Letter to Agnes Barclay

From St. Laserian’s Rectory, Old Leighlin, Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow

Jan. 17, 1946

Dear Miss Barclay,

I was delighted to get your letter today; and so was Mrs. Fletcher. We are both very well, thank God; and so is our son Alan, and his 4 children. We hope that they will be coming home this year.

We are 60 miles south of Dublin; and Dublin is 200 miles south of Belfast.

I am delighted to hear that your mother is still alive. Please give her my love, and tell her that I often have thoughts of her since I saw her in her house long ago. I did not mention her when I wrote to you, as I did not think she would be alive. We might possibly be able to see her some time, now that the war is over.

I am glad to hear that you have got a legal divorce from McCann. It is wicked to tie a woman to a man who has treated his wife as he has treated you. I read in the paper of the divorce.

I thought that your two children were boys. I understand now that one was a girl. It would be worth your while to make inquiries into the claim of the young woman who thinks she is your daughter. I wrote to Rev. W. Corkey about you yesterday. He would advise you what to do. A clever detective would delight in finding out the truth. You can get the birth or baptism certificate of your daughter, and that of your supposed daughter, and compare the dates and names. The first thing the kidnappers would do would be to get the child baptized by a priest.

Did you keep the name and address of that woman? Don’t say anything about this matter until you hear from Rev. Corkey.

You have this consolation – that your case is known all over the world, and that it was the Pope’s decree, “Ne Temer,” which roused the Protestants all over the world to protect against it. Only a week ago I read a paper on the subject at a meeting of clergy in Kilkenny, who were very much interested in the subject. It would be wonderful if, after so many years, your child was restored to you again. When I hear from Rev. Corkey I shall write to you again. You are as real a martyr for truth and right as was St. Stephen; and God will reward you.

Make friends, as far as you can, with the woman who thinks you are her mother. She must have some reason for thinking so; and if you think she is honest and truthful, ask her reason for so thinking. Why should she think so, unless she had some reason for it. I am delighted to know that you feel now like a person freed from slavery. But remember this – that McCann was once very devoted to you, and that it was the Pope and the priests who turned him against you by their devilish decree and their wicked lies about your marriage.

So cheer up, my noble friend and martyr! You have already fought a good fight; and there may still be a greater one before you.

Your very sincere friend

Dudley Fletcher