The Catholic population of
Prince Edward Island, at the present day, is made up of several groups or
classes, each doing its share in building up a healthy public spirit, and
each bound by ties of gratitude to generous and devoted forefathers. Upon
the united action of all these, the Church depends for the success of her
Mission in this portion of her inheritance.
The oldest group is made up
of the Mic Macs, those simple children of nature, who were the original
inhabitants of Prince Edward Island, and whose musical accents first
invoked the name of God in the leafy aisles of Nature's temple, as they
roamed the pathless forests of their well-beloved Abegweit. They have
never completely outgrown the wandering tendencies of their race, nor have
they kept pace with the other inhabitants in the march of our so-called
civilization; but they have proved ever steadfast in their allegiance to
Holy Church, and it is their proud boast, that not one of their number
ever abandoned the Faith delivered to them by their first Missionaires.
The second group is the
French or Acadians, who were the first Europeans to bring the Faith of
Christ to our Shores. By the fortunes of war they suffered much, and
became to a great extent, wanderers in a country once their own; but
throughout it all the priceless heritage of Faith remained to them, and
today the country does not hold more loyal, active and progressive
citizens than the faithful Acadians of Prince Edward Island.
The third group is composed
of the Scottish Catholics, whose coming to the country and subsequent
activities are detailed in the preceeding pages.
Lastly, we have a large and
influential body of Irish people, originally of the same stock as the
Scotch, and who came thither under like conditions of persecution at home
and hopes of religious freedom abroad. They are an industrious progressive
and God-fearing people, who have prospered well in this country, and have
formed themselves into flourishing parishes, where they are a powerful
factor for good, in the civil and religious life of the community.
In the hands of all these
people lies the future of the Catholic Church in Prince Edward Island, and
on their united action it depends to make that future grand and glorious.
The history of the
evolution of this prosperous Province from humble and obscure beginnings
is an interesting and fascinating story, whilst the steady growth of the
Catholic Church in the face of many odds, ever keeping pace with civil
development, is not less interesting and admirable.
If it is true that
civilization begets civilization; that improvement prepares the way for
further improvement; that the development of one age leads up to the
greater development of succeeding ages; then may we not look forward to
wonderful progress in the next one hundred and fifty years.
The publishers of this
"Memorial Volume" fondly cherish the hope, that the Scottish Catholics of
the next Century and a half in Prince Edward Island, will prove true to
the best traditions of their race, that banded together with those of
other nationalities, they will do their part well and nobly for Faith and
Fatherland. If in the dark and gloomy days of persecution they were able
to accomplish so much, what greater achievements may we not expect of
them, now that the clouds have rolled away, and religious freedom like the
sun in its noon-day splendour, sheds its vivifying rays upon all their
May the little mound at
Scotchfort, upon which stands the monument to the pioneers, become in
future years a trysting place for Scottish Catholic thought and sentiment;
may the descendants of those pioneers from all over the country, come
thither in spirit to reinvigorate their energies, by a meditation on the
deeds of the past, and may one and all find in that hallowed spot, an
inspiration urging them ever onward to higher and nobler achievements.
Such was the dominant thought in the minds of those, who organized the
celebration of 1922, and such is the idea crystallized in the monument
erected to the memory of the early emigrants.
"Remember the days of old,
think upon every generation; ask thy. Father and He will declare to thee;
thy elders and they will tell thee." (Deut. XXXII. 7) "We have heard, 0
God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us.
The work thou hast wrought
in their days, and in the days of old. For they got not possession of the
land by their own sword: neither did their own arm save them.
But thy right hand and thy
arm, and the light of thy countenance: because thou wast well pleased with
them. (Ps. XLIII. 2. 3. seq.)