Letter, Fr. Francis M. Sheeran to Fr. John J. Fedigan (1896)


Letter, Fr. Francis M. Sheeran to Fr. John J. Fedigan (1896)


This letter was written by Fr. Francis Sheeran (former president of Villanova College) to Fr. John J. Fedigan in 1896. Written after William Moulden's death but before Mary Moulden's death, Fr. Francis Sheeran asks in this letter to be given credit for Moulden's gift to the Augustinians and to Villanova.


Fr. Francis M. Sheeran, O.S.A.


October 18, 1896


Angelina Lincoln


Augustinian Provincial Archive, Villanova, PA






Augustinian Provincial Archive, Villanova, PA, 219.02, folder 23


Villanova, October 18, 1896

V. Rev. J.J. Fedigan Prov.,

Dear Fr. Provincial,

You state in your letter to me that your reason for not being able to take my nephew at college is the need of money for the new buildings. You will get a few thousand dollars from the ‘Moulden Estate.’ Were it not for me Villanova would not, humanly speaking, receive one cent. It was I who prevented Mr. Moulden from selling his property. Having had a conversation with John Lindsay, Real Estate Agent, who sent for me and made known to me his plans, I went to Mr. Moulden and prevailed upon him not to sell. Mr. M[oulden] was dissatisfied and thought he would be better off if he left the old place and went to ... I asked him whether he thought that the interest of the money he would ... be sufficient for his support and Mary’s. I told him if he used the principal, he might soon find himself without anything. After using other arguments, I finally persuaded him not to sell. Had I not heard of this scheme, Mr. M[oulden] would have done what he ... did in Byrnes case—signed papers without knowing what he was signing. Such is a very brief statement of facts. I hope, therefore, when Villanova receives the money from the sale of Moulden’s property, a minimum at least, of credits will be given to me. You must know, as well as I do, ... have been educated for the Order who not only did not pay anything but where otherwise helped.

When you were president you received some three students’ nephews, I think, of Miss McCartney—for less than one hundred each per year. I was told she was displeased because you charged anything. You also received gratis one by who remained at the College six years or more. One of those is now in the kitchen. Also it is a custom of late to take B.B. [baseball] ... and educate them for their services in playing ball. On this point, Fr. Driscoll can inform you. He informed me. These students are ... tuition men, and they ... If Fathers McShane and O’Sullivan are the two you refer to in your letter as ... refused, I am sure they are as well able to pay for students as is a certain Father of ours in New York who is paying for a student here that is not studying for the Order.

Taking students for the Order—to say nothing of others—at reduced rates or gratis has been a custom. I returned from Rome in 1865 up to the very last ‘...' Be it borne in mind, too, that during a good part of that time too carried a heavy debt and were paying by interest.

In conclusion, I can say very frankly that it is not from disappointment, irritation, or impatience that I thus write, but because I cannot honestly ...

Respectfully yours,
F. M. Sheeran, O.S.A.



Fr. Francis M. Sheeran, O.S.A., “Letter, Fr. Francis M. Sheeran to Fr. John J. Fedigan (1896),” The Rooted Project , accessed February 5, 2023, https://rootedproject.org/items/show/70.

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