By the point of the summer’s end in that same year, 1862, more help had arrived in the diocese in the form of Ursuline nuns responding to Father Martin Fox's plea to “open an Academy in his now flourishing parish.” That good news, unfortunately, arrived at the same time as our two young students, bringing us to the point of our narrative where we left off the other day.
On the same day [September 14, 1862], to the great surprise of the Bishop, the two clerics, Flannigan and Sweeney, arrived, who had been sent to Milwaukee to complete their theology…. He either had to send them to Canada or ordain them. He chose the latter, and the following morning, Monday, September 15th, he conferred sub-deaconship, and on the 16th deaconship upon Mr. Flannigan, while he still hesitated about Mr. Sweeney who was not as well advanced. But finally he decided to ordain both. On the 17th he gave to Mr. Sweeney sub-deaconate and on 18th deaconate. He was ordained priest on the 19th and immediately sent to Hancock. P. M. Flannigan, who wished to be raised to priesthood in his parish church at the Minesota Mine, also left for home on the day of his elevation to the deaconate.
This provides, at last, a reversal of Bishop Baraga’s proclivity to deflect Father Jacker’s promotional attempts on the behalf of his protégé, James Sweeney. All that had been done up to this point by Father Jacker, as author Antoine Rezek had put it, “did not accelerate the solution of the bishop's hesitation.” And yet, even now, if it hadn’t been for a sweet promise to a mother, undoubtedly, Patrick Flannigan would also have been ordained on September 19, if not sooner.
Though seeking fully prepared men to serve in his diocese, Bishop Baraga still felt the responsibility to staff his parishes and mission outposts. Despite this, both he and now-Deacon Patrick Flannigan seemed to have an understanding that the latter should pursue—somehow, in this war-torn time period—further education at the seminary level. How this was to be achieved—indeed, what preparations, if any were being made toward this end—is not clear from the narrative in Rezek’s History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette.
Whatever the delay, it was sufficiently long enough to introduce late season travel hazards, as we’ll see tomorrow when the Bishop, Father Jacker and the deacon begin their journey together to the appointed parish for the first ordination outside of the Cathedral in this diocese.
Above right: Father Edward Jacker, from History of the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, page 377; in the public domain.