Book 2  pages 31-40

maybe a long time. They came around and they talked with you. They gave you the news and give you the story of what happened and so fourth and the whole thing was not too tiring or too boring at all. So, it was rather an enjoyable time.
So, if you stayed two or three days or however long you were going to stay at this mission you finished up and you had sent word to the town of the next mission that you were going to they would have a man come over the next day and get your stuff and you’d go to that next mission and start the same thing over again.
Depending on the number of missions you had in that area, well, you would try to get as many of them done as you could. If you had a lot of missions you might be 10 or 20 days before coming back, one after another.
As I said, sometimes it was a little bit rough out there with the food and so on but, it wasn’t too bad, you made the best of it.
On one occasion this happened to me out there one time, as I said most of these missions were out in the mountains, they try to live in the villages. They live around together but at this particular incidence they were separated. This family was not in a village. They were separated from them.
This was out in the end of the line where they, of the mission line where the bandits had been there a few years before and had, more or less torn up their houses. And, they had to leave for a good while at one time. And, it was only after the bandits had been killed or driven away that they could get back home.
So this family went back home and their house was just in a shambles. It was, well the roof was there and most of the walls, but the doors were knocked down and everything was just in terrible shape. But. they fixed it up the best they could and while it was pretty rough they still got by with
it. I went there, this wasn’t a whole mission, it was a stopping-off because they were separated from another mission. It wasn’t a mission proper. So, they told me while I was there that after they got back home after the. bandits had been in the area. . . they were back home a year or so. . . they fixed up and they got things, more or less, back to normal. When everything was back to normal except the back door. They weren’t able to fix the latch on the back door. They couldn’t lock the back door but they didn’t mind that because they didn’t fear anything. The bandits were gone and they didn’t fear anything else so they just went ahead and made the best of it.
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This particular family there was a father and his wife, and his mother, and his son and his daughter-in-law, that’s all that was living there. When I went there, at the time that I was there, there was the father and the son had gone. They had cut some trees down and they were floating them down the river to sell.
And, so the mother and the daughter-in-law were at home and they were telling me an event that had happened to them while the father and son were gone. It seems that after coming back they got the house in shape but they didn’t have much in the line of chickens. Chinese like to have a bunch of chickens, they don’t have a whole lot of them, maybe 5 or 6 to get a few eggs like that. But all they had was one rooster, they didn’t have any hens, they only had one rooster.
They were telling me this one night they went to bed and they don’t have electricity in the country and all you have is a little old light. . .not even half a candle power.. .that’s the light. They had this and so they went to bed. Well, when they go to bed they try to close the doors up. They closed the front door and they locked it and they closed the back door but they had no lock on it. But, as I said they weren’t afraid of anything so didn’t lock the back door. So they went to bed.
Like in China so often the animals they have they take inside because they are afraid of wild animals because there are tigers and things like that over there. They are really leopards but they call them tigers and they would eat pigs and anything like that. So, they had a cow that they used for farming and at night they would lock it up to protect it from tigers or anybody else, and pigs the same way. They like to grow a pig and they feed the scraps and slop to the pig and it grows and it makes them money. So, at night they lock it up from the wild animals. And chickens are the seine way they lock them up the same way so the animals can’t get at them.
So, this particular night then the mother and the daughter-in-law went to bed, they had just this one chicken and he was sleeping in the house someplace.. .he was perched in the bedroom. So, while they were asleep that night all of a sudden that chicken flew from where he was roosting and he flew into the bed where the mother and the daughter-in-law were sleeping. And, “what’s that crazy chicken doing?” They got him and threw him out of the bed into the floor. And, turned around and went back to sleep again. After a little while that chicken flew back into their bed. And, they said, “What the heck, this chicken flying in here.” And, so they would get rid of it.
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The daughter-in-law was sleeping on the outside of the bed and she started feeling around, she couldn’t see anything because it was pitch dark. But she was feeling around for the rooster and she thought he was out there in the front so she was going to fix him, and she took a swat at this thing. She wanted to hit that chicken and knock him out of the bed and she took a big swing to hit the rooster but she slapped a tiger right in the face.
While they didn’t know anything about it a tiger was in their neighborhood and he smelled that chicken and he went around the back door and he found that back door wasn’t locked and he pushed it open and he came in and the bedroom door was closed, but it wasn’t locked either so he slipped in there after that chicken. That chicken knew that there was a tiger there but the people didn’t.
When the daughter-in-law swung at the chicken the tiger right in the face. She was as surprised as the tiger. I guess the tiger was more surprised than what she was. So he let out a yell and the daughter-in-law let out a yell and the tiger in self defense scratched the. . .he scratched her in the arm, the shoulder and the head a little bit. Then he ran. He ran out the door that was open and escaped.
Well, by that time, they got up and the mother-in-law lit a little light and they found out what happened. It was this daughter-in-law slapping this tiger right in the face. Well, she got pretty well badly scratched up then she got some infection. But, eventually she recovered and got over it.
Some of the bigger missions in China we went more than once a year. There were a lot of good Christians there. In China the big feast, which was four, there was Christmas, Easter, Assumption, and a,; Christmas, Easter, Assumption, and Pentecost, yeah, they were the four big feasts. During these times if the country people could come in to the church in town they would come in, well if they couldn’t, they just stayed over there and forgot about it.
But, if there were a number of Christians there, if we had a school there or anything then we’d try to get to these missions of tener. Maybe go out there for the feasts. We wouldn’t make a mission. We’d be out there for a few days to say mass and give the people a change to go to communion and so fourth, maybe just a couple of days. We would do that or even if we made the mission and there were a lot of Christians there we might go out there and stay even for a week or two to give everybody an opportunity to receive the sacraments.
Before we were talking about the doctors’ in China. About the only kind of doctors they have in China are herb doctors. Except in big cities the
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men might have gone to foreign countries to learn. They don’t have doctors to practice Western medicine.
A type of curing that they had in China was called acupuncture. Well now, you might have heard that name before. In the last few years it’s kind of gotten kind of famous even here in America. It’s practiced here in America this type of medicine. It’s a type where a needle is stuck into various members of the body, the arms or the hands or the legs, the chest, or someplace like -that and certain nerves are hit.
These needles are put there and they are left there and it’s supposed to cure some of the things. Well, I saw a bit of that in China an1 I never had a bit of admiration for it at all. I didn’t think it was worth a darn thing. But, I find out now later, reading just the other day, some people right here in the present time are using it in America and they are perceiving pretty good success with it.
In fact I was reading and I even saw pictures where in China now some of them are using it, using this acupuncture even in an operation instead of using some kind of an anesthetic or some kind of either or something like that to put the patient out. They use this acupuncture and while the patient might be conscious their senses are dead and they can be operated on this way.
Well, if you know how to use it maybe this acupuncture may be all right, but from what I saw in China I think it was just amateurs trying to do
it. They didn’t know what they were doing. I never saw them accomplish anything. People heard it from somebody else and the Chinese were great imitators and they saw somebody else doing it and they tried it. And I think a lot of it what I saw was just amateurs trying it and never had any success. Maybe if you knew what you were doing it would be all right. That would go along with the acupuncture but it wasn’t to prevalent or too general in China but it was there.
Now, in regards to China I was only over there 18 years but in that time we had three bishops. The bishops didn’t live very long. The Americans took over the Chinese missions from the French. It was, I guess, it was in the ‘20’s they took over.
What had happened there were French Vincentians working in the Province of Kiangsi but during the First World War, but so many Frenchmen were killed they ran out of the lack of priests. The French weren’t able to staff it any more because of the dearth of priests.
That’s when we took over. It was established when we took over from the French. When we did, the old bishop there, he resigned. He resigned and
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went back to France but there were some Chinese priests there and there were some foreigners there that were working there. I believe that there was only one Frenchman, but there were about 3 or 4 Dutch and one Italian and a few of these stayed over and worked with us. When the Americans took over Bishop Sheehan was the first bishop.
He started out with the old bishop, Clere-Remnaud, was still there and Bishop Sheehan took it over from him. I wasn’t present at the time but I understand
that there was a certain amount of friction between Bishop Clere-Renaud and Bishop Sheehan cause they didn’t see eye to eye.
The times were disturbed and so fourth and Bishop Sheehan didn’t believe in doing certain things as Clere-Remnaud did. So there was a certain amount of friction. But, anyway finally, Bishop Clere-Renaud resigned and he went back to France and the Americans took over the ruling of the province.
At the time that he took over there was just Bishop Misner, I mean Bishop Sheehan, Bishop Misner, and I think that three of them went over there but Father Lavaelle and Father Ward came back. So there was just two Americans there in the beginning. Then later on Leo Moore, Coyle and Altenburg, and so fourth They went over there and each year the Western Province would send 3 or 4 men over there. All the time that we were over there I don’t believe that we got
-over 10 or 13 Americans there, but as I said, we had these French that stayed with us, the French and Italian and Dutch help us and the Chinese priests. So that’s the way that we ran it. When Bishop Sheehan took over, he took over from Clere-Renaud. The time he took over the conditions were very bad, things were upset. The main trouble was that, right before we took over the Communist Party got it’s start in China in the southern part of China.
We were more or in the northern part of China. But, in the southern part of China was where the Chinese party started. Mao Tot Dune, Jo-En-[1aj, and so fourth, they were all down in the southern part of our province of Kiansi. It wasn’t really immediately near us but right south of us.
The trouble that we had over there in the beginning was the Chinese soldiers. They were stationed around in that area trying to keep these Chinese Communists from spreading around and harming people and so fourth which they did. They would make a raid and we called them bandits and that’s what they were. These Chinese soldiers were around in the area and they were supposed to be, to protect us from these Chinese Communists.
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In the meantime while they were supposedly protecting us so many of them were occupying the Catholic missions there. Because the missions in China were usually the biggest houses in the neighborhood. So, since the Chinese didn’t have any quarters or anything else in the town they had to find their own lodging. If a division of Chinese soldiers moved from one town to another well, to find their own lodging.
Since the Catholic missions were the biggest buildings in the place they occupied the Catholic residences. That was in Bishop Sheehan’s time, that was his biggest problem. We were so near to the Communists that the Chinese soldiers were in our area and they were occupying the residences.
Since they were being occupying they couldn’t be used. They lived in the church, in the school, and everything that you had. They took them over and you couldn’t even use them. So when Bishop Sheehan took over he was bothered by these soldiers.
In all his time, I’ve forgotten how long he reigned, but, I don’t think it was more than 3 or 4 years. All this time we were never free from these Chinese soldiers. He never had a peaceful time in his whole reign there. Bishop Sheehan was a wonderful man. He was a wonderful man for the job that they sent him. He was forceful, he was a do-gooder, he was a go-and-get-em, he didn’t sit down and wait for thing to happen, he would go ahead and work.
He was very diligent in trying to do what he wanted to do. But, things were so, conditions so bad, he couldn’t achieve very much. It was too bad after 4 or 5 years he got pneumonia and he died and so, that ended his reign.
After he died the next person who took his place was Bishop Misner. Well, Bishop Misner was a wonderful man but the thing is he went to China late. That is he had been a seminary professor before. He wasn’t just ordained he was up in the thirties or maybe forty before he went to China. That militated to his learning Chinese because learning Chinese you have to get an early start on
it. At least the earlier you get started on it the better it is. So, when he got to China he was advanced in years, but he was up in years at least. He studied Chinese but while he was very brilliant he could speak English, and French, and Spanish, and Latin. He knew a lot of languages but he was not able to grasp too much of Chinese, not that he didn’t grasp it, but I mean he wasn’t fluent in it.
Most of the time that he was over there he was with Bishop Sheehan. He was in doing office work you might say. He wasn’t out among the people making missions, talking and so fourth. He didn’t learn the practical way. He learned it by book, you might say. So, while he was good and he understood Chinese, he
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wasn’t fluent in it. But, that didn’t militate against him of being a good bishop. He did while he was over there only about 3 or 4 years as bishop he did very well. But, like Bishop Sheehan he didn’t have a peaceful time. By the time he took over the Reds had gone and this danger of the Reds coming from the south from the north was gone cause they took off before that and they went up to the northern part of China to Shiasian. The soldiers and the residents were cleared up but around that time then the Chinese and the Japanese war caine up. . . this war. . .and afterward the Chinese and Japanese war, shortly after that was the Second World War.
All this time that Bishop Misner was there was a time of trouble hind warfare and we didn’t have a peaceful day in the whole time hardly. In fact, in the twenty some years that we were in China, I don’t guess there was any length of time but more than a few months or something that we had peaceful times where you could, something wasn’t bothered or going wrong or something else.
But after the short reign of Bishop Misner, he went on a confirmation trip and I think that he was riding a bicycle, because that was the only way that we had transportation at that time, Kiang-Ti--Chien, that was where he was. He went there and it was in the hot summertime and I think he got too much heat. But, shortly after that he had a heart attack and he died.
So, there after 4 or 5 years we had Bishop Sheehan and Bishop Misner didn’t last very long when he died. Well, after Bishop Misner died there was a long time before anybody was appointed. I guess there wasn’t too many ones available there. . . subjects there. I guess Steve might have been considered but he was young and Bishop Quinn was young too. But, Quinn was more intellectual. lie had a D.D. or something. Before coming over to China he had gone to Rome, I believe, for a doctorate.
So, after some time mainly because of his youth, Bishop Quinn was only in his thirties, Bishop Quinn was appointed to be Bishop there and he took over. Bishop Sheehan in Poyang. And, my first year over there also was
the same house with Bishop Misner for a couple of months, but only for a couple of months, and I got to know him.
Later on, Bishop Quinn, I got to know him better. Bishop Quinn was one of the finest men you met in the world. I really loved the man. He was qualified, he was educated, he was kind, considerate, intellectual. He looked after you and everything. He did the best he could. It was too bad he didn’t have the opportunity to exercise his talents either because by the time he took over was the end of the Japanese War. . . the Second World War. During this time was when we had the invasion which I talked about in my autobiography. When
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the Japanese came down and made a raid in our province and just destroyed and burned and killed and maimed and everything else.
During this time Bishop Sheehan was in Yukiang and that time I was in Nihwang and that was separated over 50 miles apart and we had no roads or anything. It was like being 1,000 miles apart, you might say. But, when the Japanese raid came down there well Bishop Quinn and Tom Smith and Howie Glenn and Norb Miller, I believe and so on, they had like we had to flee, they had to flee away from the Japs. They fled to the mountains around Yukiang until the Japanese left and then they came back.
Just like in Nihwang and Fuchow the Japs burnt the residences. The church was not burnt because most of it was stone but the residence was burned and that was the time that Father Verdini, he was one of the Italian priests that was with us, he’d been there since the time of Clere-Renaud. He’d stayed behind when Bishop Quinn, and so fourth went out to the mountains. He said, “Well, I’m ‘Italian!” At this time the Japanese and Italians were allies. So, he said, “I’m not afraid, I’ll stay here with them. They won’t bother me.”
Well, when they got back Bishop Quinn and Father Smith got back from the hills after fleeing there everybody they had left behind in the residences, about 20 or 30 of these people, everyone had disappeared. They were killed by the Japanese. We never did find their remains of the their or Father Verdini or anything else.
After they came back from the raid of the Japanese it wasn’t very long until the Communist came over. In 1950, the Communists came, not 1950 about 1948, I guess. The Communists took over China and again, things were upset again. So now none of the American bishops over there in China were able to have, had peaceful times. Bishop Quinn didn’t either, although he tried very hard but with the conditions there are it was impossible to accomplish very much.
He tried very hard and I think that we were blessed with the bishops we had there. Bishop Sheehan was the man to start, he was a go-getter, he wanted things done and he went out and tried to do them. When Bishop Misner took o4,rer he was very capable and able man. . . a very level-headed man and he did rule the province very well. And, then when Quinn took over he had to put up with, well, t that time the Second World War was going on and also the Japanese invasion, and so on and so fourth. So, he too had a difficult time.
In 1951, I left there in 1950, the Communists had just made it so impossible to do anything that they were just trying to squeeze us out, so, I came back in 1950 because I was squeezed out in Nihwang in 1949 and I couldn’t
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stay there. So I was staying with Father Steve Dunker for awhile but you could see the writing on the wall and so I came back in 1950.
Then Father Steve, Bishop Quinn and Tom Smith and a few of them had left Yukiang, well they stayed on but by 1951 the Communists had made it so difficult for them that they had to leave. So, they came back here to the United States and that ended the American work in China. I guess it was a little over 25 years that we were there. But, all during this time it was a disturbed and disrupted time and we weren’t able to accomplish very much but, because of the fact that we did the best that we could. But, times were so upset and so distracting and so dangerous that not much would be able to be accomplished then.
When Bishop Quinn came back to America in 1951 that ended -the American missionary in China. . .the work of a little over 20 years.
In reading back about the things that I have written about one thing or another about St. Catherine Laboure and so fourth, I think I covered it pretty, but there is one event that happened that was exciting anyway if nothing else. It happened in the early days when we had about 4 or 5 sisters, I think, that we had not yet built a convent. The convent, at the time, was using a classroom, that was to be a classroom, for a convent for the sisters. It was divided up and it bad beds and so fourth in there until a convent could be built and they were living in there. I know I helped them in getting, and one of the things together that I did.. .1 don’t know if that was the cause of the fire or not but, I took extensions from the plug-ins from the wall, took them around to the various places in the room where the sisters would need them at their beds or desks or so fourth. We made this temporary arrangement. Well, it so happened one day that I was away. I think that day I went to the hospital somebody was sick or something. In those days the hospital was so far away and on the other side of town. Father Winkleman was there too at that time and that same day he was gone too.
Well, anyway in the afternoon about two o’clock or so somebody there in the school saw smoke was coming out from under the door of that room. An1 so, they called the sister or the nun or whoever it was that there was smoke and so, they went and opened the door. When they opened the door smoke just poured out of the door and of course they slammed the door and got panicky. I don’t know if they called me or not because I wasn’t home, but I think they called me and then they called the fire station. I didn’t know it then, but I found out later that any school fire is a five alarm, so, after they called the fire. every fire engine around the neighborhood, five or six of them all converged on St. Catherine.
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When they got there and the first one said, “Well, where is it?” So, they went up there and they opened the door and when they opened the door well, smoke poured out. Of course, they thought, well, there was a big fire. Of course if I had been there, which I wasn’t, and if I had opened the door and saw all the smoke. I would know that it couldn’t burn because that was a fire proof building. I watched it being built up with this concrete floor and concrete ceiling and the walls were these concrete bricks. And so, it couldn’t burn, so all that was necessary was to open up the door and maybe go open the windows and let the smoke go out we’d find out the source of the fire
But, when the firemen got there and they saw smoke piling out the door and they thought, “Oh, a fire! Everything’s afire”, so they brought in their hoses and started going full blast. I don’t know how long it lasted maybe it took a half an hour when they poured their hoses, blowing in that room, blow out the smoke. When this happened they got the smoke blown out well. All it was, was a mattress burning.
What happened, one of those extensions we put in there had a short or something and it started the linens on the bed, and they started burning and the mattress started burning. Well, a mattress can’t burn very well. It will smolder mostly and that’s what was happening, the mattress smoldering. So when the firemen saw what it was they threw it out, the mattress out the window, out on the ground and that was the end of it. But, that was the end of the fire, but that wasn’t the end of the story
All the damage that was done in the room was the mattress and that one bed burned and a few surroundings, maybe, a drape on the window or something was burned and that was the extent of it. I’m sure at that time if the fire damage probably was a couple hundred dollars. . .mattress, bed, drapes, and the license was bout the end of it. I believe a cupboard next to it was scorched a little bit. But, anyway the whole fire damage might have been two or three hundred dollars. That was the extent of the fire damage, that wasn’t the end of the damage!
(side 4)
They’d brew a pot of tea and if they didn’t drink it all they kept
it. During the day they might drink it but it had already been boiled so if they drank it during the day it might be cold but it had already been boiled and in this way it had been purified.
So drinking tea. Now, the Chinese in the wintertime, when it gets cold, they don’t have any heat in the houses, any heat for warmth. Stoves or
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