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--! THE RIGHT REV. F. ELZEAR,…

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THE RIGHT REV. F. ELZEAR, BISHOP OF ARMIDALE. The following short biography of the Catho- lic Bishop of Annidale, in South Australia, who was so well-known for many years in th is neighbourhood as Father Elzear, is extracted from the August number of The Franciscan Annals and Monthly Bulletin or the third Order of St. Francis." F. Elzear, if we may still use the long-familiar name, was born at Porto di Recanati, near Loreto, in the Marchian Province of Ancona, on the 28th May, 1830. His parents, Vincenzo Antonio Tor- reg ni ,incl Margarita Franceso,,i, Osimani were P,?? pl,3 full of piety,%nd devotion, whose chief ctre and delight was to bring up their children in the love and fear of God. They were at the time of his birth rather advanced in years, and they greatly desired to dedicate this their youngest born child to the special service of God. He wa,s baptized two days after his birth in the parish church of Porto di Recanati, receiving the name of Aloysius, and henceforth his parents .regarded him as a treasure they must keep spotless, and train up only for God. At six years old he was sent to school to a pious priest, F. Leopoldi Vel- luti, who lived near his home, and who duly ini- tiated him into the first elements of learning, secular and religious, and a few years later he was transferred to the care of a holy priest at Loreto, who was noted for training up his pupils to the priesthood and religious life. Here the little Aloysius was prepared for his first confession, and placed under the spiritual direction of F. Poggi, one of the Jesuit Fathers of the place; at eight years old he received the Sacrament of Confirma- tion from the hands of the Bishop, Monsignore Alessandro Bernetti, in the Cathedral Church of Recanati, and three years later, Easter, 1841, he made his first Communion during a retreat given by the Passionist Fathers, being then eleven years of aere. During his stay at Loreto, he used to rise very early every morning, and hasten to the Church of our Lady of Loreto, to serve mass at one of the many altars there in this great sanctuary of Her honour. From his earliest years he imbibed a great love and tender devotion to the Mother of God. From his very childhood he yearned for the way of the Holy Cross, and practised various mortifica- tions by way of fitting himself for the Religious state. His chief recreation was to gather all his boy companions together on the sea shore, and re- peat to them, with animated voice and gesture, the sermons he had eagerly listened to in Church. Often the fishermen and others would gather round the group, and listen, sometimes with tears, to the eloquence of the boy preacher," as they called him. As he grew older, he much wished to enter the Order of the Jesuits, but after due examina- tion and consideration his confessor decided that his vocation was for that of the Franciscan Capu- chins, and with his accustomed simplicity of obe- dience, he gave up his own inclination, and turned his thoughts in the direction indicated. His one thought and aim now was to prepare himself for the life to which he was called, and in this he was aided and encouraged by his good parents, who dearly loved this their precious offering to God. He was but sixteen years of age when, in Octo- ber, 1846, he bade farewell to his home by the blue waves of the Adriatic, and took his way, ac- companied by his father and eldest brother, to the Monastery of Camerino, in Umbria, there to be initiated into the life he had chosen. His vocation must have been well defined, for after only three days' probation he was clothed in the habit of a novice on the 20th of October, the feast of S. Elzear, whose name he then received. The fol- 10wila year, on the same date, he made his solemn profes' sion, and was then sent to the Monastery of Tolentino, from whence, a few months later, he was transferred to Apiro, and thence to Osimo, preparatory to beginning his studies. From Osimo he went to Ancona, and there en- tered the usual student's course of philosophy and theelo.- under the direction of F. Ludovico, of ly Ancona, and F. Mariano, of Civita Nova. He was ordained priest on the 23rd May' 1853, by the Archbishop of Ancona, Ivlousignore Anto- nucci, and was then sent to Sinigaglia to study sacred eloquence under the Very Rev F. Eusebio, of Monte Santo, now preacher of the Apostolic palace. After the completion of his studies, a strong missionary spirit took possession of his mind. He therefore offered himself to his Supe- riors for the work of foreign missions, and in 1856 he was called to Rome, where he passed the usual examination at Propaganda, and was on the point of starting for India, when his Superiors suddenly changed their plans, and decided upon sending him to England. He said later to a friend in Eng- land I knew it must be the will of God, because there was none of my own will in it." In June, 1856, he reached Peckham, and a month's sojourn there, ignorant of the language, of the way of the world in general, and of the English world in particular, did not tend to make the prospect before him any the more inviting. Three years previously, in 1853, a church and house at Pantasaph, near Holywell, in North Wales, had been given by Lord Fielding, now Lord Denbigh, to the Capuchin Order, with a view to their estab- lishing a monastery on the property, and thither F. Elzear, after his short stay at Peckham, was sent to form one of the infant community, and he remained a member of it from that time until May, 1860. For some months he had no opportunity of learning the language of this uncongenial land, and being unable to preach or hear confessions, or even to beg alms, the task alloted to him was to break stones, and make a road from the boundary of the property up to the door of the house, and many a time, as he meekly pursued his task, he ha4 to put down pickaxe or hammer, and raise his ^oil-worn hand, as some visitor from Downing or Holywell alighted from a carriage, and knelt to ask his? blessing. By degrees, however, he ac- quired a slight knowledge of English, and as soon as he could make himself understood he was sent out with a lay brother to beg alms for the building of monastery, and a little later he began his mis- sionary w°rk by assisting some hard-worked priests 1Jn .VerP00^ where he won the love and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. He was next iv?1 VT^SS:°ned se^ ou missi°ns at Flint and vT i former place a chapel had already been built through the exertions of F. Blackett o. J., but at Mold it was difficult to obtain even a room where mass could be said and instruction £ xyeQ* The poor congregation had to remove from cellar to garret, and back again, as in the days of persecution. Prejudice against the Catholics and their faith ran high, and every application for a piece of land met with a contemptuous refusal, until F. Elzear, bringing the wisdom of this world to bear upon the question, drove into Mold one fine day in Lady Fielding's carriage, accompanied by her ladyship, and again preferred his request for the desired plot of ground. The boon refused to the poor friar on foot was granted to him in such apparently improved circumstances, and he and his benefactress returned home rejoicing in the success of their expedition. F. Elzear now had charge of the missions of Flint and Mold, and his untiring zeal, with the re- markable union of energy and gentleness so pecu- liar to him,and his great power of sympathy,made him a most successful missioner. His work on Sundays was to say Mass, first at Flint, and then —still fasting, of course-to walk over the hills, a distance of six miles, to Mold, for a second Mass and other duties. In May, 1860, F. Elzear was sent by his Supe- rior to take charge of the mission of Pontypool, in S. Wales; and anyone who wishes to learn the de- tails of his work in that neighbourhood may find full information on the subject in a little work published a few years ago, entitled Franciscan Missions in Pontypool." It will suffice to say here, that when he entered upon his duties in that place, he found but one small church in an extensive district, containing about 7000 Catholics living in scattered groups, among the hills and valleys-no Catholic school, nor any provision for the instruction of the chil- dren that before he undertook the care of the mission its resources proved inadequate for the support of one priest, and that he entered upon it in absolute poverty, being even indebted to a friend for his railway fare thither, When he was removed from Pontypool in 1876 he left behind him a commodious monastery, with a community of Fathers and Brothers, an excellent school building at. Pontypool, with ten acres of land let out as cottage-gardens, a large school-chapel at Abersychan, and one in each of the outlying vil- lages of Blaenavon, Cwmbran, Risca, Blackwood, and Abertillery,* with four efficient schools under Government inspection, in which about 700 chil- dren were being educated. Surely in a short time he accomplished a great work. In 1876 the Superiors of the Capuchin Order, finding his talents and energy needed at Peckham, thought fit to remove him thither, and during the three years of his sojourn at that place, he has shown once more that, in any place, and under any circumstances, he will throw his whole heart into the work set before him. The two last-named were not quite completed, but the greater part of the work was done.

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