, for the diocese of Kansas City and was lent by Bishop Hogan to the diocese of Leavenworth for the time being. He was fresh from seminary studies in Ireland--a bright, eloquent and high spirited young man, a real Celt--with all the virtues and some of the faults of his race. He was the first and only pastor that Paola has had from the beginning to the present time who was born in Ireland. Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, and England are represented in the long list to which America has added distinguished names, but Father Gleason up to these last years stood alone as the representative of Ireland. He proved himself a worth successor of Fathers Hoecken, Aelen, Ponziglione, Wattron and Hurley. His difficulties were no less great than theirs but he met them all successfully.
When he arrived in Paola about the tenth of August, 1835, he fell into deep dejection of spirit; it was all so strange, so new, so uninviting; the new church was like a barn, the rectory was miserable with is cellar filled with water and its larder empty.
In the midst of his anxieties he found one good angel and that was Miles Finn. Mr. Finn encouraged him and befriended him in every way.
On the 15th of August he said his second Mass at Paola. Some of the people called on him after the service and assured him of their good will and loyal support. There were some children in the crowd and they attracted his attention at once; this was the first ray of sunshine which never afterwards left him--the love of the little ones, the companionship of the children.
To adjust himself to the new and strange conditions must have been an ordeal. To get on to the roads, to find the missions and to become acquainted with his scattered people was, of course, his first duty. Father Hurley had left a good buggy for his use and Joseph Dalton presented him with a fine horse, so that he was soon able to begin the exploration of Miami county, Linn county and a part of Johnson county before the winter of 1885-6 set in. He found the interior of the church unplastered and unfinished. He at once set to work to complete the building in all its details. He proved himself to be a good collector, a great rustler, and a terror to the laggard and the slacker. He enjoyed a good fight, and still more the friendship that usually followed it. He never harbored enmity and the quick temper was soon changed to gentleness, and when necessary an apology was given or taken and good fellowship established forthwith. He had elements in him of a true sportsman. After the plastering of the church was completed the ladies set to work once more to furnish the sanctuary and the sacristy; the vestments, the altar linens, the statues, stained glass windows and a full set of new pews were added. The Communion railing and the Stations of the Cross were finally put in place and thus came to a close a struggle of five years during which men and women of the parish vied with one another in making the House of God one of the fairest and most devotional churches in the state.
The little frame rectory needed repairs; it had grown old and dilapidated since the days of Father Wattron and never had any modern conveniences. Now it was repainted, plaster-patched and repapered; the ladies found means to add some new furniture, a set of delf for the dining room and other little comforts.
About this time five acres of ground, now Holy Cross Cemetery, was purchased from Andrew Joyce and filed for record September 14, 1885, it being part N. E. 1/4, Sec. 22, Twp. 17, Range 23, as seen in Book 48, page 122 of County Recorder's office.
The transfer of bodies from the old cemetery was made during Father Gleason's time. The first interment in the new cemetery was that of Catherine Sheehy. His last act while pastor of Paola was to obtain a deed to the ground in Osawatomie on which St. Philip's church now stands. This plot of ground had been donated by the town company years before for the use of a Catholic Church but it was never claimed until now (1889).
This was the first step in the establishment of a church at Osawatomie under his successor, Father O'Connor. Like his predecessors, Father Gleason drove to Edgerton once a month in all seasons, a distance of twenty miles north. The State Hospital at Osawatomie was always attended from Paola, but Mass was not then celebrated there. La Cygne and other points in Linn county were visited.
Father Gleason accomplished a great deal during the few years he was pastor of Paola. Bishop Hogan recalled him finally to Kansas City in the spring of 1889 and made him pastor of a new parish which Father Gleason named the "Holy Trinity" after the church at Paola. he retained a warm affection for this, his first charge and once remarked, in after years, that his happiest days were spent at Paola. The reader understands, of course, that such meager outlines of a priest's live as is here given are far from adequately expressing the entirety of his labors; the important part--his Sacerdotal office is seldom referred to and, yet, it is in that and through that that he is really effective for good, rather than through any material success or financial ability he may possess. It is the priest as such rather than the builder or the money getter that counts. Is he a man of prayer? is he an humble preacher of the Word "in season and out of season?" Is he a spirtual director of souls in the Sacrament of Penance? Is he zealous for the welfare of the sick and the dying? Is he a lover of little children, as may be seen by his delight in bringing them to Chris? In one word, is he a priest of God rather than a "social lion?" For this he was educated, unto this was he called, and to fail here is to suffer shipwreck, or at least to become an unprofitable servant. The Catholic reader understands all this and, therefore, there is no need to refer to it further in these pages.
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