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The tendency to pun upon words is further illustrated in the following verses on Mr. Bywater, who fell into the river and was drowned :
On Mr. John Bywater.
Here lie the remains of his relative's pride,
Though by water he fell, yet by water he'll rise,
Perhaps one of the most pathetic inscriptions is that over the grave of a poor old charwoman, laid to rest after a long life of incessant labour and toil. On her tombstone, now almost effaced and covered with the moss of centuries, one reads:
Here lies an old woman, who always was tired,
She lived in a world, where too much was required.
We may perhaps form some notion of the life of a poor 'slavey,' with its incessant labour and toil, when we are assured that her highest conception of supreme bliss and perfect joy is just to sit and do nothing for ever and ever.
The following, on a Metaphysician, is a little epigram composed by the late well-known writer, Father T. E. Bridgett, C.SS.R., and is worthy of a place in this article:
His years of life he spent in doubts sublime;
One is apt to be startled on reading the following epitaph :
Here lies the body of Mary Ann,
Who was born a woman, but died a man.
The explanation being that she married a Mr. Charles Mann.
The next is more cutting than complimentary, and suggests a garrulous woman :-
Miss A. Young.
Beneath this stone, a lump of clay,
Lies Arabella Young,
Who, on the 25th of May,
Began to hold her tongue.
Having said so much on the subject of tombstones, I think I had better now follow her example, and begin to hold my tongue.
JOHN S. VAUGHAN.
PIONEERS OF IRISH CATHOLIC
BY TERENCE O'HANLON
WHEN Thurles Presentation Convent, which recently celebrated its centenary, was established towards the end of July, 1817, the tiny seed planted in Cork City by Nano Nagle, less than fifty years before, had already grown into a stately tree with branches spreading into each of the four diocesan provinces of Ireland. The South Presentation Convent, Cork-the parent-house of the Order -was opened on Christmas Day, 1777, its valiant Foundress having triumphed over difficulties greater than have ever had to be contended against in the history of any country in Europe. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Institute, having in the meantime received the Apostolic benediction and approval, was beginning to make its influence felt in the lives of the Irish poor. Sister-houses had already sprung up in Dublin and in Waterford, a second establishment had been opened in Cork, while applications were pouring in from Bishops in all parts of the country asking to have foundations set up in their dioceses. Under the conditions then prevailing it was found impossible to gratify the wishes of more than a small proportion of the applicants. Nevertheless, the opening of the Thurles house a hundred years ago marked the establishment of the fourteenth convent of the Presentation Nuns in Ireland at that date, the earlier foundations, in addition to the three just mentioned, being Killarney, Kilkenny, Dublin (James's Street), Tralee, Dungarvan, Carlow, Drogheda, Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Galway, and Rahan. To-day there are over sixty houses of the Institute in the homeland alone, whilst the daughters of Nano Nagle have carried the twin blessings of Catholic Truth and Education over the billows to every corner of the earth in which the scattered exiles of Ireland have found shelter. The least shall become a thousand, and
a little one a most strong nation: I the Lord will suddenly do this thing in its time.'
To adequately appreciate the services rendered to God and to Ireland by the Foundress and early members of this great teaching Order, one must cast back a little through the pages of our sorrowful history. Often, nowadays, we are reproached for morbidly brooding over the wrongs of the past, thus rendering ourselves unfit for the duties of the present. Yet if we are to understand the heroic struggles and ultimate triumph of Right over Error, contemplation of our history in all its aspects becomes essential.
For two hundred years or so political oppression, the most crushing that a tyrannous system could devise, had been put into operation against our nation, leaving the land desolate, the race divided and half-broken, but still resolute. Then came the dread sixteenth century, with its so-called Reformation unloosing the demon of religious persecution, so that for another two hundred years it was not so much his nationality that was the Irishman's crime as the fidelity with which he cleaved to the faith of his fathers.
English writers have frequently dwelt upon the different effect which the penal laws had brought in Ireland as compared with the influence of religious persecution in their own land. In England, slowly but surely, the system of legalized savagery, represented by the penal code, accomplished its end, gradually destroying the priesthood, and thus blotting out the faith from the hearts of the people. The middle classes and the poor yielded almost unresistingly, and Catholicity, after a time, lingered only amongst the aristocracy, finding its sole refuge within the walls of a few mansions whose noble owners bore ancient and stately names. Religious houses were swept from the land, and men and women desiring to consecrate their lives to God were driven out of the country.
In Ireland the effect was different, for the more barbarous became the methods employed to rend its people from the ancient religion the more tenacious became their adherence to it. In vain were the clergy tracked like. wolves; in vain was it enacted that to harbour a bishop or a priest within Our shores should be punished with death; the faithful flocks would not betray their shepherds, who, hidden in mountain glens and in caves
of the earth, continued to be loved and honoured as the priesthood of no other country under heaven had ever been. When the despoiler's hand had razed to the ground the monasteries and the abbeys which had hitherto dotted the island, the heart of the nation clung lovingly to them still, and when the parish churches were confiscated to the State religion, the people fled from them as from a plaguespot to gather around their outlawed sagart as he offered the Mass in some secluded nook on the mountain side, his altar a heap of stones.
Having at length despaired of accomplishing the religious subjection of the Irish as a race by methods like those just spoken of, the enemy of the faith turned to new and more insidious devices. By stultifying the people, by paralysing the national and intellectual life that was in them, by striking them with the curse of stupidity and ignorance, by brutalizing them through the cutting off of every source of education, he hoped to succeed where earlier penal enactments had failed. Consequently, those ferocious statutes of William III and Queen Anne, the object of which was to make it penal, under penalty of banishment, fine, confiscation, or imprisonment, for any Catholic in Ireland, man, woman, or child, to teach or be taught, were set in motion. And to make assurance doubly sure, the advocates of Protestantism further sought to sap the faith of the people by drawing Catholic children into their own schools. About the middle of the eighteenth century there existed upwards of fifty Charter schools in Ireland, endowed by the State for this ignoble purpose.
On entering such schools [says a contemporary writer] the children's names are changed so that they may have no communication with their parents, and after a little time they are transferred to another parish that the isolation may be more complete. Premiums are given to those who show most proficiency in the catechism, which is composed purposely for these schools, and is nothing but a continuous invective against the Catholic Church. The children get pcrtions on the condition that they marry Protestants with the consent of the directors of the schools.
An extract from the Charter of the Second George, under which these schools were established, will help further to show the disinterested and benign intentions of the promoters :
George II, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith,
Forasmuch as we have received information by the petition of the