Tim O’Halloran’s Choice; or From Killarney to New York
This book, written by M.F. Cusack, pseudonym of Sr. M.F. Clare, focuses on issues of religious conversion from a Catholic perspective in a time of continued emigration to America, when issues of religion, and conversion in particular, remained a central focus. The Preface explains the book was written in response to an ‘urgent request of an American publisher’ in which the ‘great need of Tales which should have a Catholic tone’ (ix) was underlined. The remainder of the Preface is a treatise against a ‘revived’ ‘Souperism’ in Ireland. The book links the opposing conversion stories of two young people: Thade O’Halloran in Kilkenny, who has been saved from conversion to Protestantism following the death of his father Tim O’Halloran, and Rosalie Maxwell in New York, whose mother was Protestant, but who has been brought up as Catholic by her Irish nurse. The book invests huge worth into the figure of both children, but particularly the male Irish child Thade, who through various trials is kept within the fold of Catholicism. In Part II, the story of Rosalie and her Irish nurse Kathleen is introduced, and this story is henceforth interwoven with Thade’s successful progression through childhood. In a time of trial, Thade takes refuge in a church, and finds a wallet full of money. After briefly considering keeping the money in order to emigrate to America, he looks at a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary and has a change of heart (225). The money is revealed as belonging to a rich American tourist – Mr Maxwell, Rosalie’s father – who brings Thade to America as his own son. The story ends with a chapter ‘Ten Years Later’, where Rosalie is getting ready to move to Ireland to marry Thade, and Kathleen the Irish nurse maid, has become a nun. Kathleen’s decision to join this religious order is depicted as the ultimate sacrifice and penance for her country: ‘Perhaps the severest part of her self-imposed penance had been to renounce all hope of seeing motherland again. If the desire to do so still remained, it only remained as a new source of penance, sacrifice, and love’ (251-2).
M.F. Cusack (pseudonym of Sister M .F. Clare)
Place of Publication:
London, Dublin, Melbourne, New York, Paris
Burns and Co. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son. Australia: G. Robertson, Melbourne. New York: J. A. Magee. Paris: Fotheringham.
Date of Publication:
xlviii, -262, 29,  p. ; 15.9 cm.
Copy Specific Notes:
Ms name: Master Thomas Doherty. Ms note: 3 Ebenezer Terrace […illegible] Dublin
Religion, Ireland, Travel, Emigration, America, Religious Conversion, Protestantism, Catholicism, Orphan, Nun, Adult-Child Relationships
Pollard Collection - TCD