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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


    Among those who hastened to the country's defence on this occasion was Richard, son of Captain Michael McGuire, who raised a company of volunteers, in which he was ably assisted by Father Gallitzin, whose soldier nature had long outstripped his Federal politics. Nothing could be more touching than the departure of this little band from Loretto. After mass, at which each member received Communion, they were drawn up in front of the church, their banner blessed with the greatest solemnity, a parting blessing given with an exhortation to courage, to faithful devotion to God and their country, fresh from the heart of the soldier priest who bade farewell to each as to a beloved son.
    Sometime afterwards, two members of Captain Richard's company returned home without permission, and on the following Sunday morning held forth to the usual crowd around the church, telling of their marvelous adventures by field and flood, and making themselves the heroes of the hour, in spite of the shadow of uncertainty concerning the propriety of their unexpected reappearance. They enjoyed the wonder, the attention of their audience until Father Gallitzin appearing at the door of his cabin, the usual hush of respect and expectancy took place, while they watched him coming brightly, cheerily and stately as ever along the path to the church. Then it was that one of the travelers, concealing all embarrassment under an appearance of heartiness, went forward with outstretched hand to receive the expected “welcome home.” But Father Gallitzin's slender hand kept its place clasped behind his back, and the dark eyes raised to the face before him expressed surprise but no welcome. “I never shake hands with one who deserts his post," he said quietly and passed on. The rebuke was so pointed that the deserters, from self-constituted heroes, became objects of pity and commiseration.

    It was during this time of real persecution (1806-07) that his enemies, their ranks recruited by two or three, worse even than themselves, wild “border ruffians,” who, attracted

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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