On July 26, 1912, Edward J. Flanagan was ordained a priest in Innsbruck, Austria. Here, Father Flanagan's holy work and studies began, very little records existed of this period in his life…until now.
Walter "Joe" Welch's aunt was married to one of Father Flanagan's nephews. Walter passed away on Thanksgiving of 2015 but he left behind something incredible for his children to discover.
While Walter's four children were cleaning out their father's house after his passing they came across an old black suitcase that was filled with several different books that belonged to Father Flanagan, they were in Latin, German and Spanish. One of the books was a semester grade book from Father Flanagan.
In this book Father Flanagan recorded his professors, classes and grades during the time he was in Austria for the seminary. The inside cover of the booklet holds a photograph of him and there he listed his birthplace as Roscommon, Ireland and his current home as Omaha, Nebraska.
"We had very little information on Father Flanagan from this time, we only had one paper from his studies. During World War II the majority of the archives from the University were lost," said Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs.
The booklet covers the years 1909 to 1912, which were the four years that Father Flanagan was overseas.
When this book was discovered by Walter's children they realized the historical value of it and graciously donated it to Boys Town.
Around 30 members of the Welch family gathered in the Father Flanagan House at the Village of Boys Town on December 1st to present their donation of the black suitcase full of books to President and Executive Director, Father Steven Boes.
"We see the work of Father Flanagan come to life every day at Boys Town, but receiving this information on his personal life is a great blessing to our organization," said Boes. "We are so grateful to the Welch family for their donation."
This material can now help to answer many questions about his studies and aid in his cause for canonization.
The book is currently being digitized and will be added to the Boys Town Historical Archives.
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