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The Scottish Catholics in Prince Edward Island 1772 - 1922
Chapter X


Among the passengers on board the "Alexander" was Hugh Ban MacEachern of Kinloch, Moidart, in Scotland, who with his wife and nine of his children had decided to try his fortune in the New World. Two of the family remained behind in Scotland, viz :-a daughter, Margaret who had married a short time prior to the emigration, and Angus Bernard, the youngest child of the family, who was left in charge of Right Reverend Hugh MacDonald, Bishop of the Highland District. Angus Bernard, who was fourteen years of age when his parents set out for America, made his early studies in Scotland, under the direction of the Bishop, and later was sent to Spain, to the Royal Scots College at Valladolid where he spent several years, and where he was raised to the Priesthood on August 20th, 1787.

He immediately went back to his native land, and took up the work of the Holy Ministry, dividing his time between the mainland and several of the adjacent Islands. The people amongst whom he labored were at the time decidedly dissatisfied with their lot, and many of them were filled with the idea of emigration. They had received glowing accounts of the comfort and happiness of their kinsfolk in Prince Edward Island, and were looking forward to the day when they would be able to join them in their adopted country. This condition of affairs had gone on for a considerable time; but the death of Father James changed the aspect of things, and went a long way towards cooling the ardor of their desires.

Now however, new hopes rose up within them. They thought within themselves; why could not Father MacEachern come with them to America, as did Father James in the case of the first emigrants. He was now in the prime and vigor of his early manhood, filled with the spirit of his Divine calling, ready to brave any hardships that would promote the glory of God and salvation of souls, why could he not come out to the New World, whither so many of his kindred had already gone, and who were now in sore need of priestly consolation? The prospect thus opened before the young priest was not by any means a pleasant one. It meant much labor and hardship: but above all other considerations, he could not help recalling to mind the pathetic death of Father James, and this thought was certainly well calculated to give him pause. But other considerations lured him on. He fully understood all the possibilities of service to God and humanity, that would lie within his reach in the new country. He saw before his mind's eye the touching picture of so many souls crying for bread and none to break it to them. Amongst their number he saw his own father and mother bereft of Spiritual consolation in a foreign land, and thus to the motives of religion were added the more natural appeals of flesh and blood, till he seemed no longer able to resist and so decided to come to America. Accordingly plans for a second emigration were speedily made, and in the early Summer of 1790 Father MacEachern with a large band of emigrants set sail from Scotland, and arrived in Prince Edward Island about the middle of August of the same year.

The new comers received a warm welcome from their friends at Scotchfort, who were fortunately in a position to bestow upon them the kindly attentions so much needed after a long ocean voyage. Father MacEachern was welcomed with special cordiality by all the people, but particularly by his parents who had parted from him eighteen years before. We may well imagine the joy of his mother to see her boy of fourteen years grown to manhood, and vested with the character of the Holy Priesthood. It was indeed a day of great rejoicing at Scotchfort, when a Priest again appeared on the scene, and the walls of the old church echoed back once more the thrilling words of Sacrifice.

With little or no delay Father MacEachern entered upon his missionary career in the new Colony. He took up the same round of arduous duties that had sapped the energies of the lamented Father James, and brought him down to an early grave. In fact these labors were more difficult now, because the people were more numerous and were spread out over larger areas, for many of them, on leaving the Tracadie Estate had settled in remote places to which access was very difficult. But Father MacEachern quailed not at the sight of labor. He was above all things else a man of duty imbued with the true missionary spirit, and neither labor nor difficulty could stay his ardor, and so without delay he took up the work interrupted five years previously by the untimely death of Father James, and by the blessing of God, he was able to carry on the same without rest or pause for a period of forty-five years. Wonderful changes took place in Prince Edward Island in those fortyfive years, but throughout them all he changed not, he ever remained the same gentle, humble follower of the Divine Master whose life he strove to imitate, as "He went about doing good."


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