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In his second year at the monastery (when he was studying Greek, the Scriptures and Church Law), Mendel took the vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty, in accordance with the rule of Saint Augustine. The following year, he was able to extend his studies toward his own interests. As well as studying the Church’s teachings, Mendel went to courses in agriculture (apple and grape growing in particular) at the Philosophical Institute at Brno. Franz Diebl (1770– 1859), who gave the lectures, was interested in the improvement of plants by hybridization . In his fourth and final year of instruction, Mendel studied the practical aspects of being a priest, such as teaching the catechism and preaching. He also learned Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldaic (the languages of Arabia, ancient Syria, and ancient Babylon). He was now twenty-five years old. The following year, 1847, having been ordained a sub-deacon, Mendel was made parish priest of the collegiate church. But Mendel had problems as a parish priest. He was too sensitive, too nervous. He suffered at school and became ill. As parish priest he felt his parishoners’ pain keenly and found it unbearable to attend the dying. His problems were not made easier having to preach in Czech when his native language was German.


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