Fire Upon the Earth A BIOGRAPHY OF BISHOP MICHAEL ANTHONY FLEMING, O.S.F. Brother J.B. Darcy
300 pages, 5.5" x 8.5"
Fire was the constant companion of Michael Anthony Fleming, OSF, fourth Vicar Apostolic and first Bishop of Newfoundland. A disastrous fire in 1846 destroyed most of the capital city of St. John's and, with it, much of his hopes. His own fiery temperament led him, at times, into impulsive and sometimes imprudent actions.. To many of his contemporaries, particularly those in positions of authority, he was an "incendiary priest," a political firebrand igniting the flames of discord throughout the island. To others—by far the majority of those who knew him personally—he was a prelate on fire with the love of God and neighbour, driving himself to incredible lengths for the sake of the spiritual and material welfare of his flock.
While the immense Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John's, with its artistic treasures, is his crowning glory, he is revered also for introducing, at great personal sacrifice, both the Presentation Sisters and the Sisters of Mercy as well as the Franciscan Brothers to Newfoundland.
In spite of these and many other achievements, Bishop Fleming is virtually unknown to all except to a few scholars in Newfoundland. Yet he was undoubtedly one of the greatest Canadian figures of the first half of the 19th century. Fortunately, many original documents in various languages about and by him are still extant in the Archives of Propaganda in Rome, in the Colonial Office records in England, in the National Library in Ireland, in the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and particularly in the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Archives of St. John's.
Br. Joseph B. Darcy, a native of St. John's and former Vicar General of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, has spent the past nine years unearthing and translating this historical record and preparing Bishop Fleming's Life for publication. Bishop Fleming is now being nominated as one of the great historical figures of Canada In the course of his investigations, Brother Darcy has come to believe that Bishop Fleming is worthy also to be raised to the altars of the Church.
Brother Darcy writes a monthly historical column for the Monitor. He is the author of Fair or Foul the Weather, the story of St. Bonaventure's College during the tumultuous last decade of the nineteenth century, and of the prize-winning play One Man's Journey based on the life of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, Founder of the Christian Brothers.
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