|Two soldiers at a 50th Gettysburg reunion - Smithsonian|
|Fr. Joseph Jarboe, OP|
Fr. Constantine Louis Egan, OP had a more sustained involvement with the war; he was one of only two full-time chaplains in the Union Army, working with the Ninth Massachusetts Volunteers. He saw plenty of action, including the bloody Battle of the Wilderness where 150 men of his unit were killed or wounded in a ten-minute period. One can only imagine the spiritual service he was able to render to these men in their final moments. One of the soldiers reflected:
"Father Egan was a true priest and chaplain and a noble-hearted Christian gentleman, greatly beloved by all the regiment and highly respected throughout the Fifth Corps and the Army... wherever his priestly duties called him in the army, there he was to be found: in the camps, hospitals and on the battlefield... His presence and priestly service was, indeed, a blessing at times to the wounded, the dying and the distressed."
|Fr. Constantine Egan, OP|
"I alighted from my horse and went over to him to aid him spiritually if he wished, and if not, at least to render him all the temporal aid I could in consequence of his great suffering... Examining the wound, I found it was fatal, and from his agony and suffering I concluded that the poor fellow had not long to live; I told him so and entreated him now to fight the last battle for Heaven. I asked him if he had been baptized, he replied in the negative. I told him that baptism was necessary in order to go to heaven, and he seemed willing to be baptized after the instructions I gave him. Then, laying hold of a canteen of water, I baptized him 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.'"Fr. Egan had no concern for which temporal side the soldiers were on; he was worried about the eternal side they were choosing, even in the midst of battle. This impartiality and charity won him the highest commendation a chaplain can receive in his obituary:
"In the thickest of the raging battle, amid the hail of shot and shell and charge of horse and bayonet he was to be seen wherever there was a wounded or dying soldier. He never cared for himself. To him Blue and Gray were alike and to them alike did he administer the sacraments of God."St. Paul said in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." May God continue to call chaplains like Frs. Jarboe and Egan, who saw no distinction between Blue and Gray.
*Most of this material is found in Fr. John Vidmar's excellent history of the Province: Fr. Fenwick's "Little American Province"