1944 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A 21 YEAR OLD CATHOLIC SEMINARIAN INTIMATELY SHARING HIS HIGHS AND LOWS AND TURMOIL OF STUDYING FOR THE PRIESTHOOD1615
On offer is an amazing, original 1944 manuscript diary handwritten by Robert Connelly, a 21 year old man studying to be a priest. He is studying at a seminary near Boston Massachusetts and twice during the year he travels to La Grande Seminary in Montreal where he takes courses. Robert does an exceptional job, using a 5 year diary for the one year only, of writing almost every day and filling the pages up with his thoughts, feelings and observations of the life of a young seminarian. Historians and researchers of the subject will be hard pressed to find a more detailed or intimate sharing of the inner thoughts and turmoil this young man experiences. A sensitive fellow he writes in the first entry: "This new diary is black by choice because the World is in a sad, mournful state. Let us pray next year is the dawn of peace here". Here are some other snippets of this super memoir: "Fatigue and dreariness is slowly wearing on the fellows here. It is externally apparent. It is one of the trials for later life that the Seminary prepares us for". "Sulplician or the ___(?) Dietian knowledge is very poor. We had some chunk of battered beef today and not many fellows ate it. Result - we got it back for supper only it looked worse. The beans at dinner smelt like somebody "threw up". As Joachin says, "double-eaten". "We got mush (brown) for supper again tonight and we are drawing near the end. I am trying to finish my review before that tense feeling sets in". "Bob D----(?) and Johnnie Gagnor, our classmates from last year who had to be led to the decision with spiritual aid - that the priesthood is not for them. Bob left St Mary's Seminary last week. Visited us here today. We had a little party in B Poulins room last night. O My, we broke the rules. Well God understands - even if the good Sulps don't". Fr Connelly wrote often about the War. He also wrote about Stalin and Communism and how necessary to was to pray for the conversion of Russia. I got the impression that he may have had some mixed feelings about not being in the army: "Read letter from Driscoll today. He told me to keep working hard because they know in the Armed Forces our grind is not so easy either". "The rumors about our being drafted are very numerous. Perhaps Pete C----(?) caused them after coming back from the States". "We went on a promenade today and in the spring weather - all the bums are out on the sidewalk again. Even the anti-clericals. One fellow asked Joe Connelly - "When are you going to sign up in the army?" - Joe - "I am thinking of it - if any of your business". The author wrote almost 3 pages describing a visit he and his Brothers made to St Jean de-Dieu, a large asylum in Montreal. Following is a small part of what he wrote about patients he saw there: Aug 16. "We are going to take the trip to the St John Dieu -a 12,000 inmate asylum for mental cases in Montreal. The nuns at this asylum, like most other sisters, are hardworking, diligent little women, unselfish and persevering in their work, patience personified. Would that we clerics and religious Brothers could imitate them completely". Aug17. "Sick cases seen at St J 1. Women's Ward - One case was screaming terribly and would soon be shifted. The nuns had both tubs with cold water for those who were depressed and hot for those who were too wild. 2. The imbecile on the Piazza, standing, scratched her ___(?), then laid down, head rolling from side to side, blank expression on face". He goes on to describe several other of the patients he saw along with the mentally retarded children. The author included in the diary many stories told to him by other brothers and priests. Two of these: "This particular call happened to a Springfield Priest: A victim of a bus accident was taken to the hospital dead. Crushed to nothing, arms broke off etc. The priest arrived at the hospital quickly after receiving an urgent telephone call. He was shown the victim, and prepared to give him the last sacraments. The victim was placed in a basket which held all the broken members of his body. An orderly of the hospital was standing nearby. The priest motioned to him "Come here and give me a hand, will you"? The fellow came over and picked an arm of the victim out of the basket!!!" "Berstain was speaking of a former priest - a friend of his who used to be very chaste and solid in priestly countenance. But since he was a good mixer with youth, he used to give rides in his auto - girls and boys. But then his love fell on one of the girls in particular - not spiritual but sentimental love of heart. Eventually, he was driving her home from her war job in the factory and would stay there about an hour. Sometimes he went to see her in the morning after Mass!!! There is much more to this diary. The author reflected on Catholic doctrine - birth control, pre-marital sex, celibacy and more. He also wrote of mixed marriage, the negro problem, education, duties of a priest. He noted the election of Cardinal Cushing and wrote of Bishop Sheen. The author was a very thoughtful and perceptive young man. His personal reflections on people and situations he encountered are throughout the diary. When he traveled, he noted his thoughts about the scenes he saw and people he observed in the diary: "One girl got on the bus - was married - husband in the S. Pacific. Was the type who made a good housewife. Seemed to know the bus driver and his wife good". "The drunken Indiana farmer who got on - looked like he used to be a hardworking humble man. He laughed at his own jokes. "Pretty good, heh? Hah hah". "Some Jehovah's or Salvationists were preaching in the park. Would that we Catholics had their courage. The preachers spoke of belief in Christ....Soldiers stood at attention while two girls and fellows just kept making passes at each other". He wrote of his family, and of a brother who was in the army. There is a letter in the diary from his mother who wrote news about "Bill" who was a pilot that had been shot down. It sounded as though Bill was a brother or very close relative. The diary measures about 6"X4 1/2" and is in very rough shape. The covers are detached, the spine covering is gone. Pages are about to separate. Written in ink, his handwriting at times is difficult to read, especially names. Included with the diary are the letter, a religious card, a receipt from Greyhound and a receipt from Northeast Airlines, all from the 1940s. Poor in condition but legible and one of the most fascinating diaries we have read.; Manuscript; 24mo - over 5" - 5¾" tall; KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, CATHOLIC, CATHOLICISM, ECCLESIASTICAL, RELIGION, SEMINARY, EDUCATION, PRIESTHOOD, LA GRANDE SEMINARY, VINCENTIANS, FR. JIM TWOMEY, WORLD WAR II, WWII. WW2, CHRISTIANITY, CHRISTIAN, CELIBACY, THEOLOGY, THEOLOGIANS, ROMAN CATHOLIC, JESUIT, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, KEEPSAKE, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, PERSONAL HISTORY, ARCHIVE, DIARY, DIARIES, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, antiquité, contrat, vélin, document, manuscrit, papier Antike, Brief, Pergament, Dokument, Manuskript, Papier oggetto d'antiquariato, atto, velina, documento, manoscritto, carta antigüedad, hecho, vitela, documento, manuscrito, papel.
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