Choose the article you wish to read:
The following articles are taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956 edition,
lent to us by Eugene MacBride
A Memorable Occasion
By Michael Goodstadt (Form V1)
Taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956
EVEN in Africa there are few African
bishops. Thus when an African bishop visits the Priory we feel fully justified
in beating the drums and calling it a memorable occasion.
On October 3rd, the Feast of St Theresa, Patroness of the Missions, we were delighted to have with us Bishop Rugambwa. His stay was brief and although he did not address us publicly we were deeply conscious that in our midst was an outstanding personality.
(Source: Fr Pat Fitzgerald)
Perhaps the most striking characteristic of this tall regal African Prelate is his gentleness, the gentleness of a powerful yet humble man.
Laurean Rugambwa was ordained priest in 1943 at the age of thirty-one. The first five years of his priestly life were spent among his own people in Tanganyika Territory. In 1948 Father Rugambwa went to Rome where, after three years study, he received a doctorate in Canon Law. One year later he was consecrated bishop, the first African in Tanganyika to be raised to the episcopal dignity. Rutabo, his diocese, is one of the few dioceses in Africa which is staffed entirely by African priests, brothers and sisters.
From time to time during our years of training we get glimpses of the missions which encourage us more than any number of words; surely this occasion was one of them.
Return to top
Brother to All
By Pat Shanahan (Form IV)
Taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956
morning, boy," he said cheerfully as he strode past me carrying in each
hand a large bucket of steaming hot water. I replied to his greeting.
As he disappeared in the direction of the farm calling what sounded like some magical incantation -I understood later that this was to remind the cows that milking time had arrived - I asked one of the seniors who was this powerfully built Irishman with a shock of dark hair. It was impossible to mistake his place of origin although another thing I was to find out later was his versatility at accents: with Hampshire farmers he spoke "proper 'ampshire" and when discussing foreign policy or the latest atomic developments with retired army gentlemen he would use a polished southern accent, known, I believe, as Received English.
"Oh, that's Brother Patrick,"
was the other boy's rejoinder to my question. "He runs the farm almost
single-handed; a glutton for work - and don't you know it when you've been working
with him. Been here for ages: pillar of the place: fall to bits without him."
Little did I realise then how much I would come to know and admire the sterling qualities of Brother Paddy. Little did I realise then how much I would enjoy those days out on the downs with him; haymaking or potato planting, felling trees or fencing the pasture. None of these were easy jobs but Brother Paddy was there and that made all the difference.
I'm sure that many Priorians will remember him as many of them saw him during their last week as Junior Seminarians.
After the G.C.E. those going to Philosophy spend a week camping at Galley Down. Each evening Brother Paddy would be in the group round the camp-fire taking his beans on toast from a battered enamel plate and sipping black camp tea from an equally unhygienic mug; then would come one of his stories or an Irish tune squeezed - rather painfully-from an old accordion.
As darkness wore on and the stars began to twinkle in the purple heavens Brother would rise with a "Good-night, God bless you, boys," and roar into the night on the Ferguson.
Brother Pat is with us no more; he is in his native land; but his memory remains and will, I feel sure, for many generations to come.
Return to top
By Gordon Rutledge (Form IV)
Taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956
MANY of the boys who have left the
Priory within the last couple of years will well remember the hours of toil
spent in preparing the foundations of the tennis court. Toiling in inches of
mud the workers were not helped by the water flowing down the slope, from the
lawns nearer the house. Drains had to be dug and filled with broken bricks and
rubble. After this had been done, loads of brick dust had to be transported
from the brick yards at Eastleigh and spread on the surface of the court. Many
loads had been collected before the summer holidays of 1955.
When we arrived in September, the court looked like a patch of red sand but most of the hard work had already been done. Three or four more loads of dust had to be collected and then the metal poles for the chain-link fence were put in place. It took a few weeks to erect the actual fencing. At last the dream was almost realised!
All through the, winter the dust was allowed to settle. Then during Faster week the white plastic tape was tacked on to the surface and Father Thompson and Father Fitzgerald played the first game of tennis. There was some trouble with the net posts and they had to be re-cemented. Now all is completed and tennis has become one of the favourite free time occupations.
Full credit must go to Father Thompson who spent a great deal of his time on the construction of the court; also a word must be said for the boys of the Priory who spent so many hours of their recreation supplying the labour which was so vital if Operation Tennis Court were to be a success.
Return to top
St Andrew's Day
By Andrew Cowe (St Columba's)
Taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956
BESIDES being a holiday, St Andrew's
Day this year was something special - it was the first time that the whole community
of Monteviot invaded St Columba's. After High Mass they arrived in a special
coach --scholastics, novices, postulants, old Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The
Fathers of the staff, too, were there, all except the Superior, Father Moorman;
after all, I suppose somebody has to stay and look after the house. After a
few moments of what the army would call fraternising, we all moved towards the
yard. First there came the Monteviot team in red, then the St Columba's team
in their blue and gold singlets and shorts. Was it big-event nerves, or shyness,
or what? Whatever the reason, St Columba's at first could not hold the international
Monteviot attack, who quickly chalked up a dozen points without reply. However,
a goal by Shevlin seemed to liven things up again, and after that it was really
a game. St Columba's had more than their share of skill and speed; but in a
game like basketball height is an important factor; and the scholastics towered
over us. The game ended in victory for Monteviot 32-18.
At lunch, both communities were mixed. With 35 extra students and six extra Fathers, one would have expected the noise in the refectory to be worse than usual, if that were possible. Instead, it was possible to hear what was being said at one's own table - an unusual state of affairs. Perhaps it was that the younger students were overawed by the presence of the scholastics; or that they liked to listen to their elders; whatever it was, it was a most pleasant meal together.
After a decent interval, battle was rejoined, this time on the football field. A cold wind was blowing down the Eildons, so that all but a band of diehard spectators viewed the contest from the dormitory and study-hall windows. Once again height and weight told, and Monteviot were the victors by 4-2.
When the players had washed and changed, everyone went to the 1st Form classroom, where the desks had been placed round the walls, to form a miniature ballroom. There, by the special request of the scholastics, a team of students gave an exhibition of Scottish country dances, after Father Superior had given a brief explanation of their meaning. The music, the kilts, and the speed and intricacy of the movements thrilled the scholastics, many of whom, being French, Dutch and German, had never seen these dances before. They sat. or stood round in admiration as the different dances succeeded each other without interruption - the Duke of Atholl's Reel, the Eightsome Reel, Roxburgh Castle, Petronella, Scottish Reform, The Eight Men of Moidart, and Come Ashore, Jolly Tar.
Benediction, with the chapel full, and everyone singing, was an inspiring service; and I am sure St Andrew held his head a little higher in heaven. Then followed high tea, and we all proceeded to the study hall for a film show. All too soon the long day came to an end, and we were all assembled on the steps to bid our guests goodbye; and we fervently echo the sentiment expressed by one of the scholastics: "Let us hope that this is the start of a nice tradition."
Return to top
Taken from The Pelican, Christmas 1956
THIS issue of the Pelican marks
a further transition in the development of the Old Boys' Corner. We are not
devoting a special section to the students who go on to study at St Augustine's
College as they too from our point of view are all Old Boys and will be welcome
to contribute their section as they wish to the Corner which will now come as
a whole frae a' the airts. That too will allow us to spread our net further
afield and include departed friends in the Noviciate, in the Scholasticate,
and even, we hope, in the mission field. To one and all we extend a cordial
invitation to swell our pages and give us their news.
We would particularly welcome this time any suggestions that may be forthcoming about the possibility of a re-union once a year, perhaps at St Columba's for the Northerners and at The Priory for the Southerners. The first meeting could well be a merely convivial affair with the usual Spartan accommodation available for those who would wish to stay overnight. And ideas might be aired about the agenda of the next re-union. For 1957 we suggest as a possible date the Sunday before August Bank Holiday the day when most of us have little to do which would be the 4th of August.
There is in the country an Association for Old Boys by which the old boys of most Catholic Colleges are united and exchange ideas. It might not be beyond the bounds of possibility that we should affiliate with it.
This year The Priory saw ten boys leave for Blacklion of whom nine are still there. Four boys returned to secular life. Brian Foley is now working with the Civil Service; Peter Machin is with the Air Force. Of Donald Johnstone and Patrick MacDonald we have no news; we suspect that they will have gone underground with the Scottish Army of Liberation.
The letter which gave the greatest fillip to the morale of the Corner came from Peter Finn, now soldiering in Germany, whose address is given below.
"Dear EditorThe last place I ever expected to come across news of the Priory and of the . . . Friends (modesty forbids us to print the omitted words.-Ed.) I made there while a student, was here in a garrison town in Germany.
"I have just finished reading a copy of your magazine, The Pelican, which I must say I have found most inspiring and a noble successor to the Priorian, including as it does news of all the houses of study and in particular of some of the old boys, which I and, I am sure, many other ex-White Father students, found to be the most interesting part.
"In one paragraph of the Corner you exhort us to 'avail ourselves of your columns,' but although many of the old boys are longing to make contact with the Priory and with each other again, they do not know that such a colurnn exists. Possibly you could advertise the fact in the White Fathers Magazine which most of us receive. I already know the addresses of some of them; perhaps you would like me to write and ask them to contribute to the Pelican. (Good man!-Ed.)..."
In a later letter Lieut. Finn describes some of his more interesting experiences:
"I have, in fact, just returned from Berlin, having taken a British army freight train up there and back again. Being in command of the trains and of the guards on them I had several dealings with the Russians their soldiers and their red tape. Every Soviet office I entered was just as I expected it to be: dimly lit and the only attempt at decoration being a snap on one wall and a huge portrait of Lenin on another behind the Commandant's desk. On the other hand the Russian soldiers were quite different to what I imagined. They were, of course, dressed in their fur hats and anklelength overcoats, and carried powerful-looking automatic rifles, but their talk betrayed their ferocious appearance. I several times spoke with their guards beside the dark, wet railway track, and found them to be quite friendly. We exchanged grouses in garbled German, and I found to my surprise that they were tired of army life, wanted to return home, preferred English cigarettes, and thought that British guns were no good.
"Besides being in Berlin and the Soviet zone, I have also been away with my company in a place called Sennelager to do some training. It was there that Rommel trained his famous Afrika Korps. While there I mixed with the biggest crowd of brass hats I am ever likely to see. They were all United Nations observers, none of them below the rank of Colonel, who were there to watch demonstrations in atomic warfare being given by the British army.
After being approached on the subject by a Lieutenant-General and a Coldstream Guards Colonel, I faded way for a time.
"After that I took the anti-tank platoon up to the Baltic coast for more training. On my return I found myself faced with having to write a military paper on guerilla warfare 'quoting from my own experience and knowledge.' Having absolutely no experience and just about an equal amount of knowledge on the subject I was at first pretty well overwhelmed, But once I got down to it and looked up a few things I became very interested. I haven't heard anything since handing it in, but no doubt something will be thrown back at me before it reaches the Brigadier.
"I have been pretty busy in the sporting sphere as well. Believe it or not, I now even play rugby and hockey for the Regiment and hope to be in the boxing team for the next round of the B.A.O.R. championships. As regards soccer I haven't yet got beyond company level. The regiment has a first class soccer team, which won the cup last year. Four of the team are professionals. By the way, as at the Priory I still do a weekly cross-country run. Everybody here, officers and men, under the age of thirty-five have to go on the cross-country every Monday afternoon.
"To get away from myself for a while and turn to better things. As you asked me in your letter I have tried to contact some Old Priorians. I have written to Paul Farrell in Japan and also to Leo Smith, but I have had no reply from either of them. Perhaps they have written directly to you. The only ex-Priorian whose existence I am at all sure of is Willie Tonner, who is still here in Osnabruck . . ."
Michael Ryan, who has been accepted by the Institute of Quantity Surveyors and is studying one day a week at the Liverpool College of Building, writes:
"The course seems fairly difficult but I hope with the grace of God and hard work to get through. I will send on my subscription for the Pelican as soon as possible, that is when I have paid my fees and bought the necessary books and instruments. (Stout fellow!-Ed.)
"I keep in touch with some of the boys. Walter Perry and Robert Cowell are both in Cyprus. Walter is in the Intelligence Corps and is now a lance-corporal. Bobby is in the Royal Signals. Both have signed on for three years. John Hodson is now in a brass foundry; he failed his medical and will not have to go into the army. John Phillips is in the Liverpool Police Cadets. He seems to like it."
Gunner Hennessy, who when he wrote was still in Bulford Camp and is now very probably in the Middle East, told us among other things that James Johnstone was working in a mental home . . . no address given.
Perhaps one of the most interesting letters came from Father Joseph Stoker, now in St Charles, Attercliffe, Sheffield.
He writes: "In those distant but happiest days of my life a very unique book was being read in the refectory. It made a lasting impression on my mind and I have tried without success to get it, If still in your library would you be gracious
enough to loan it to me... Some Secrets of Success and Power or Masters of the Situation by someone of the name of Tilley . . .
We could not find the book but perhaps it was lost in the reorganisation of the bookshelves after the central heating was installed after the war. Father Stoker seems to be still filled with the Priory spirit anyway!
At the last moment before the Comer was sent to the printer we received a very welcome letter from Anthony Innocent, now serving in Germany. He wrote: "I am sorry that this letter has been delayed several times. In fact it got half written once and then abandoned. First let me thank you for sending me the two copies of the Pelican. I meant to write as soon as I received the first copy but never did. The second pricked me into the unfinished attempt. Let us hope I do not leave this unfinished to-night.
"First let me say that BAOR 23 stands for Cellea pleasant old town north of Hanover just below Luneburg Heath. I am as I expect you know, an army instructor attached at the moment to Devon Regiment, though in the New Year I expect to go to Aden.
"I have now been in the Army for eight years during which I have acquired a wife and four children, Dominic, Elizabeth, Josephine and Frances. My stay in Germany has included two years in Mindena bourgeois town of Seven Years War fameand this year I have spent in this delightful market town where many of the houses reach back six hundred years and are still lived in and look sound enough.
"Perhaps you are more interested in my stay in West Africa . . . of course I saw it through very different eyes than Fr. McNulty whom I met out there when I was on a tour in Tamale. I enjoyed it up there despite the lack of waternot so difficult to overcome in a Sgts.' Mess. I had breakfast at the mission on Sunday morningmammies and maple syrup. The mammies were pancakes made from Guinea cornno cannibalism! I also met there the only black priest I saw out there. Particularly surprising was the fact that he was, a Dagarti, a Northern Tribesman.
"In the army we saw rather the variety of the races that the British Colonial policy has lumped together under the name of the Gold Coast. The bulk and back-bone of the Army out there is formed of the Northern Tribesman. We all liked them and they liked the Army; to say they are like children is one of the half-truths that emphasised only their irresponsibility. Many of them are Moslems and all feel the influence of Islam.
"Of the real Ashanti we saw less although the recruiting centre was at their capital-Kumasi. They are the most interesting and I had some opportunity of hearing about them from themselves. One of my duties was to test the Africans in their command of English, and they were only too willing to talk about their history and their customs. The professors of Achimota College maintained that they left Egypt before the com,ing of the Shepherd Kings; anyway they are all that it left of the once mighty Empire of Guana.
I heard many times the story of the Golden Stool and the sword of Osetutu, but the most astounding thing of the lot was their system of heredity whereby property goes to the son of a man's sisters and not to his own sons. It causes some complications, especially where a woman who is of Ashanti family marries into another nation who follow normal laws of inheritance.
The reason for this custom is that (as I was told by many Africans) that while a man can never be certain that his sons are his flesh he is certain that his nephews are his blood relationsmaternity being more certain than paternity. (They tell the tale of a king whose wife's adulterous child succeeded him to the detriment of the state).
The economists say that the reason is an economic onethey always do. Nevertheless polygamy is so fundamental a part of their life because it is so difficult to farm five scattered pocket-handkerchief farms without five wives. Many of the Protestant churches have given up the unequal struggle to eradicate polygamy, merely discourage it, and inevitably some of the best Catholics lapse into it.
I am not sure that all the wives object to sharing a husband. I think some of the older ones welcome a young girl to do some of the hard work; but when my boy told his wife that he was about to purchase another, she packed her bags and went home to her motherfour hundred miles awaytaking one child and leaving the other. One hulking African received a black eye from his very diminutive wife for smiling at another girl . . . but I suppose that is to be expected.
"This letter seems to be running away with me. Sorry! " (We are very glad.-Ed.)
It will be nice for most of our Old Boys to know that Father Monaghan, who among the Fathers at The Priory now knows most of them, will be delighted to have letters from them . . . and assures them of a reply. He will also as far as that is possible keep them in touch with one another. We might well dub him O.B.C.the Old Boys' Chaplain.
Finally we would just ask all old students to remember that if they are ever in the locality they will be most welcome, and that if we can be of help to them at any time they have only to tell us what we might do . . . apart from our essential business here, we do devote our surplus energy to lending a hand elsewhere.
So write your news for us and for each other. Give us your addresses and if you want to receive The Pelican regularly send your contribution at Christmas and at Midsummer1/6d, which includes postage.
Peter Barry, 174 Ballards Lane, Finchley, N.3.
Edward Creaney, 48 Derwent Drive, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.
Lieut. Peter Finn, Officers' Mess, TheKing's Regiment, Belfast Bks., Osnabruck, B.A.O.R. 10.
Michael Ryan, 8 Swiss Road, Elm Park, Fairfield, Liverpool 6.
Brian Foley, 62 Mount Pleasant, Armadale, West Lothian.
23177682 Gnr. Hennessy T., A Troop, 82 Loc. Bty., R.A., Wing Bks., Bulford, Wilts.
23320959 Rec. Kavanagh, Graham Squad, D/Cameronians (S.R.) Winston Bks., Lanark.
4188415 Peter A. Machin, Hut 28, Flight 19, D Sq., R.A.F., Padgate, Warrington.
22264750 S/Sgt. A. T. Innocent, R.A.E.C., L. Devons Regt., B.A.O.R. 23.