CHAPLAIN of OLD 69th TELLS OF SOLDIBRS' NEEDS
An old Cobourg Boy(FATHER FRANCIS PATRICK DUFFY,)
'Devoted, Cheerful, They Give Their All and Are Thankful as Children When Anyone Gives a Thought to Them'writes Father Duffy from France.
The following letter, dated January 12, (1918) has been received from Father Francis Patrick Duffy, Chaplain of the 165th Infantry (old 69th), by the women's Auxiliary of the 165th, which has headquarters in the armory, formerly the headquarters of the regiment, at Lexington Avenue and 26th Street, New York.
'Dear Mrs. Hennings and members of the Women's Auxiliary. 165th Infantry:
Your letter to me arrived at our station two days before Christmas. Your Christmas gifts were on time, but the regiment was due for a four days' march to a new station, they were not then delivered - a wise judgment, as the gifts would become largely a burden, or a loss. On the account of the lack of transportation, they and other personal gifts arrived only last night.
'They are being arranged by a chosen corps of workers for sending out to the companies, and they will bring joy to the hearts of many a lad burdened with weariness or lonesomeness.
'There are some natural reasons to regret that we could not receive those present on Christmas Day, but we had a pleasant Christmas as it was and the receipt of these packages is rather an extension of the festivities than a denial of them. So you ladies need not worry over that. You have given us two Christmas days instead of one. 'If you could see how keenly the fellows enjoy getting these packages. I have distributed some to men in this town - you would feel repaid for your labor and time and pains. Mothers who stay up late to dress a Christmas tree and fill stockings never need to debate whether it was worth while when they see the children's' eyes in the morning. And here, so far from home and comforts, we get back to that blessed stage, I tell you, the most enthusiastic worker among you all, would find, if she saw the joy her work has brought, something more than ever she dare to dream.
‘I want you all to know this, for it is the one reward to your blessing womanly souls that means anything to you - may the good Lord bless you - that made you so good and so fine.
'You hit me in my soft spot when you took care of the uncared for. I always have them in mind, whatever comes in. We are all homeless in a way.
'The good French women often speak to me as a matter of the chiefest sympathy that our poor boys give up even the occasional chance of going home on leave. But those who have not even anybody to send them something that means home are hardest off, and I do like the spirit that makes you think of them.
'The knitted woollens have not yet arrived here; they will soon. In this regard, I would say that scarves seem to me the most practical. There is always a place for sweaters, of course, as they will not last forever. Helmets and socks are hard to knit and socks may be bought machine made. Scarves are easy to make; they present no problem to the knitter and they take the place of a helmet.
'I shall try to secure that list of dependents for you, Lieut- Col. Reed was assigned to new duties outside the regiment right after we got him and that has taken up his time.
'I am glad to hear the Auxiliary is showing such interest, though the huge and numerous cases of gifts would prove the numbers and interest of the workers, 'And let me add, in all frankness, that the evening the Auxiliary was established, I had no such means of knowing and no assured hopes that its work would be so fruitful as it has proved itself to be. For this the Regiment owes its thanks to the presiding officer, to the committees, and to the willing and unselfish workers who have devoted themselves so generously to our boys in the field. And to come to the text to which we can all say' Amen,' they deserve all that any of us can do for them - devoted, cheerful, uncompromising - they give their all, and are as thankful as children when anyone gives a thought to them.
'Keep on in your good work; you are doing better than you know, and God, who likes best what we do for those who need it most, will reward you in His own good way. Yours in the good work.
(Father Francis P. Duffy was born in a house, located on the west side of Forth Street, Cobourg, directly opposite the end of Tweed Street. - Percy L. Climo)
FRANCIS P. DUFFY.