June 29th is the date every year that the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers celebrate their Foundation Day. This year, the Society is celebrating its 110th anniversary so I wanted to find an early Foundation Day speech to highlight here. I came across this speech by co-founder, Father James Anthony Walsh that was given on June 29, 1913. Below is the text from that speech. Please click on the photos for their captions.
On this day it is only fitting to look back over the past year and to recall with a special commemoration of thanksgiving all that God has done for us, and this we will do in a few words.
This day marks for us not only the closing of our first scholastic year, but it marks in a special way the second milestone in the existence of this, our young Society.
Just two years ago today Father Price and I went to the office of the Propaganda with the assurance of receiving the final answer in regard to our work. We felt quite sure that with the support of the Archbishops of the United States and the good will expressed by Cardinal Gotti, the answer would be a favorable one, but things work slowly in Rome, and so we went with a certain amount of trembling and anxiety to the apartments of Cardinal Gotti by way of the old-fashioned elevator which runs there.
He greeted us with a smile and in a very short time told us that the Congregation of the Propaganda had decided to give us the word to go forward. We were instructed to purchase property as soon as we could find a convenient place and call for students.
That was two years ago today. A year ago today we were still in our first home. We had secured a site from which we could make observations, and that was about all. No students had been received – we were not ready for them – and looking at my diary last night I saw that a year ago today I was looking over the property at Pocantico Hills with Monsignor Dunn, expecting soon to purchase it.
You all know what has happened since then. The Providence of God has guided us to this place, and our lines have certainly fallen in pleasant places.
We stand today at the second milestone. We have climbed the hill some, and have reason to look back with thanksgiving to God…
We can only be thankful to God for all the blessing He has rained upon us and the success thus far of our young Society. And now there is for a time a parting of ways. The students are leaving today for a few weeks to repair their energies and to come back again fresh for the labors ahead. We are all members of the same body. Our little Society sends out this special corps into the world to make known by word and example our work. We do not know what the results will be of this little excursion – God may be using them as His instruments to draw some precious soul to labor for Christ. But we do know that they need our prayers and we need theirs. The Communion of Saints demands that we pray for one another, so that living under one roof, we pay for one another too. And so they go with our prayers and knowing that not a day shall pass when we shall not offer a special prayer for their safety of body and soul, and their greater usefulness in the service of God. And as they receive our Lord daily, as I know they will receive Him, they will look back to Maryknoll with the real affection which I know they have for it, and pray for us, that God may develop us all along more perfect lines and make us really strong and perfect in His work.