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2-196 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,Prieur, Francois Xavier,un
Narrative Discourse
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Public Written
Ward, 1969
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2-196-raw.txt — 3 KB

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Scarcely had an hour elapsed after our arrival than the worthy Bishop of Sydney, Monsignor Polding, accompanied by a missionary priest, Father Brady, arrived amongst us. The benevolent prelate told us that, although quite unable to distinguish us one from another, he knew everyone of us, that we were his children, torn from the Church in Canada, but entrusted, henceforth, to the care of the church in New South Wales. The Bishops of Canada had written to Bishop Polding, and their letters of religion and charity had preceded us into these far distant regions of our harsh exile.
Monsignor Folding, and his companion, Father Brady, who spoke French with the greatest of ease, remained with us for about an hour and a half, during which they lavished on us all the sympathy that the offerings of charity and priestly zeal could suggest. The Bishop informed us that he would come with some priests the following day, to receive our confessions; then, before leaving, he prayed for us and gave us his blessing. There is no necessity for me to attempt to express the comfort that this holy visit brought us, since these lines are especially intended to be read by my fellow-countrymen, Canadians, children of the church, inheritors of the piety of glorious ancestors.
The following day Bishop Folding returned, as arranged, with two missionary priests. His Grace informed us that he had obtained from the authorities permission ho celebrate mass in our wretched quarters, and that, later, Holy Communion would be administered no those who were in a fit condition to receive it. We all made our confessions preparing ourselves as best we could to receive our Saviour the following day.
As I have explained earlier, at one end of our narrow prison there was a space corresponding to a hatchway, within which the height between one deck and the other allowed several persons to stand erect. It was there that we set up, as well as lay within our power, the altar for the Holy Sacrifice.
On 27 February 1840, in the port of the capital of New South Wales, a Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ, assisted by his missionary priests, celebrated the Holy Mass in the hold of a convict ship, and fifty-eight Canadian political exiles heard this mass, said for their benefit and received there the Holy Eucharist.
O, miracles of Religion! who can describe you! But if few possess the gift of revealing you, alt have received that of feeling you, ninth it is especially no the unfortunate that this gift is accorded, in all its plenitude.
It was an unspeakable happiness for us to meet, on our arrival upon the soil of the land to which we had been transported, a protector, a father, in, the person of a prince of the church, and In/ends so sincere in its worthy missionary priests. [114]
At that time we had great need of the help from on high that they brought to us, and of the power that is drawn from the Sacraments, so as to pardon wholeheartedly all those who, during this endless voyage, had shown themselves as cruel as they were unjust towards us.
The Holy Mass having been said, we all passed about half an hour in thanksgiving, after which the Bishop, placing himself in the midst of us, that is as far as the place would allow, and seating himself on our convict's bench, began to chat with us with solicitude and goodheartedness.