Thursday, August 24, 2017

"A priest's face ..." Reflection on Fr. McGivney

Fr. Michael J. McGivney (1852-1890) was the founder of the Kights of Columbus. Here is a snippet about his personality from a contemporary who knew him, which I found in my copy of Columbia magazine, which arrived today. Fortunately, it's also online and thus linked below:

Fr. Joseph G. Daley, "The Personality of Father McGivney," Columbia (August 2017), pp. 21-22 (extract):
I remember meeting with Father McGivney in New Haven in 1883, the year after the first incorporation of the Knights. He was then in the prime of his vigor, entrusted by a good but delicate pastor, Father Lawlor, with the management of St. Mary’s, a parish lying close under the towers of Yale College and at that time the most aristocratic parish in Connecticut. Father McGivney himself was anything but aristocratic; he was a man of extreme grace of manner in any society, but without any airs, without any “lugs,” if you will pardon the expression. I saw him but once and yet I remember his pale, beautiful face as if I saw it only yesterday; it was “a priest’s face,” and that explains everything. It was a face of wonderful repose; there was nothing harsh in that countenance, although there was everything that was strong; there was nothing sordid, nothing mercenary, nothing of the politician, nothing of the axe-grinder. Guile and ambition were as far from him as from heaven. To meet him was at once to trust him; children actually loved him; and the very old people of the neighborhood, whom he hunted up and who got part of his time even on busiest days, called him a positive saint and meant it....

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