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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


    Father Gallitzin's house and church were then in a completely isolated site, far out of reach of ready assistance. A party, therefore, thought well to call upon him in his lonely residence, and to demand accession to their wishes, with no idea of limiting themselves to mere words if he refused. After opposing and defying them, and scorning to enter into any thought of compromise with them, he in an almost exhausted condition succeeded in reaching the church, to die at the alter should they dare to attack him in the house of God. No one knows what might have happened if the noise of the tumult had not attracted the attention of one John Weakland, who happened to be passing near, and brought him upon the scene. John was truly a remarkable character. He was the tallest and stoutest man within a radius of one hundred miles. It was mere amusement for him to capture a wolf with his bare hands, or to overpower the fiercest denizen of the forest armed only with a branch torn from the nearest tree. Withal he was inclined to peace, but roused by the peril of his beloved pastor, whom he had accompanied from Maryland to the mountains, he snatched up a fence rail, and his sudden appearance in the church caused the sacrilegious rioters to quickly disperse.

    The severe mountain winter 1839-40 was still lingering in excessive cold, and the roads were fast assuming their spring form of snow, mud and melting ice, when Lent with its multiplied duties and the increasing sick calls of the unhealthy season, came to exhaust Father Gallitzin's failing strength. The trouble resulting from a fall from his horse, when, returning from a sick call one night, years before, and which had prevented his ever riding again, now assumed a very serious form, always painful, and at time excruciatingly so. He went through all the services of Holy Week, and heard confessions for half a day at a time, at what cost could never be told. Early Easter morning he was in the confessional again, but was so exhausted by ten o'clock that he could only say a low mass, and give a short exhortation on

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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Lynne Canterbury, Diann Olsen and contributors