Rosemary Finley O'Donnell Your article touched me as this great man was my uncle. Keeping himself in prayer, he was soon to be appointed by his superiors to the master of students in Washington D. On the air in 1941 he called it a psychological blunder to even to try and do so. But, as he spent more time investigating the Paulists, as well as hearing them preach, the more interested he became. In 1957 after suffering severe heart attack, it seemed that once again he may recover and continue on possibly publishing yet another book, but this was not to be. I will not engage in that discussion here.
We have few heroic Catholic figures in America who are well known to us American Catholics today. My uncle was a very big part of my life. In fact, he was often thought of as the protector or guardian of America during the early and mid 20th century. Gillis was one of four surviving children and his father was keen on bringing them up in the Catholic faith. Jingoism, nor moral degradation was not an option in the mind of Gillis, whether it be in America or anywhere else. The Very Reverend Emanuale Suarez, Master General of the Dominicans gave him the award in the presence of Francis Cardinal Spellman at St.
Jingoism, nor moral degradation was not an option in the mind of Gillis, whether it be in America or anywhere else. He did this over the course of 27 years for this particular publication!. It is from these sources that I have composed this article, relying most heavily on Father James F. Even when the order was threatened to be expelled from Rome by Mussolini, because of the harsh criticism Gillis unleashed upon him, they did not shut him up. Perhaps incidents like this are what landed him in trouble at times. From 1928 to 1955 he consistently wrote a weekly column for syndicated Catholic newspapers in America.
Gillis 1876-1957 was to my surprise, almost as popular a public figure for Catholics in America as the great Rev. He spoke for about an hour on the general topic of the Paulist work. Gillis would be well known for his anti-war stance in general, and thought that it should always be of last resort. Even if you did not agree with his position, you had to admire his tenacity and conviction. During one of his first sermons in Chicago it is noted that he offended some actors and actresses in the congregation after criticizing the immorality of modern day programs, plays and the like.
Likewise it is a breath of fresh air to see a priest with such conviction and tenacity as to speak the truth, despite whether or not it was going to tick someone off. There are a few of his books available on Amazon, most of them out of print. I quickly got on the internet and ordered the second volume in the series as well as his two biographies and a few of his other books. Gillis to preach at his first Mass. Never a word, never a gesture out of place. Most of all, it breathes new life into one of the more unappreciated figures of midcentury America.
In reading his journal, he reflects back on the style and means he used in delivering his sermons, and at times pondered toning down his delivery technique. In his final years his acute arthritis hospitalized him and a stroke left him walking on a cane. His yes was his yes, and his no was his no. He merely applied Catholic principles to the moral dilemmas that the country found itself in, on the brink of a world war. He readily prepared a sharp response, containing the written correspondence between the radio station and himself, along with a complete defense of his position. Bishop Fulton Sheen is certainly one of the few.
They stood in the aisles to hear him. Some may have disliked Father Gillis for his direct manner of writing and preaching, but one thing was certain, you always knew where he stood concerning what he wrote or spoke about. Charles where he also excelled in leading his freshman class in overall average. His order got wind of his forthcoming response and asked him to refrain. Charles, Gillis entered seminary in Brighton at St. What I find so interesting in reading his articles is that you can get an idea of how Catholics looked upon these particular times and events.
In 1955 Archbishop Richard Cushing of Boston announced that an information center would be built in honor of Father Gillis on Park St. Although excited to be back on the band, Gillis shares some of his mission experiences in his journal. Generally, we saw him only at dinner. In fact, until he wrote a letter asking what the status of his invitation was, he was offered no reason as to not being invited back. His articles covered everything from agnosticism, atheism, prohibition, prize fighting, corruption in baseball, literature, contraception, communism, the degradation of the family, the over-centralization of the federal government, etc.
This however never excluded his demand for justice and right action in the nation. He addressed figures such as Neitzche, Twain, Doyle, and Shaw. Hecker instituted preaching requirements for the Paulist missions. Although excited to be back on the band, Gillis shares some of his mission experiences in his journal. The American Catholic Legacy is aimed at filling the unique role of remembering the great Catholics of America, many who have been lost to generations past. Compromise works for a time.
He then sought advice from his good friend Monsignor Gibbons, who read the article and told him that he was completely justified and correct about what he had written. So it is my pleasure to bring you a bit of American Catholic history, much of which most of us younger folks may not be very familiar with. To him it was mission territory in need of conversion, yet, he was all for the survival and prosperity of the nation as well. Catholicism in America has been through some tough times, and the man I am about to introduce you to went through a crucial and significant time as a Catholic priest in America. He was told to leave by anti-Catholics in the town of Bentonville, Arkansas, where he ended up preaching between two red hot stoves in an old wood court house with a few men spitting tobacco on the stoves. He recalled going to sick calls in the red light district to give last rights to a man, and also to a women dying of consumption in a bad part of town, to which he gave her the sacraments. His research was impeccable and he was always prepared to repel hecklers who may engage him in debate.