Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Hyacinth   By: (1865-1950)

Book cover

First Page:


By George A. Birmingham



In the year 1850 or thereabouts religious and charitable society in England was seized with a desire to convert Irish Roman Catholics to the Protestant faith. It is clear to everyone with any experience of missionary societies that, the more remote the field of actual work, the easier it is to keep alive the interest of subscribers. The mission to Roman Catholics, therefore, commenced in that western portion of Galway which the modern tourist knows as Connemara, and the enthusiasm was immense. Elderly ladies, often with titles, were energetic in the cause of the new reformation. Young ladies, some of them very attractive, collected money from their brothers and admirers. States men and Bishops headed the subscription lists, and influential committees earnestly debated plans for spending the money which poured in. Faith in the efficacy of money handled by influential committees is one of the characteristics of the English people, and in this particular case it seemed as if their faith were to be justified by results. Most encouraging reports were sent to headquarters from Gonnemara. It appeared that converts were flocking in, and that the schools of the missionaries were filled to overflowing. In the matter of education circumstances favoured the new reformation. The leonine John McHale, the Papal Archbishop of Tuam, pursued a policy which drove the children of his flock into the mission schools. The only other kind of education available was that which some humorous English statesman had called 'national,' and it did not seem to the Archbishop desirable that an Irish boy should be beaten for speaking his own language, or rewarded for calling himself 'a happy English child.' He refused to allow the building of national schools in his diocese, and thus left the cleverer boys to drift into the mission schools, where they learnt carefully selected texts of Scripture along with the multiplication table. The best of them were pushed on through Dublin University, and crowned the hopes of their teachers by taking Holy Orders in the Church of England. There are still to be met with in Galway and Mayo ancient peasants and broken down inhabitants of workhouses who speak with a certain pride of 'my brother the minister.' There are also here and there in English rectories elderly gentlemen who have almost forgotten the thatched cottages where they ate their earliest potatoes.

Among these cleverer boys was one ├ćneas Conneally, who was something more than clever. He was also religious in an intense and enthusiastic manner, which puzzled his teachers while it pleased them. His ancestors had lived for generations on a seaboard farm, watered by salt rain, swept by misty storms. The famine and the fever that followed it left him fatherless and brotherless. The emigration schemes robbed him and his mother of their surviving relations. The mission school and the missionary's charity effected the half conversion of the mother and a whole hearted acceptance of the new faith on the part of ├ćneas. Unlike most of his fellows in the college classrooms, he refused to regard an English curacy as the goal of his ambition. It seemed to him that his conversion ought not to end in his parading the streets of Liverpool in a black coat and a white tie. He wanted to return to his people and tell them in their own tongue the Gospel which he had found so beautiful.

The London committee meditated on his request, and before they arrived at a conclusion his mother died, having at the last moment made a tardy submission to the Church she had denied. Her apostasy so the missionaries called it confirmed the resolution of her son, and the committee at length agreed to allow him to return to his native village as the first Rector of the newly created parish of Carrowkeel. He was provided with all that seemed necessary to insure the success of his work. They built him a gray house, low and strong, for it had to withstand the gales which swept in from the Atlantic... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books