Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott – Hell

Authored by: Jill Moretto

A page from the Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott on the subject of Hell.

A page from the Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott on the subject of Hell.

This object is part of a six-page excerpt from the Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott.  Walter Elliott, born on January 6, 1842, was one of the first missionaries with the Paulist Fathers, a group dedicated to spreading the word of God and reaching out to immigrant communities, those who are alienated, those who question or seek faith, and people of diverse racial, cultural and economic backgrounds.[1]  Elliott was ordained a priest in 1872 and around that same time, authored a spiritual journal where he discussed fourteen individual topics related to religion and Catholic Christianity. 

The object in this blog is page 56 of Elliott’s journal, where he discusses “Hell”; its existence and the punishments of those who enter it.  The artifacts are scanned images in TIFF format of pages 56-61 of his original journal, which is presently housed in the archives of St. Paul’s College in Washington, D.C.  The journal pages are handwritten in the English language and contain multiple paragraphs of neatly arranged cursive in black colored ink.

According to Elliott, the doctrine of the Catholic Church decrees that “there is a Hell and its punishments are eternal”.[2]  Within the pages, Elliott speaks of torments, torture and fire once a soul has descended into the depths of Hell.  Elliott affirms that Hell is the antithesis of Heaven by stating that “there is a much difference between right and wrong as between Heaven and Hell”.[3]

After carefully examining the pages, it is apparent that Walter Elliott was dedicated to the life of ordained priesthood, as his passion for religion and the principles of the Catholic Church resonate throughout his personal journal entries.  The missions of Walter Elliott and the Paulist Fathers align with the Vincentian tradition embraced by St. John’s University, a tradition that provides service to communities and organizations in need of assistance.  By transcribing the scanned pages of Elliott’s journal, my group and I are able to help the Paulist Fathers share his writings with the public and allow his entries to be preserved eternally.  Once transcribed and digitized, we are able to make the Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott word searchable so that they can be easily found and have a presence outside of the archive.


Elliott, Walter. The Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliot. P. 56-61.

Lynch, John E., “On the Road: The history of Paulist Missions”.  Paulist Fathers. Accessed March 24, 2014 from http://www.paulist.org/associates/road-history-paulist-missions

“List of Deceased Paulists”. Paulist Fathers. Accessed March 24, 2014. http://paulist.org/history/list-deceased-paulists

“Listening to God: A Hecker Reflection.” Paulist Fathers. Accessed March 25, 2014. http://paulist.org/profile/history/listening-god-hecker-reflection

“Locations” Paulist Fathers. Accessed March 25, 2014. http://paulist.org/locations

“Mission Statement.” Paulist Fathers. Accessed March 24, 2014.



[1] “Mission Statement.” Paulist Fathers. Accessed March 24, 2014. http://www.paulist.org/about/mission-statement.

[2] Walter Elliott, The Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott, 57

[3] Walter Elliott, The Spiritual Journal of Walter Elliott, 58