Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
(New York: Knopf, 1927), 297
- "Father Ferrand; Irish by birth, French by ancestry — a man of wide wanderings and notable achievement in the New World, an Odysseus of the Church."
- "The language spoken was French — the time had already gone by when Cardinals could conveniently discuss contemporary matters in Latin."
- "He must be a man to whom order is necessary — as dear as life."
- Jean Marie Latour
BOOK ONE. THE VICAR APOSTOLIC
1. THE CRUCIFORM TREE
- "His manners, even when he was alone in the desert, were distinguished. He had a kind of courtesy toward himself, toward his beasts, toward the juniper tree before which he knelt, and the God whom he was addressing."
- "Empowered by long training, the young priest blotted himself out of his own consciousness and meditated upon the anguish of his Lord. The Passion of Jesus became for him the only reality; the need of his own body was but a part of that conception."
- Value of books: "His steamer was wrecked and sunk in the Galveston harbour, and he had lost all his worldly possessions except his books, which he saved at the risk of his life."
2. HIDDEN WATER
3. THE BISHOP CHEZ LUI
- The thick clay walls had been finished on the inside by the deft palms of Indian women, and had that irregular and intimate quality of things made entirely by the human hand.
4. A BELL AND A MIRACLE
- “Where there is great love there are always miracles,” he said at length. “One might almost say that an apparition is human vision corrected by divine love. I do not see you as you really are, Joseph; I see you through my affection for you. The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.”
BOOK TWO. MISSIONARY JOURNEYS
1. THE WHITE MULES
- "A man can stop work to be married."
2. THE LONELY ROAD TO MORA
BOOK THREE. THE MASS AT ÁCOMA
1. THE WOODEN PARROT
3. THE ROCK
4. THE LEGEND OF FRAY BALTAZAR
BOOK FOUR. SNAKE ROOT
1. THE NIGHT AT PECOS
2. STONE LIPS
- "He said his prayers before he rolled out of his blankets, remembering Father Vaillant’s maxim that if you said your prayers first, you would find plenty of time for other things afterward."
BOOK FIVE. PADRE MARTÍNEZ
1. THE OLD ORDER
- "Father Latour disliked his personality so much that he could scarcely look at him."
- “I often say to my husband, I hope you will not try to do that. It would only set the people against you. The old people have need of their old customs; and the young ones will go with the times.”
2. THE MISER
- "In those days, even in European countries, death had a solemn social importance. It was not regarded as a moment when certain bodily organs ceased to function, but as a dramatic climax, a moment when the soul made its entrance into the next world, passing in full consciousness through a lowly door to an unimaginable scene."
BOOK SIX. DOÑA ISABELLA
1. DON ANTONIO
2. THE LADY
BOOK SEVEN. THE GREAT DIOCESE
1. THE MONTH OF MARY
- “Not since the days of early Christianity has the Church been able to do what it can here.”
2. DECEMBER NIGHT (!)
- "Never, as he afterward told Father Vaillant, had it been permitted him to behold such deep experience of the holy joy of religion as on that pale December night. He was able to feel, kneeling beside her, the preciousness of the things of the altar to her who was without possessions; the tapers, the image of the Virgin, the figures of the saints, the Cross that took away indignity from suffering and made pain and poverty a means of fellowship with Christ. Kneeling beside the much enduring bond-woman, he experienced those holy mysteries as he had done in his young manhood. He seemed able to feel all it meant to her to know that there was a Kind Woman in Heaven, though there were such cruel ones on earth. Old people, who have felt blows and toil and known the world’s hard hand, need, even more than children do, a woman’s tenderness. Only a Woman, divine, could know all that a woman can suffer."
3. SPRING IN THE NAVAJO COUNTRY
- "They seemed to have none of the European’s desire to “master” nature, to arrange and recreate. They spent their ingenuity in the other direction; in accommodating themselves to the scene in which they found themselves."
BOOK EIGHT. GOLD UNDER PIKE’S PEAK
- "I want a plain church, but I want a good one."
- “But the Cathedral is not for us, Father Joseph. We build for the future — better not lay a stone unless we can do that.
2. A LETTER FROM LEAVENWORTH
3. AUSPICE MARIA!
- "For himself, he required no books but his breviary."
- "It was just this solitariness of love in which a priest’s life could be like his Master’s. It was not a solitude of atrophy, of negation, but of perpetual flowering. A life need not be cold, or devoid of grace in the worldly sense, if it were filled by Her who was all the graces; Virgin-daughter, Virgin-mother, girl of the people and Queen of Heaven: le rêve suprême de la chair. The nursery tale could not vie with Her in simplicity, the wisest theologians could not match Her in profundity."
- "To fulfil the dreams of one’s youth; that is the best that can happen to a man. No worldly success can take the place of that.”"
BOOK NINE. DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP
- "Pascal: that Man was lost and saved in a garden."
- The old man smiled. “I shall not die of a cold, my son. I shall die of having lived.”
Then Father Junípero and his companion related fully their adventure. They had set out with bread and water for one day. But on the second day they had been travelling since dawn across a cactus desert and had begun to lose heart when, near sunset, they espied in the distance three great cottonwood trees, very tall in the declining light. Toward these they hastened. As they approached the trees, which were large and green and were shedding cotton freely, they observed an ass tied to a dead trunk which stuck up out of the sand. Looking about for the owner of the ass, they came upon a little Mexican house with an oven by the door and strings of red peppers hanging on the wall. When they called aloud, a venerable Mexican, clad in sheepskins, came out and greeted them kindly, asking them to stay the night. Going in with him, they observed that all was neat and comely, and the wife, a young woman of beautiful countenance, was stirring porridge by the fire. Her child, scarcely more than an infant and with no garment but his little shirt, was on the floor beside her, playing with a pet lamb.
They found these people gentle, pious, and well-spoken. The husband said they were shepherds. The priests sat at their table and shared their supper, and afterward read the evening prayers. They had wished to question the host about the country, and about his mode of life and where he found pasture for his flock, but they were overcome by a great and sweet weariness, and taking each a sheepskin provided him, they lay down upon the floor and sank into deep sleep. When they awoke in the morning they found all as before, and food set upon the table, but the family were absent, even to the pet lamb, — having gone, the Fathers supposed, to care for their flock.
When the Brothers at the monastery heard this account they were amazed, declaring that there were indeed three cottonwood trees growing together in the desert, a well-known landmark; but that if a settler had come, he must have come very lately. So Father Junípero and Father Andrea, his companion, with some of the Brothers and the scoffing muleteer, went back into the wilderness to prove the matter. The three tall trees they found, shedding their cotton, and the dead trunk to which the ass had been tied. But the ass was not there, nor any house, nor the oven by the door. Then the two Fathers sank down upon their knees in that blessed spot and kissed the earth, for they perceived what Family it was that had entertained them there.
Father Junípero confessed to the Brothers how from the moment he entered the house he had been strangely drawn to the child, and desired to take him in his arms, but that he kept near his mother.
When the priest was reading the evening prayers the child sat upon the floor against his mother’s knee, with the lamb in his lap, and the Father found it hard to keep his eyes upon his breviary. After prayers, when he bade his hosts good-night, he did
indeed stoop over the little boy in blessing; and the child had lifted his hand, and with his tiny finger made the cross upon Father Junípero’s forehead.