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      1. News In Brief
      2. Servus Servorum Dei
      3. On The Air
      4. Old Boys' Corner



On September 7th seventy-five boys arrived at The Priory to begin a new school year. Of the twenty-nine new boys all but one were destined for the Third Form.

Welcome to them all:
A. Harrison, J. Allan, K Bagshaw, C. Benton, W. Baker, J. Bingham, C. Burleigh
J. Carolan, B. Carvill, E. Cherrey, A. Cowe, M. Donovan, S. Duggan, W. Hart
L. McCanna, J. McDonald, R McKenna, A. McLeod, A. Mooney, M. Nolan
M. Nertney, D. O'Rourke, D. Pendlebury, T. Power, J. Robertson, P. Russell
G. Sexton, S. Shevlin, B. Stokes.

H. McDevitt arrived some weeks after the beginning of term having spent some time in hospital with a broken skull.


Every school year begins with a three-day retreat. This year the preacher was Father Marchant, an experienced missionary, and the Superior of our home at Dorking. We are most grateful to him for setting so clearly before us the ideal at which we are expected to aim.

(Photo: Fr Leonard Marchant)


Soon after his arrival back at school, Peter McMurray was one morning wandering along the middle of a local highway meditating upon the beauties of the countryside, when his reverie was rudely and brutally interrupted by the sudden appearance of a fast saloon car. Being a polite young gentleman Peter stepped to the side to make way for the new arrival but either he had not judged its speed or its temper for it gave him a smart blow on the back of the neck and Peter had to spend a few days in Winchester HospitaL He is now very much alive and has completely recovered. (Photo: Peter McMurray)

Asian 'flu reached the Priory long before the epidemic had made itself generally felt in the South but the attack was slight and of short duration. In spite of all the boys' prayers, the Fathers did not succumb and classes were carried on as usual.

At long last the entire exterior woodwork of the Priory has received a well needed coat of paint. Although the colour scheme has not been chang edged—brown and white-the appearance of the school has been immensely improved. The study hall has also been painted but here the colour scheme has changed to cream and eau de nil-which makes the place quite gay in spite of the fact that studies still have to be done there. The change has been generally approved although some of the more conservative pupils have been heard to pass such comments as 'Bathroom' and 'Express Bar.'

The visit of the American fleet to Southampton after the NATO exercises was an event which could not be ignored. About half the school spent a Wednesday afternoon aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Forrestal. All were duly impressed by the immensity of the ship but thought it a pity that so much energy had been used to construct this engine of war. We were interested to learn that a third of the crew of three thousand was Catholic. The chaplain said that there were sometimes as many as six hundred men at Mass on a week-day! A note of incongruity was struck by the sight of one of the crew placidly fishing, his line through one of the anchor hoists.

The army received due attention when the Fourth Form went to the Open Day at the Royal Engineers depot at Longmoor near Petersfield All found the visit most interesting and all but one found it enjoyable: the 'one' tried to ram a concrete pillar with his head.

A very welcome newcomer to the Priory is a real organ for the chapel, more is said about this on another page.

Father Thompson is once again hard at work preparing for thc Christmas pan to. This year's choice is Jack and the Bean Stalk. Judging by all the hard work that is going into the rehearsals and into preparing the stage, costumes and scenery, we can look forward to the usual 'successful and spirited' performances on December 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st.

No uncertain alarm has been caused among cabbage lovers and haters by the enormous numbers of cabbage flourishing in the kitchen garden. An astute mathematician has calculated that if half of them develop into self-respecting cabbage there will be enough of the vegetable to supply the community with a liberal helping everyday for about three years. For this 'all time record' we give all credit to Fr Fitzgerald. Having gained considerable driving experience on an N.S.U. he decided he could handle a rotivator to advantage. This implement has proved its worth and now the problem is to keep the balance between production and demand. One suggestion was to hold a slug rally in the garden!


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Taken from The Pelican - Christmas 1957, lent by Anthony McCaffrey and Eric Creaney


Anyone standing by the road from Rome to Castelgandolfo on that hot Wednesday afternoon in August would have noticed an unusual amount of traffic. And why not, for the Holy Father was holding an audience at his summer residence. After a hair-raising ride in a car driven by a voluble Italian with no road sense, we three Ghoan priests and myself arrived in the little town of Castelgandolfo with only twenty minutes to spare before the beginning of the audience.

We jostled with countless people all trying to get into the courtyard below the window where the Holy Father was to appear. Getting through the narrow gate-way and passing the tall Swiss Guard, we made our way to the roof where we managed to secure a view of the window.

Suddenly the air was filled with cheers and cries of "Viva Il Papa" for a tall figure clad in white had appeared at the window. As the cheers died away His Holiness began to speak in his native tongue. After that he addressed the people in French, German, Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese.

When he had acknowledged the greetings of the English speaking part of the audience, he spoke telling us that in the world in which we lived, although it was a harsh one, it was the duty of the Christian to let his virtues, especially charity, be an example to all men. He concluded with a special word for the members of the British and American armed forces present. The audience closed and the Pope withdrew but everyone knew that the more they cheered the more he reappeared and so the cries of "Long live the Pope" and "Viva il Papa" mingled with the other cheers. The Holy Father appeared three more times and each time everyone experienced the same feeling of holiness and serenity that had pervaded the actual audience.

As we sat in the car on the homeward journey nobody spoke for, I imagine, all were lost in the wonder of the experience of having been in the presence of His Holiness Pope Pius XII, the Servant of the Servants of God.

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Taken from The Pelican - Christmas 1957, lent by Anthony McCaffrey & Eric Creaney

Each Sunday evening the B.B.C. broadcast a religious service on their overseas transmission and we felt very honoured when we were asked to supply one of these half-hour services for the end of July.

Of course there could be no direct transmission as school was to break up two weeks before the actual date of the broadcast, so a recording was made on July 11th.

Father Burridge, our Parish Priest, was responsible for directing preparations in the initial stages as he himself was to conduct the service. Having no proper organ it was imperative that one should be hired and for a few weeks we did have a real organ in the chapel, small but sufficient.

The choir spent many hours practising the hymns and it is certainly to the credit of both Father Monaghan, our master of music, and Mr Heath, organist and choir master, that the singing was so pleasantly successful. One of the main problems to be overcome in connection with the singing was the diversity of pronunciation among the boys, for Priorians come from every quarter of the British Isles, so speech training and singing were combined-to the benefit of both!

At last July 11th arrived. Technicians had installed mysterious apparatus in the study hall and planted microphones at various places in the chapel. Late in the afternoon Father Agnelus Andrews arrived to supervise the recording. He first of all pointed out to us the importance of what we were going to do-real missionary work, carrying Christ's message into the homes-and hearts-of many thousands who might otherwise never bother about Him. We then went through the whole service-the motet and three hymns, the scripture reading, the sermon and the prayers and finally the blessing. Father Andrews was satisfied with what he heard and after making sure that We knew exactly what to do, the microphones received final adjustments and we waited in breathless silence. Suddenly the red light flickered a few times and then remained glowing brightly. The conductor's hand came down and the choir broke into the rich flowing melody of the "0 Quam Glorifica"--the Priory was "on the air."

The Priory now has a real organ, with blower and swell and pedals. For the broadcast, short as it was, we had to hire, at considerable cost, an old pipe-organ without box, with pedals too diminutive to use, and with a blower that had been a ventilator motor in a ship, and made a noise like the arrival of a flying saucer.

The Priory has still not found all the money to pay for its new organ, which was bought on an interest-free loan from a good friend. The bulk of the cost, however, will be covered by the sale of the old harmonium and especially by the proceeds of the Saint Cecilia (Musical) Draw. If you did not have tickets for this, you missed something. Time was short. Our promoters had to look sharp and not let the thing go flat. No one quavered; no one was crotchety; and we raised more than a minimum.

The winners in the Draw, in case any of our readers still have not heard, were:
1. "Harmony" Tea Service: Miss Frances Davie, Dennistoun, Glasgow.
2. Scale of Heinz Varieties: Mrs J. Crawford, Wilkie's Lane, Dundee.
3. Horn of Plenty (3 botts.): W. J. Clark, 1 Crescent Wood, London, S.E.26.
4. Drum of Apples: Mrs Paice, Michel Restaurant, Southampton.
5. A bass Fiddle: Mrs Clancy, 142 Percy Road, London. W.12.
6. Per-Cushion Cover: Rev. Father Grady, Bromley, Kent

For all the good work and the generosity that contributed to the success of the Draw, and for the blessing of a reliable instrument in the chapel, we are very grateful.

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Author Unknown
Taken from The Pelican - Christmas 1957, lent by Anthony McCaffre
and Eric Creaney

It is nice to think that our news of and for Old Boys is still very much appreciated.

Since our last issue one of our oldest Old Boys has made a suggestion that the former students—whether of The Priory or other colleges of the Society—should band themselves into a group associated with the Missions. We are sure that many of you would like the idea, quite apart from its meritorious aspect. We like to think that many of you have carried into your present occupations something of the ideal of service to the Church's work that we try to give you here.

This sort of thing would be best arranged among yourselves. Should you wish to take part in it, would you write soon please to Mr Bill Unsworth, "Carmel," Astley, Manchester who will keep in touch with us over possibilities and developments.

We are still not in touch with all Old Boys by any means. If you know of any who would like to receive The Pelican would you ask them to write, giving their address and some details of their present life. One former Priorian remarked on hearing of the project that he did not see how it would serve any useful purpose and did not believe in living on the past.

One of the interesting items of news this Autumn came to us of the progress of John Bosco Lilley who is now working with the Ford Motor Company of Canada and is being sent for advanced studies at the university of Detroit.

Tommy Hennessy has now finished his Army Service and is training for teaching in Manchester. He writes: "Believe me I didn't realise how complicated teaching can be. I am taking English Literature and Mathematics at Higher Level. . . . Our English lecturer is absolutely fanatic over Chaucer. Personally I find him rather heavy reading (Ed. Come, come.); but with a little application and God's help I may get to like him. The amazing thing about Manchester is the weather, it is so constant. We have had rain without fail for sixteen days. But apart from the fact that I am getting webbed feet and growing fins, I don't mind it too much as it gives me a chance to stay indoors and catch up on my long-neglected correspondence. (Ed. Try Chaucer's 'Aprille with his shoures soote for a change.) . . . I shall always cherish the happy days I spent at the Priory."

Michael Ryan who is still working in a Quantity Surveyor's office tells us, "I get one day per week at school, so I only have to go to work four days a week (Ed. The subtlety of that is not lost on us') work is not too bad. I have just taken up Rugby League. I am playing for Liverpool Hornets, the only open-age amateur league team in LiverpooL Up to now we have won one out of six games. but I enjoy it, and it is a pleasant surprise to win. John Phillips is staying here now. He is a policeman and is on the Scotland Road area."

Joe McCall who is teaching in Hertfordshire and has been to see Peter McNamara in Hitchin says "I took a group of boys to Paris for six days holiday (Ed. Holiday for the boys presumably). Everything worked out fine regarding the group. But one of the teachers who came with me was attacked by Arabs in the street because of some help he gave the French Forces in Tangiers about two and a half years ago. He was then a free-lance journalist. . . We all arrived back in England safely. I am now enjoying my holiday in Dublin where I have met Father Keane. He is going into the Mater Hospital . . . I have been to BIacklion."

John Durkin who has had to give up his career with us for the third and last time for reasons of health has now entered on a career as a clerk in the Fire Department of an Insurance firm. We wish him very sincere congratulations. In a recent letter from John we read, "A few flashes horn the frozen North. Francis Saddler (1949-51) is now engaged to a very nice girl in Edinburgh—and incidentally he is working in a jeweller's shop.. . what a dream for his future wife! Frank Saddler has had a very varied career, having worked in Boots the Chemists as a start, then having a go as under-manager in an Edinburgh cinema—and finally he has become custodian of the jewels.

Frank Dillon
(1950-54) when I last saw him was training to be a mining manager, and putting in a year or two gaining experience down at the coal-face. His brother Pete—that twinkie-toed star of the football field seems to be very contented and successful as a rancher in Australia. Seems a far cry from the evening strolls on the Burma Drive.

Hugh Campbell of Newtongrange also appears to be getting on extremely well in the RAF and is happily married with. . . is it one, two, or three of a family? I myself am very happy in my work, that seems to offer ample opportunity for promotion in years to come."

Michael McBride has applied for a post in the aero-engine section of Rolls-Royce. When we read of 'something revolutionary in jet propulsion'. in future our reflection will be a personal nature.

Peter McNamara who visited Paddy of the same clan in Ireland, , , who is an engineer-designer in a manufactory for turf-cutting implements. (He might be able to help us with something to drain our football pitches). Peter's reflection on the Old Boys' Association is that 'en masse' one might be able to do a lot more for the missions than we (or rather I) do at the moment" Peter found interesting characters in Ireland including one on his father-in-law's farm who bemoaned the fact that his father had died through falling from a horse, although fortunately the horse was all right.

Former students who are still at school will forgive us if we do not report on them for the moment.

From Blacklion this time we have reflections on many aspects of the new House of Philosophy, which seems to be developing its own charm and tradition, apart from Brother Paddy who is still ours, although he has exchanged his Ferguson for donkey and cart, and Cucciolo bike for an outboard motor-boat.

Brother Richard Calcutt writes to us of the Legion of Mary which is established there: "At St Augustine's it has been realised that as today in Africa the Legion is the missionaries' right hand, it is good for the missionary aspirant to have a working knowledge of the Legion method. Consequently one and a half years ago the first meeting of the Praesidium of Our Lady Queen of Africa took place, The work the group does is very commonplace, for the normal work of the Legion, such as visitations, cannot possibly be done, Scope is restricted to jobs around the house and grounds; yet in spite of this the Praesidium has prospered and membership has increased.

The Holy Father has frequently expressed his approval of the Legion, In a letter dated July 22nd 1953 we read: "His Holiness has followed with paternal interest over the years the progress of the Legion." (to Mr Frank Duff, who founded the Legion on 7th September, 1921 at Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin.)

Archbishop Riberi, as Apostolic Delegate to the African Missions, wrote recently to the Ordinaries of Africa: "So far, I like to think that the Legion of Mary is the nearest approach to the ideal of Catholic Action as fostered by the Holy Father,"

Perhaps it is not surprising that we should have from Brother John Collins the following account of Blacklion's devotion to Our Lady, "On the 18th May, 1956, construction was begun of a grotto of Our Lady in the College grounds. For this project, instigated by the Legion Praesidium, a statue three feet high was carved in limestone by Miss Caroline Shorter, the sister of last year's dean.

(source: John Byrne)

The site chosen was the entrance to a cave less than a hundred yards from the College itself, from which flows a small stream. Obstacles to be removed included three massive rocks which were eventually dynamited after Brother O'Toole (left) had pounded at them daily for six weeks without success. Then the bed of the stream was cleared of stones. They were used to turn one bank of the stream into a pleasant promenade, while on the other a terraced flower garden has been built. In the process of construction supervised until last July by Brother Shannon, trees have been felled, several tons of clay and stones shifted to make paths. and large quantities of earth moved for the flowerbeds. A path from the College is almost finished while the only tasks still remaining are the laying of stone steps down to the grotto, and the actual installation of the statue."

Turning to more mundane embellishments of the College grounds we have the following account of further proress on the tennis-court: "That such things as tennis-courts can be completed is a source of encouragement to us who are still labouring in the hard work stage at St Augustine's. This term the labour-squad under the leadership of Brother Martin is concentrating its efforts on mining sufficient large rocks to lay a pathway three feet wide round the whole court. An accidental feature of this operation is the removal of a small hillock from which it is hoped also to obtain sufficient gravel for surfacing.

The main foundation of the court, rock topped with gravel, has now been laid. The next task is that of levelling. Using a theodolite the survey corps has marked the true level on four posts driven in at the corners. The problem of final surface has been shelved until in the fullness of time we have squared off the court by extensions and reductions. It is hoped to have the paths completed by the end of this term. This depends on favorable conditions, the Irish climate (settled-towards rain) the labour force (maintained at a minimum by the Legionaries), and the winning of the daily race for wheelbarrow and tools. That our enthusiasm. . . or at least our optimism. . . is not shared by all is evident from the enquiries "What are you up to down there now?" or "Will there be enough work for future generations too? "  "

Apparently, not all philosophers find satisfaction in strenuous labour . . . at least not all the time. Are we wrong in thinking that rock 'n roll can vie for a man's soul and foil the attraction of rock 'n soil?

Brother Visocchi writes: "Man must have beauty in some form, and where this is absent he falls back on his inventive ability to provide it for him. In Cavan the void is filled for some by the Music Club. Three is no formal membership, nor regular attendance. An announcement is made that such and such a composer will be introduced and such and such a composition played. Tastes vary; but a number of enthusiasts turn up for every performance. The Fathers lend us their record-player and we are grateful to them and to other Brothers for the loan of records."
In the midst of all this activity it is still possible to be quite delightfully idle and apparently appreciative.

For the following notes we are indebted to Brother George Smith: "Looking out of a window, whether at a train (Ed. this is history. The service has been discontinued) an aeroplane or what-have-you, one gets a certain satisfaction. It may be the satisfaction of security, safety from wind and rain, or of watching other men in action. In a sweeping glance I see the tennis court and the grotto, the flower garden, the farm and the winding drive. . . a Brother finding the barrow with two out of every three stones he throws, another finding the path very muddy and reaching the depths of the grotto the hard way, yet another letting Annie have the bit between her teeth as she dashes along as donkeys do with a load of soil for the rose garden.

Near the convent the budgerigar cage interests two of the Sisters; farther back some philosophers try in vain to make the turkey understand. Behind them Brother Paddy coaxes his men in the gentlest terms and tones to make progress on operation henhouse. Somewhere beyond Old Frank moves about patiently in the vegetable garden, completing our little landscape. a picture of perseverance."

The Editor has tried to elicit articles from Old Boys now in the Missions but the most he got was a letter horn Father Walters telling how The Pelican is eagerly awaited in Wiagha (or was it Bolgatanga?) because it gives the students examples of composition in basic English! Floreat! Wiagha!

From North Africa, however, we had a request for some copies to be sent to our three students at Carthage. They were duly sent. Brother Fitzgerald writes: "When I was in Philosophy in Ireland I had the job of trying to get people to write articles for the Pelican and also of trying to sell the magazine. Neither task was exactly easy but it was worth making the effort. I think the Old Boys' Corner is a very good idea, but I'm sure that many ex-Priorians don't know about it. Certainly We have lost touch with it now. During the novitiate we didn't receive a copy of the magazine at all (Ed. That will not happen again.) although I wrote to Philosophy asking for one. I would be very grateful to you if you could have a copy sent out here. I can arrange for a subscription to be sent to you.

Now for some news. The British contingent here is four strong. Three of them are ex-Priorians, Michael Bolan, Gerard Wynne, and myself. The fourth Mike Targett has at least seen the Priory (Ed. e perche non poi mori?) for he paId a visit wIth some other philosophers during the Easter holidays of 1955.

We belong to a community which numbers over a hundred and counts members of twelve nationalities including one African. He is from Nyasaland. Beards are still quite the fashion here . . . I suppose life out here is not really very different from that led in any of the other scholasticates, at least in the essential points of prayer, study, community life etc. There are, of course, accidental differences. We found it rather hot when we arrived in September, but now the mornings are quite chilly, F.50 degrees. We've had more rain than I expected. . nearly always thunder rain accompanying violent storms. But the oranges and tangerines are slowly ripening. . . indeed we have had the first fruits already.

We don't have very much contact with Tunisians, but those I have met are friendly enough. They are interested in us anyway. On our free days we are allowed to go to Tunis. One notices immediately the mixture of the old and the new. On the one hand there is the modern city with its palm-lined avenues and fine buildings where the smartly uniformed police keep a strict watch over the glittering Cadillacs and small Renault taxis. On the other hand there are the Sauks, the Arab shopping centre, with narrow streets, not traffic but other noises, and its special spice-laden air.

So we can conclude by saying that there are lots of other Old Boys who could contribute to the enjoyment of all by relating their experiences in various walks of life and corners of the world. There are many whose addresses we do not know. There may be others who would like to receive the Pelican. The Editor and his assistants are only too willing to do anything for any Old Boys. Get in touch with us at The Priory. . . and as we asked earlier, if you have ideas about an Association, get in touch with Mr Unsworth.

Addresses :
Mr J. V. MCCALL, 6 Spencer Road, Harpenden, Herts.
Mr LEO SMITH, 38 Bolfin Gardens, Inchicore, Dublin.
Brother MICHAEL FITZGERALD, Scolasticat, St Louis, Carthage.
Mr MICHAEL RYAN, 8 Swiss Rd., Elm Park, Liverpool 6.
Mr THOMAS HENNESSY, De La Salle Training College, Middleton, Manchester.
Mr JOHN Bosco LILLEY, 346 Janette Avenue, Windsor, Ontario.
Mr JOHN DURKIN, 20 Stapely Avenue, Edinburgh.