ray.voith: My Mom had 4 brother that were dominican priests and 3
sisters that were dominican nuns - no objecttions when I wanted to
join MKL Also no objections when I wanted to leave - I know my Mom
agonized about whether she should be a nun, so she understood

rpmeadows2003: I forgot about that Ray.  My father was in the seminary
for 6 years and his best friend had been a Maryknoll priest.  My
grandmother said "if only she could live to receive communion from my
hand" (a tiny bit of guilt)

rpmeadows2003: My parents were not that wild about me going...but I
couldn't face getting a prom date.

ray.voith: I think my grandmother (who died before I was born was
obsessed with getting her kids into religious life

hankeo7: I asked my parents about going to a seminary HS but they
thought I was too young to make that kind of committment

mocalouro: My sister was a nun and my dad talked about his wanting to
be in the religious life.

ray.voith: Bob and I joined the Venard the same year (Junior) from
South Hills Catholic HS in Pgh - we met after we both joined - big
high school

rpmeadows2003: the vocational director from Cleveland came to see us
and brought us together.

rpmeadows2003: I remember when I got to the Venard, I was constipated
for 3 days.  That never happened to me before or really since

hankeo7: Sometimes our bodies have to send us messages

rpmeadows2003: I went to a workshop on trauma, entitled "Your body
keeps score".  It does.

ray.voith: At the Venard reunion Hank Cooney was still worried whether
he made the right decision about quiting - wasn' sure he wanted to
come to the reunion - he was very glad he did
ray.voith: When I was thinking about leaving GE - it was an agonizing
decision - I remember crying in the stairwell thinking of leaving, and
hoping noone would see me in that condotion.  we were always told we
were "cream of the crop" - maybe I wasn't worthy or selfish in
quiting.  I left at the end of the first semester of the Junior year
at GE. I had become a "Loner" at GE that year

mocalouro: Yes, agonizing fits the bill.  What was being a loner like
for you?

ray.voith: Having a hard time going to the rec room and fitting in
with conversations

mocalouro: Loneliness was big for me.

ray.voith: Mo - that's surprising to me since you always seemed (and
seem) so outgoing with others

ray.voith: I also had a hard time adjusting to the much larger class
at GE versus Venard.  - I didn't always mix well

hankeo7: Ray you always seemed to have your act together

ray.voith: It was an act

mocalouro: I don't know Ray......I do know I felt smaller, less
comfortable at GE

ray.voith: I never felt that way at Venard - probably because of
smaller classes

mocalouro: the Venard was special that way. It was very small.

ray.voith: we are all lonely to some degree - but in a deeper sense,
all the same - hard to see that when young

rpmeadows2003: We had about 110 new guys that started at GE

rpmeadows2003: I think we were all scared.  I was and missed my
family, altho could hardly feel that.

hankeo7: When I was a Freshman at GE I didn't know anyone.  But
discovered quickly that there were about 20 guys that had gone to
school together

hankeo7: They seemed to have friends, know things and were insiders

mocalouro: Ray, I have heard that reaction from others........yet
inside there was discomfort, one way to say that was loneliness.

ray.voith: I think at GE, maybe with good reason, new students may
have felt that we acted "uppity" about having been at the Venard,
although I don't think I ever felt I was any better than the new guys

ray.voith: Hank - do you mean they went to school with you?  I wasn't
aware of that group - who were they?

(I asked this naive question, not making the connection to us
Venarders.  I guess I didn't think of us Venarders as insiders or

mocalouro: Hank are you talking about Venard guys?

hankeo7: The group was the folks from the Venard and to a lesser
extent Mt View and Chesterfield

hankeo7: It seemed to me that they had a head start but I didn't feel
as though they were lording it over us new guys.

ray.voith: I do think that the seminary warning about "particular
friendships" caused us Venard guys to drift apart somewhat

mocalouro: That friendship thing was a pain in the ass

rpmeadows2003: I agree with you Ray.  It added fear of doing something

mocalouro: Ray, you feel that the Venard guys were cautious because of
the friendship rule.?

ray.voith: Yes - I think so - plus in reality it is not a good idea
for such a group to just stick together and not branch out.

ray.voith: Just was difficult for me

mocalouro: Left after GE

rpmeadows2003: I was sad when you guys left.

rpmeadows2003: Who were you close to in Sr. year, Hank?

hankeo7: Closest to Lynch and Bill Murphy and you Bob

rpmeadows2003: I say Lynch at Cape May one year.  He was sculpturing
(marble statues)

hankeo7: Jerry was a very good artist and had a reputation. but
unfortunately died a few years ago

rpmeadows2003: I'm sorry to hear that.  He was the first person I saw
cry when leaving Hingham.  I was very touched by that.

ray.voith: I heard that Hingham was especially difficult for many

mocalouro: Intense times

ray.voith: Did any of you make it past novitiate?

hankeo7: Left Hingham in November

rpmeadows2003: I left on the Immaculate Conception feastday in
December from Hingham

hankeo7: Just two weeks later!

rpmeadows2003: what was Hingham like for you Hank?

hankeo7: Everything happened so fast

hankeo7: Spent so much time alone in my room just thinking

mocalouro: Lots of quiet time at Hingham?

rpmeadows2003: I felt I was a quitter and only really seriously
thought of leaving in the last month in Maryknoll.  Altho a priest at
Hingham thought I would be a good used car salesman.

hankeo7: I didn't have any close friends at GE until senior year then
got closer to a few guys

hankeo7: I felt like I was drifting

hankeo7: Guys were leaving.  Couldn't get over the feeling that I
wouldn't be happy in the celibate life

mocalouro: Celibacy and loneliness were tough for me.

hankeo7: When I went to talk about my feelings, I was out the door

mocalouro: Hank, can you tell us more about feelings and out the door?

rpmeadows2003: It was the atmosphere.  Men are socialized to be afraid
of too much closeness, to be tough, not feel plus Irish Catholic
puritanism.  We were idealistic, mostly kind in some ways, but womenly
affection wasn't present or talking about feelings.

rpmeadows2003: Vulnerability or crying or sharing feelings like today
wasn't encouraged.  The priests didn't know how to do it.

rpmeadows2003: I wanted to experience life and told myself that I
could try it for two years and then perhaps come back

mocalouro: Hank, please explain that about talking feelings

ray.voith: I heard one priest was especially annoying with the
students at Hingham

hankeo7: Jacobs told me that he had prepared a list of reasons why he
wanted to leave Hingham before he went to see Cronin but Cronin didn't
want to hear them just made the arrangements for Bill to leave the
next day.

rpmeadows2003: Fr. McCormick was especially tough and I don't think
kind.  I had a big argument with him one time.

maybe the priests felt stuck and were jealous of people leaving

mocalouro: Bob what was the argument about?

hankeo7: Bob do you remember a big debate among the students at
Hingham on whether we should "have to " go to mass every day?

rpmeadows2003: I had worked in the South on civil rights that summer
before with Neary and Casey.  It looked like to me that poeple were
struggling and some looked sad.  McCormick said that Blacks had rhythm
in their bones and other stereotypes.  I said that I didn't see
that. I t went on for quite a while

rpmeadows2003: Hank, I first brought up that question to the student
council.  I didn't want to be forced to go to Mass.  It dropped
however and then I think Pete Loan or someone brought it back up.  We
argued a whole night about it, then voted.  It was tied, then Frank
Breen broke the tie saying not to bring it up to McCormick.  (maybe
comparing ceremony (Mass, etc) vs action in community - which is more

hankeo7: I started to feel that I couldn't be happy as a priest and
that life as a husband and father was what I really yearned for

rpmeadows2003: I think I numbed myself to what I was feeling.
Fr. Kennedy was a big help to me.

mocalouro: Same here, Bob.

ray.voith: Unfortunately I never got to know Fr Kennedy well or Fr D'Arcy.

rpmeadows2003: Kennedy was the best teacher I had at GE and influenced
the profession I do today

ray.voith: So - one thing is clear today that was not so clear back
then - we all had similar problems

ray.voith: Having said all these things, going to seminary was a major
formative thing in my life - away from home, seeing a bigger world
(even though in some ways sheltered)

mocalouro: Same here, Ray, bigtime.

hankeo7: Definitely, I think there were values established that have
lasted my entire life