Poetry about Father Mazzuchelli from turn-of-the-century Saint Clara Academy

Posted in Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, Saint Clara Academy

Poetry about Father Mazzuchelli from turn-of-the-century Saint Clara Academy

 From the Saint Clara Academy, Sinsinawa student magazine The Young Eagle, at the turn of the century. The first three are very pleasing student works. Possibly the one that begins “Today we keep our holy Founder’s Day !” may have been written by a sister, on the basis that an author is not mentioned, but only “read by Mary Lyon,” who was a student. The poem was described as “the keynote” of the November 4th Founder’s day celebration at which it was read. The Founder’s Day program also included instrumental and vocal music selections, and an eloquent address by a priest on the life and spirit of the Founder.


Before my vision rises up this scene —
A dark and gloomy wood, and on the ground
I see a group of men, all seated ’round
A camp fire—one alone of cultured mein.
Their eyes are turned upon that face serene ;
Their hearts drunk in the sacred truths—new found ;
That tale of love in glowing words profound
Filled all their souls with love and longing keen.

” The black robe with the shining face,” ’twas this
Those simple hearted Indians christened him.
That shining face ! how little did it tell
The beauteous soul within. In Heavenly bliss
Thy spirit pure now joins the glorious hymn,
St. Clara’s Founder—Father Samuel.
MARGARET L. DURKIN,’99. [ie, class of 1899]


Low sinks the sun behind a bank of gold ;
His rays, a glowing ember’s crimson hue,
Have bathed the world in beauties ever new;
The bleating sheep return unto their fold
And twittering birds are chirping their adieu
As earth coquettishly twilight doth woo,
While one there is by all this scene consol’d.

It was our Father whose prophetic eye
Beheld a spot that should be God’s alone,
And now there stands that monument of love—
A perfect harp touched by his soul on high—
The chords are praise, a prayer, is every tone
Entreating him to bless us from above.


In grand old city, Milan, far away,
A rosebud from the heavenly garden bright
Found home, and grew to flower in its light—
A pure white rose, absorbing each glad ray ;
A pilgrim in the straight and narrow way,
A warrior ever in the thickest fight;
The cloak of charity diverts aright
The darts of evil that so near him play.

From sunny Italy to wilds o’ergrown
This architect of noble lives did come,
And wandering through the forest all around
He saw the Mound where nature set her throne,
Thought he, more truly God’s should this become,
Then here he raised Saint Clara of,the Mound.



Died February 23, 1864

Today we keep our holy Founder’s Day !
The memory of him whose soul doth sway,
Will ever sway St. Clara’s destiny ;
Our own dear Father Samuel, whose eye,
Prophetic, lit with love for every soul
Our dear Lord died for, radiant, saw the goal
Towards which St. Clara moves, with brave, clear glance,
And steady step timed to the swift advance
Of thought guided by God’s sweet Providence—
He made St. Clara for us.

Far from hence,
In his own sunny clime, fair Italy,
Where proud Milan looks eastward o’er the sea,
He saw the light fust; and ‘mid stately halls,
The pride and wealth of his ancestral walls,
The fair child grew in beauty as in grace.
Bright as the morning sunlight was his face
That ever kept that gladsome, holy light,
Alike in happy days or darkest night
Of grief or care; whether in weal or woe,
That radiant look lightened each toil below.

The gentle boyish sweetness blent with strength,
The tender sympathy that, to the length
And breadth of daily deeds, lent sweetest charm,
Softening outlines unlovely into warm
And gracious curves of loving helpfulness—
The power to ever soothe and cheer and bless—
The flashing keenness of the intellect.
Wonderest thou a father’s proud love to elect
In this fair boy, the flower of the proud race,
For a royal soul claiming the kingliest place
Above the throng? To glorify the name
Ancestral; the proud race’s pride to frame
And set on high for all the world to praise.
Such would be worthy deed for the fair days
And years of this bright manhood.

Beyond his wildest dream, and sanctified
Was that proud name, but not with such poor fame.
Our Father wrote, in after days, his name
Only where God could read it; on the heart
Of those who loved and chose the better part;
On the souls of Christ’s poor, on churches’ walls,
Raised to God’s service, where the rushing falls
Of torrents wild had once been all the sound,
Breaking the lonely silentness profound.
For, round his daily path, that mystic glow
That brighteneth e’er those souls ordained to go
Upon God’s service in His Inner Shrine,
Of those who break the Bread and pour the Wine
Of the awful Godhead in His Sacrament,
Shone ever higher; with work and play these blent
Ever the Fire of the Sacrifice,
On which, whoever looks with reverent eyes,
Anointed, evermore to his clear sight
All things show outlines true, in God’s clear light.

Ever ‘mid boyish dreams there gleamed a flame
Beckoning him on; sad voices called his name.
And when he donned his Friar’s robe of white,
‘Twas the sweet hope one day to dye it bright
With crimson glory of a martyr’s death,
That stirred his heart as with the trumpet’s breath.

What could a soul do, formed of such white fire,
But let the holy flame burn ever higher?
But choose that life that makes this earth a Heaven,
Wielding the power to men, not angels given,
To call the Eternal God down from His Throne,
Silent, to rest upon our Altar-stone?

And so when early youth’s horizon view
Broadened before him—when that strong soul knew
His path lay plain e’er upward, not a look
He backward cast; all home joys he forsook
To join the army of the Warrior Saint,
Our own Saint Dominic, with soul intent
To slay the hydra of foul unbelief.
‘Twas what he pined for; struggle, sharp and brief,
‘Gainst loving home-ties—then his gaze he turned
To where upon his leader’s brow there burned
That ray whose reflex e’er had shown on him.
There was the same light that had ne’er grown dim.
Upon his own brow; what had shone so clear
Was but the radiance of Saint Dominic’s star!

Roll back the five and fifty folded years,
Those faithful records of a holy past!
Writ close in characters of light appears
That short, full life, too glorious to last.
This sunset land, dotted with churches o’er,
Set thick with shrines, whose gleaming nevermore
Shall die down into darkness; starving souls
Fed with the Living Bread; while the bright scrolls
That Science, Religion’s handmaid, bears aloft,
Sparkle on every gleaming page, with soft
And lambent light circling around that name—
Our Father’s, who despised all earthly fame.

Then came the sweetest work of that rich life,
The dearest to his heart. Amid the strife
E’er raging round the Soldier of the Cross,
He found full respite from all pain and loss,
Building Saint Clara’s for us.

There is a sweet old legend I have heard
That telleth, on that day when Christ the Lord
Left earth for Heaven, that first Ascension Day,
He chose each spot whereon He willed to lay
In after days, His Wondrous Sacrifice,
Circling the broad earth. With Divine, sweet Eyes
He marked each shrine that he ordained to bless,
And there alit, His Blessed Feet to press
One rapturous instant on that favored sod
Whereon He willed to dwell—the Hidden God,
Thereafter; and so, when our Father’s gaze
First met fair Sinsinawa, with amaze
And gladness at its beauty, did he see,
With vision cleared by Love’s humility,
Soft-shining through the dark, that Imprint blest,
Whereon the Pierced Feet Divine had pressed ?

Who can tell ?
The Saints learn to keep their sweet secrets well.
He had heard wondrous tones, seen wondrous sights,
Through those long, lonely journeys—days and nights
Of toil and suffering; struggling through the flood
Of icy torrents; toiling through the wood
Whose massive growth no axe had ever known —
His bleeding feet bruised by each cruel stone-
Where Angel-guided, Angel-comforted,
He struggled to the sinner’s dying bed,
Some lonely savage whom his charity
Had loosed from chains of dark idolatry.

But this we know : Our Father Samuel claimed
This spot for God and Science to be named
Forever; and straightway to him was given
This Mound—a Vineyard for the King of Heaven.
Here first a College Sanctuary rose
Wherein, at early dawn and daylight’s close,
Rose up to God the white-robed Friar’s chant.
Then hastening with holy zeal to plant
More and more Vineyards to the dear Lord’s glory,
Founded Saint Clara’s; thence the sweet old story
That toucheth close our heart-strings; therein lies
For us the glory of his sacrifice.

He built Saint Clara for us! Down the years,
Glowing with gladness—dashed with bitter tears,
Unrolls our Alma Mater’s record. There,
Written in our Father’s heart’s blood, doth appear
Each work of holy strength, each humble deed,
Each burden borne for weaker souls in need.
Greater than all, the countless masses said
For the holy living and the holy dead.

All that our Father through himself hath wrought,
All that he ever to his children taught
Of love of God, and souls writ full and free
On those fair pages for us all to see;
All that our Sisters’ patient toil hath done,
Each precious soul their loving prayers hath won.
The dear Alumnae’s ever lengthening band,
Who through the length and breadth of all our land
Hold up the standard of brave womanhood,
Forever lifting up to thoughts of good,
Whatever lives lean on them ; all that we,
Saint Clara Girls today, of charity
Or humblest little work of prayer or play ”
Have done for God and souls—ever, alway,
All good things, great and small, must be referred
To Father Mazzuchelli’s wondrous word,—
That promise to his own, that woeful day,
When he lay gasping his dear life away,
In the Old Home in Benton.