By Kelly Povero
The Paulist Fathers were founded in 1858 by a group of former missionaries. The group was led by Father Isaac Hecker who believed that Protestant America could convert solely to Roman Catholic via spirituality. The Paulist Fathers used three main forms to express their message: sermons, public lectures, and the distribution of pamphlets and newspapers that explained what they stood for. The mission of the Paulist Fathers is to create one unified Roman Catholic America. Their mission statement includes giving the “Word of God a voice” and searching out those individuals who have no church or religion, or given theirs up, and seek to offer them home in Roman Catholicism.
Reverend Walter Elliott was born in Detroit in 1842 and served in the Civil War. He did not join the Paulist Fathers until after he returned home. He believed that his mission was best suited towards Christians and that by converting Christians, he would help create responsible citizens.
This semester, our group worked on transcribing various sections from Walter Elliott’s Spiritual Journal. The section I focused on is called “The life and death of the Sinner.” Reverend Elliott writes about how throughout our lives, we are simply preparing for death. The introductory paragraph focuses on how life and death work together and are essentially, one in the same. He writes, “Life foreshadows death…death mirrors life.” He explains that as a Sinner, you will experience a bad death and that those close to you will not be ignorant to your sins. But those who live healthy, good lives, will experience happy deaths at an old age.