Click on the item you wish to view

Fr Peter Walters
Tony Bleasdale
Fr Peter Travers
Fr Paul Moody
r Bernard Duffy
Archbishop Arthur Hughes

Bishop Francis Walsh
Sister Alice Lynch WS (Sister St Patrick)

Fr. Peter Walters WF 1920 - 1999
Taken from The White Fathers - White Sisters magazine October-November 2000 issue

(Source: Group photo at Rossington Hall
, July 1947 - taken from an article that appeared in the White Fathers - White Sisters magazine by Fr Patrick Boyd WF "Missionary Study In A World At War")

Has anyone got a more up-to-date photograph of Peter please?

Fr. Peter Walters was born in Bristol on the 11th. May, 1920. When he arrived at the Priory, Bishop's Waltham, to begin his studies it seems that he spoke with quite a strong Bristol accent. In the days, before regional accents were generally appreciated and accepted, Fr. Peter was regularly told that a student for the priesthood was expected to speak more properly.

Along with the other British and Irish student, Fr. Peter went to Autreppe in Belgium to begin Philosophy studies in the September of 1939. However, the clouds of war were gathering over that part of Europe and they were moved to Kerlois in France, where they were considered to be in more safety. At the time it was supposed that the war would be over before the Germans reached that far. History has shown that supposition was wrong and Fr. Peter with the rest of the Philosophers would spend next few years interned at St. Denis, near Paris.

During this time of internment, Fr. Pete's boy boyish sense of humour and good spirits kept the others going and helped them to see their tribulations in a different light. They finished the course of Philosophy and began to study Theology in the camp. After the liberation of Paris in 1944, Fr. Peter and the others returned to Britain and did their Noviciate at St. Boswell's before continuing their study of Theology at Rossington Hall. Their final year was spent at Monteviot and Fr. Peter was ordained in Jedburgh in 1949.

Immediately after ordination, before he re received his appointment to go to Africa, Fr. Peter was asked to teach in the Junior Seminaries in England and Scotland for a couple of years. Fr. Peter was especially popular with the boys because apart from his other duties he was Games Master and did what he could to foster sport.

When his appointment to Africa arrived in 1951, he was asked to make his way to the North of Ghana, or the Gold Coast as it was then. Fr. Peter was first sent to Tamale to learn Dagomba. Tamale was still just a mission station at that time, but there were a lot of building and other things going on: a new house, the Cathedral, and the Junior Seminary. Fr. Peter got involved with what was going on and his language studies suffered. He also found that most of the workmen came from elsewhere and did not speak the language he was studying. However, he used to go out and in all simplicity sit down and talk to the children.

It was not long before Fr. Peter was asked to join the teaching staff at the Junior Seminary, first at Wiagha then at St. Charles in Tamale, when the new building was complete. He was to stay there for over twenty years. At the memorial Mass celebrated for Fr. Peter in Tamale, when they got the news of his death and attended by many of his former students, one of the Bishops said that he still remembered how Fr. Peter would teach them Mathematics. The school was still getting on its feet and did not have all the textbooks it needed so Fr. Peter got down and produced his own. Besides his teaching, Fr. Peter enjoyed working with his hands and mending things. He sometimes spent the whole of his Christmas holidays working on old motorbikes for himself and his fellow priests.

Fr. Peter came home on leave several times | during this period but never for very long because of his commitments at the school, and when he made his thirty-day retreat in 1959. After that he had to hurry back to Tamale to be there for the beginning of the new term at St. Charles.In 1977, Fr. Walters was appointed to the Diocesan Office in Tamale. Besides assisting the Diocesan Bursar with accounts and correspondence, Fr. Peter was also in charge of Immigration Documents and helped people working in the diocese to find and procure all the things they needed to do their work. He was also called upon to help the Archbishop with some of his correspondence and especially with the work of the Diocesan Projects Committee. All the time, he made sure that all the equipment was working and repaired typewriters, projectors and other machines.

During this time, Fr. Peter continued the work he had started when he was still at St. Charles as chaplain to the Army barracks in Tamale and the hospital and also said Mass at the prison. He used to ask people he knew back home to send him papers and magazines so that he could give them to his soldiers and patients, and the people he visited in prison.

Fr. Peter was 72 when he left Ghana. He was getting a bit old for the kind of work he had been doing but did not wait until he was too old and tired to do anything. On his return to Britain he was able to take up an appointment on the staff of the house for the retired White Fathers in London. Fr. Peter was an able assistant to the Superior/Bursar of the house, allowing him to do other things and even follow a course of studies. Although he could not lift and carry, Fr. Peter kept the house accounts, and could be seen looking in the shops or going to the bank in the mornings. He also became a regular feature of the landscape of the tree-lined avenues and parks of Ealing as he took his afternoon walks in the company of Tess, the community’s golden Labrador. Fr. Peter did not stop being a missionary just because he was no longer in Africa. The number of people he had got to know on his daily walks, and the influence he had on their lives, only became apparent when he and Tess no longer appeared in the street at the usual time, because Fr. Peter had been taken into hospital. People phoned or came to the house to ask what had become of him. Many went to visit him in hospital. Fr. Peter had suffered a stroke which, although it did not stop him walking and getting about, meant that he would never speak or write another word for the rest of his life. Still he would smile and try to make a sound to show that he was pleased to see you.

Another stroke followed three months later, at the beginning of 1999, leaving Fr. Peter more paralysed and unable to swallow food or drink. The hospital did everything they could to help him but to no avail, so Fr. Peter was taken to Nazareth House in Hammersmith where he received constant care and attention from the staff and Sisters. When he took ill again, he was readmitted to hospital but suffered a heart attack and died on the 17th. September, 1999.

White Fathers came from all over the country to assist at his funeral. A comrade from the camp was main celebrant, a former seminary rector preached and a White Father who had known him in Ghana spoke to his assembled family and friends at the end of Mass. And there were also two boys from Ealing, who assisted at the funeral and even came to the cemetery. It turns out that they are Muslims !

May He Rest In Peace


Return to top

Anthony Bleasdale
by his friend Tony McCaffrey

(source : Tony McCaffrey)

ony joined St Columba's in 1951, went on to the Priory in 1953, St Augustine's (Blacklion) in '57 and on to Broome Hall in 1959. He left in 1960.

Return to top

Fr Peter Mary Travers WF 1875 - 1927

Taken from A History of The Priory published in The Pelican magazine Christmas 1954, Summer 1955 & Christmas 1955 - author unknown

Part 3: Six weatherbeaten crosses and a crucifix ! Five crosses of wood and one of granite ! The names can barely be discerned on the worn paint; Archbishop Arthur Walter Hughes, Brother Aubert, Cornelius de Waal, Peter Joseph Flanagan, Peter Anthony Murphy. But we can easily read the words en engraved on the granite cross, "Pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. P. M. Travers who died on 17th April, 1927, aged 52."

In our first chapter of Priory history we have already mentioned Father Travers as being one of the pioneers of the White Fathers in England and it seems only fitting that the story of his life and in particular his work in England should find a special place in these reminiscences.

At the General Chapter of the Society held in North Africa in 1912 it was decided to open a Junior Seminary in England for the senior classes of the French school at St Laurent d'Olt. On the spot was the very man for this work—Father Travers who was attending the chapter as the representative of his missionary territory, the Vicariate of Nyassa, then under the jurisdiction of the renowned Mgr. Dupont.

In all, Father Travers spent eight years in Africa. He was at the mission post of Mponda for two years until in 1906 he was appointed financial administrator of the Vicariate, an office in which he proved himself a capable organiser. In the November of 1910 he was nominated Vicar General of the southern half of the vicariate. But his task in Africa was nearly done and two years later he was asked to devote his apostolic energy to the establishment of the Society in England.

Father Travers was not appointed to the missions immediately after his ordination in 1900. His first nomination was to the French Seminary of Philosophy at Binson and certainly the four years teaching experience he gained there were to better fit him for the task that lay ahead.

At the time of his ordination Peter Mary Travers was not quite twenty-six, having been born at Livre in 1874. He was the first of eight children, three of whom God called to his special service, all missionaries in Africa, for two of his sisters became White Sisters.

Much has already been said of the difficult work of pioneer pioneering carried out in England by Father Travers and his companions while the Priory housed mainly French pupils, but in some respects in 1919 the work become even more difficult with only English boys and no one on the staff who had English as his mother tongue.

Father Travers went about the country giving talks and lantern lectures, seeking recruits and the means to keep the work going. It was a wearisome task and by no means easy. The response at first was not encouraging but Father Travers was not daunted and indeed an entry of sixty-one boys in 1922 shows that his work had not been in vain.

By this time the arrival of Father Prentice, from seventeen years in Uganda had lightened the burden somewhat but the English classes still had to be given by a lay master as Father Prentice was put in charge of the small group of philosophers. Two of the five philosophers were later to become illustrious; Alfred Howell and Arthur Hughes; the former ordained in I926 became Provincial of the British Province, the latter or ordained the following year was to become an Archbishop and Papal Internuncio to Egypt.

The 16th April, 1925 was a memorable day for Father Travers. It was the day chosen for the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of his Ordination. He had the joy of realising what deep affection and respect he had won from the clergy of the diocese by his never failing kindness and devotedness. His Lordship Bishop Cotter, Bishop of Portsmouth and over forty priests came to take part in the celebrations and made him a generous gift of £100 as a mark of gratitude and friendship. Thirteen of his twenty-five years in the priesthood had been spent at the Priory. He was still full of vigour and the life and soul of the school.

From the Christmas of 1925 the Superior's health grew steadily worse. Doctors in England, Paris and Algiers agreed that complete rest was essential and Father Travers was summoned to the sanatorium at Algiers but he found the inactivity very trying and begged to be sent back to his ' be loved Priory.; He thought he might still be of some use, taking small classes, hearing confessions and so on but the malady was progressing and very soon he became a complete invalid. He was granted a special dispensation to say Mass sitting but after three weeks he was incapable of doing even this.

The visit at Christmas 1926 of Father Voillard, then Superior General of the Society, was the last great consolation Father Travers had in this world. He lingered on for a few more months. The following excerpt from the diary gives us the news of the end; "At the Priory on Easter Day, April 17th, 1927 at 4.3D p.m. Father Peter Mary Travers died, fortified by the rites of the Holy Church."

May his soul rest in peace and may his spirit of devotion and enthusiasm inspire the Priorians of to-day.

Return to top

Fr Paul Moody WF

Fr Moody was Superior at The Priory during the period 1955 - 58 - to be checked and written up, after speaking to Pierre Federle. He died in a motorbike accident, apparently - but no detail as yet.

Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1959

In July 1959 Father Moody was appointed to Mwanza, Tanganyika Territory. It was his first nomination for Africa and an occasion to rejoice.

But we knew that his departure would be a great loss for the school to which he had devoted so much talent and energy during his three years as Superior and Headmaster. Father Moody's associations with the Priory were not limited to the three years immediately preceding his departure for Africa. He became a member of the staff in 1953, teaching Latin and English. He won the respect and love of the boys as Prefect of Discipline, an unpleasant office which he fulfilled admirably, tempering deserved severity with that human understanding and sympathy which was always such an outstanding characteristic.

After one year, he was appointed to carry out the same duties in St Columba's. He thus gained an experience of both schools which was to prove invaluable when in 1956 he was given charge of the Priory.

But it was in the late thirties that association with the Priory began for we find the name of Paul F. Moody among the list of Priory pupils. After matriculating, Father Moody went on to Kerlois in France for philosophy, and it was in France that he remained until the end of World War I I . Unable to flee the country when it was overrun by the Germans in 1940, he, with other British students, was sent to St Denis, an internment camp on the outskirts of Paris.

He finally completed his studies for the priesthood and was ordained in Scotland in 1949. He was to remain in Scotland for some years reading for a degree at St Andrew's University, where he made a name for himself as a brilliant student.

While Headmaster, Father Moody did much to raise the academic standard of the Priory. He carefully studied and re organised the programme of studies and it is mainly to his efforts that the existence of science and Advanced Level courses is due.

It must not be thought, however, that his interests were confined to studies. The spiritual welfare of the boys was his primary concern.

His physical relaxation (!) consisted in cycling and lawn mowing. It was obvious that he did not feel completely relaxed until he was literally bathed in perspiration.

Father Moody did much to revive and open up friendship between the Priory and many Catholics and Non-Catholics in the district. His perspicacity and energy coupled with a striking wit and healthy independence of mind could not fail to win friends for himself and the Society at large.

We have lost him but we know that our loss is Africa's gain. His talent and energy are now more immediately employed in the service of the country to the service of which he has dedicated his life. May it bring much profit to Africa and happiness to himself.

Return to top

Fr Bernard Duffy WF

Fond Memories of Fr Duffy
by Tim Pascall
(Blacklion : 1963-65, Broome Hall : 1965-66, Totteridge 1966-67)

Fr Duffy was Novice Master at Broome Hall when I was there in the mid-sixties.He was quite a character—and to illustrate this I'd like to quote some examples that typify this kind man and his lovely dry sense of humour.

He told us quite early on that : " Every now and then we Fathers invite you into our lounge to watch TV. You are very welcome. We love to see you there. We want you to be infor med. So please do come in. Sit down. Make yourselves comfortable—and SHUT UP !" as he slammed his fist on the table!

In the middle of the 30-day retreat after a heavy night-time storm he made the following observation : " You are all, of course, keeping faithfully to the Rule of Silence. So how is it that within half an hour of getting up, every single one of you had been down to the bottom of the grounds to see the fallen tree? Stange how news can spread when no-one's saying a word ! "

And the day before the General Election (which also took place during the 30 day retreat) he pronounced : " Some of you can vote—those of you who are old enough and British. Of course you can go and vote. You must go and vote. It's your duty to go and vote. So go up to Coldharbour village, cast your vote and VOTE LABOUR ! "

He also threatened to expel two of the Dutch students who had spent hours until quite late in the evening producing some document that was needed the next day, and so felt entitled to a reward of a quick little smoke. Fr. Duffy had a keen nose and smelt the smoke coming out from under the door. He was furious, but happily was prevailed upon not to carry out his threat, since both students are still with the White Fathers. (No names and no packdrill, therefore).

And finally, when Fr. Duffy was appointed as Provincial at Totteridge he was rather concerned about the tension that had built up between Totteridge and the Provincial House. To calm the waters he suggested that people from both places should go out to dinner together. Totteridge was to arrange everything. So a restaurant was booked in Barnet.

When they arrived at the venue, they heard that ties were required. This was one thing Fr Duffy had never worn in his life (or so he claimed). The restaurant insisted, and even offered to supply him with one. " I've never worn a tie in my life and I'm not going to wear one tonight just for you " was the answer––which is just the reaction that anyone who knew him would have expected. So they all walked off in a huff, and relations between Totteridge and the Provincial House took a little while longer to be repaired!

Taken from The Tablet, 22nd June 1968

New Provincial of the White Fathers Fr. Bernard Duffy has been appointed Provincial of the British Province of the White Fathers in succession to Fr. Andrew Murphy.

Fr. Duffy, who is forty-six, was born at Halifax, Yorkshire. He attended the White Fathers' college at Bishop's Waltham, and studied philosophy at St. Columba's, St. Boswells, in Scotland.

He did his novitiate at Broome Hall, Surrey, and his theological studies at Rossington Hall, Yorkshire, where he made his profession. He was ordained in 1947.

His first appointment was to the teaching staff at Bishop's Waltham. In 1954 he was posted to Ujiji, in Tanzania. Seven years later he was brought back to Bishop's Waltham, where he was appointed superior. For the past four years he has been Novice Master at Broome Hall. He takes up his duties as Provincial on 1st July.

(source: Maurice Billingsley)

Memorandum to Rev Fr Duffy, Superior a priori, 1964
from a Third Former, Hilarius Bellocosus
aka Robbie Dempsey, 22nd November 2005

Do you remember that in, Memoranda,
Do you remember that in ?
Those endless lists of words and phrases
Accusative and Locative, vocaBullry evocative;
In Latina you have seen a whole world pass you by.
I remember, Memoranda,
Latina could have been a conjugated culture and never wondered why.
Laborare est orare,
Yesterday amo amare,
Crass, oblibiscuit Latinare.
In memoriam, Fr. Duffy, do you remember Memoranda ?

Idioms and phrases:
Glasgow and London, New Edition : Blackie.(Duffer)
Romulus and Remus, I hope he hasn't seen us. (Duffy)
"Alea jacta est" says "Tha Die ist cast, lad,
Ah Oui, Jubi, Jubilee, Jubilatio,
You boy, translatio :- the noun phrase is cast in t'Ablative Case -
Impedimentis relictis, ad insulam veniunt." (Duffer)
. . . Hacking and whacking
. . . Caesar hastens with a hasta trying to advance;
. . . But, nocte appropinquante, he hasta seize a chance.
. . . Here comes Exercitus, here comes Auxilary,
. . . Infrastructure, infrared, inforitnow, infra dig.

And you haven't got a clue but, suddenly you knew:
"Leaving their - their Cases - behind them,
They came to a - a roundabout."
That's absolutely ablative !
Lux aeternum, Pax Romana !
Lex and Tax Americana !
Pax vobiscum, Tanganyika, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
Ab Urbe Konditerei,
Quid pro quo and Nihil Obstats; Be vigilant ad nauseam.

Do you remember that, Latina, in Memoranda ?
Do you remember that in the active and the passive
Ab hinc, ab Hank, possessive.
And the hic, haec, hoc and amabuntur.
Amabor, amaborin,
For the times they are a-changin.
For the times are "Tempora mutantur"
Blah, blah, blah,
Bellorum, bliss, bliss !
Inter alia, InterRail, we learned to 'Decline War'.

Then the reading and the pleading,
All the tears and all the fears find you staring at the floor.
Never more, Memoranda,
Never more, Memento mori.
With Memororanda Latina,
and Father Duffy we have seen a life that is so keen - ibi ignis.

Stabat mater dolorosa iuxta crucem lacrimosa,
Father Duffy,
Quo Vadis ?

Return to top

Archbishop Arthur Hughes WF 1903 — 1949
Taken from "The White Fathers" by Glenn D Kittler, originally published by Harper & Brothers 1957

Arthur Walter Hughes was a reckless example of a holy clown. He became an archbishop of the
Church and the papal ambassador to Egypt and he got more fun out of it than a kid on a roller coaster. At one of the most solemn moments of his life, he took time to quip. He was in Alexandria at the reception of the newly appointed Copt-Catholic Patriarch, a man named Amba Morkos II. During the formal toasts, Hughes rose and said with great dignity: "Ad multos annos— as we'd say in English: “Forever Amba."

Hughes had come from a poor English family and he had very little schooling. As a boy be earned his living as a newspaper copy boy. He had a gnawing crave for knowledge. He often spent hours in a museum or library, and be had a remarkable ability to memorize at sight whatever he saw or read. At fourteen, he launched himself on a study of comparative religion, and a year later he walked into a Catholic parish in London and announced that he was ready to enter the Church. The pastor prepared to give the boy the usual preliminary catechism, but at the first session the priest discovered that Hughes knew more than he did. He was accepted into the Church immediately and then declared that he wanted to become a priest. Such extremes of fervour were not uncommon in converts, and the priest expected Hughes to calm down after a while. Instead, the boy applied for admission to the White Fathers' seminary in Hampshire and was accepted.

As a student he had to compete with young men who had years of formal education behind them, and it would have been understandable had be lagged at the bottom of his class. It appeared at first that he would, particularly in Latin and French both of which he needed for his higher studies. In his other subjects, he was always the leader; within eighteen months he knew Latin and French fluently, so much so that he could pun in both languages, usually with Biblical inferences which startled his much older and mission-weary professors. His faculty for languages was phenomenal. In the early weeks of his study of French, he was seen carrying a grammar into the refectory, and, to tease him, other students asked if he was ready to take a test in it.

“All right," he said. "Pick any subject and I'll talk about it in French for an hour."

Amused, the students groped for a subject, then one them glanced at the food on the table. He said: "Cheese.”
Off Hughes went for the full hour in perfect French, astounding his classmates not only by his skill in the language but his knowledge of cheese. He admitted later that he was merely recalling from memory what he had once read about cheese in an encyclopedia at a time when the topic interested him. Years afterward he similarly astounded an audience of the League of Nations Union in London when he was called upon at short notice to give a talk on slavery. He talked for an hour without notes or pause, his mind again full of facts he had culled from his avid reading.

Hughes went to Uganda in 1933, where he was appointed secretary to the bishop, plus supervisor of schools and a dozen other jobs. He was a small man with short legs, and because it was therefore difficult for him to stay on a motor cycle, he was permitted to use a car. It was a tiny, beat-up English car, and the sight of it bouncing along the rugged Uganda roads at all hours of the day and night became a landmark of the White Fathers. Part of the mission-school budget came from the government, a small part which varied in its generosity according to the whims of the British agent for schools. One year Hughes submitted an unusually large, request, and the agent asked: "Why are you asking so much money from the government? Why, the Catholic Church is the richest organization in the world; you ought to be able to get your money from Rome."

"What are you talking about?" Hughes returned. "The Church was founded on a rock and it's been on the rocks ever since." The joke was enough to break the threatening unpleasantness—and he got his money.

At the outbreak of World War II, the Vicariate of Gulu on the Equatorial Nile in the northern part of the Uganda Protectorate was under the jurisdiction of Italian priests and bishop. The British didn't want any Italians, though they were clergymen, at liberty in the country, so the missionaries were moved away from the area. For that matter, the White Fathers, because of the internationalism of the society, were the only Africa missionaries whose Italian and German members were not made prisoners of war. The removal of the Italians required replacements at Gulu; the White Fathers and African priests were sent in, and Hughes was appointed administrator. Typical of him, he did not look upon the appointment as something temporary, though it was, and he went to work at top speed, building missions, opening schools, expanding hospitals. Four tribal languages were used in the vicariate; Hughes arrived knowing none. He realized, however, the importance of learning the languages not only for the convenience of getting things done but for the respect which his knowing them would indicate to the people. In the vicariate just a few days when he made his first tour of the missions, he wrote a speech in English and had it translated into the four languages all of which he memorised, and he was thus able to speak to the people in their own tongue on his initial encounter with them. The Africans were tremendously impressed and were immediately his loyal supporters.



Hughes had a genius for making people friendly and keeping them so. One of the African priests with him was extremely shy, to the point of being anti-socia, and the nuns at the convent he had frequently to visit mistook the man's timidity for some kind of aloofness aimed against them. Hughes learned about it. One afternoon he telephoned the convent and, disguising his voice, said he was the hospital administrator, that the priest had been brought in for an emergency appendectomy and would not be able to go to the convent the next day. A few hours later, he telephoned again with the same disguise, and said that the priest had had a remarkable recovery, that he would after all be able to go to the convent, but that since he was so shy, it would be better if the operation were not mentioned by the nuns. Obediently the nuns avoided the subject when the priest arrived the next morning, but they were so overwhelmed by what they thought was his miraculous recovery that they showered him with such attention and affection that he was literally ripped out of his shyness and got along beautifully with everybody thereafter.

On another occasion, Hughes was visited by some nuns who were, he knew, starving themselves so that they would have more food to give to the children at the school they ran. At breakfast, Hughes sent eggs to their quarters, but the nuns refused them, saying that they knew that eggs were hard to come by, that Hughes was working very hard, and that he should keep them for himself. It was one of those delicate moments when the slightest pressure from Hughes would have caused the uncomfortable embarrassment which nuns suffer so easily and lastingly. The nuns were happily surprised when Hughes appeared unexpectedly at their car to say good-bye just before they left. When they arrived at their school, they found tied to the car's rear bumper a basket of eggs with a note commanding them to eat the eggs as an act of holy obedience to their superior.

The Italian situation which had existed at Gulu was also true in Cairo. The apostolic delegate to Egypt was Italian, and though he was concerned only with Catholic affairs, the British government felt he should not be there and asked the Vatican to replace him with an Englishman. Again the appointment went to Hughes, and it was a most unwelcomed appointment. It meant he would have to become a bishop, and it also meant that his days as a missionary to Central Africa were over. Hughes would have refused the assignment, but in obedience to the Pope he knew he would have to take it. The British were happy to see him when he arrived in Cairo in late 1942 and offered to arrange an introduction for him with King Farouk.
"That would be very nice," Hughes said, "but I don't think I should meet Farouk under British auspices. After all I’m not here as a representative of the King of England but the Prince of Peace."

Learning this, the Egyptians were delighted. Hughes became a frequent dinner guest of Farouk, enhancing his position even more by learning Arabic and always conversing in it. Farouk even then was an energetic sensualist; if his parties did not always end in orgies, they were nevertheless too raucous for a priest. Only once did Hughes have to complain by asking Farouk to be kind enough to hold off the dancing until Hughes left. After that, Farouk's parties when Hughes was present were models of propriety. People wondered what Moslem Farouk and Catholic Hughes had to talk about. Farouk, despite his dissipations, was an intelligent, educated man who, weary of the terrified yes-men who surrounded him enjoyed the company of someone who was bright and well formed, who joked easily with him and openly disagreed on any point of view he felt was wrong.

There were others who should not have enjoyed Hughes much, but they did. Egypt had some three million Christians, less than a fourth of whom were Catholics. The others belonged to various rites which had over the centuries broken with Rome mostly for nationalistic reasons. Their spiritual fidelity was to their own patriarchs. Important: though they were severed from Rome, they had true sacraments and priests. The Church of England, on the other hand, changed the ritual, thereby losing its apostolic inheritance. After the break-off about a thousand years ago, several of Oriental Rites in a sense returned to Rome while retaining their own patriarchs and special characteristics, again for reasons of nationalism. The Orthodox Rites remained apart. It has always been the conviction of Rome that sooner or later the separated churches would return. To try to hasten that day, however, could be a mistake, especially in view of enduring nationalistic differences still between the various rites themselves, and so the matter had been left to time, to prayer, to God—and to men like Arthur Walter Hughes.

Hughes was a warm and charming man with an abundance of sincerity. Though he was in Egypt as a representative of the Pope, he attended special religious services in other Catholic churches, whether or not they were allied with the Vatican. His presence always stirred a great deal of comment and wide satisfaction. Simply by being there he was helping to bridge both the gaps between the various rites and Rome. The people were as pleased as the patriarchs. When Hughes was consecrated bishop, his pectoral cross and episcopal ring were gifts from Eastern church groups which ordinarily would have dreaded having so influential a Roman Catholic in the country. He was an attraction wherever he went. Once his train south into Egypt stopped at a wayside station, and he stepped out for fresh air. Word rushed through the region that be was there, and hundreds of people hurried to meet him. Even high-ranking Moslems found him irresistible and were constantly sending gifts and doing favours. And when he attended a party given for him by chaplains of the British Army, he enchanted the Protestant chaplains by going first to them because, he said, he was anxious to meet their wives. This was no pose; he meant it, and that was why everybody liked him.

Evidence of his success occurred in 1.947 when Egypt announced it would like to exchange ambassadors with the Vatican, the first Moslem country ever to do so. When considerations began for appointment of the Papal Internuncio, Egypt insisted that Hughes be raised to that office. Now Hughes had experience to know that though he was apparently well liked, there were many in Egypt who were uneasy over the popularity of the Catholic Church.

There was an axiom among diplomats that one must watch his friends closer than he watched his enemies, and Hughes was well acquainted it. He was therefore not surprised when he learned that official pouches mailed to the Vatican were being tampered with. He solved that problem simply by sending in the pouch only chitchat letters about the weather and everybody's health; his official observations regarding the position of the Church in Egypt he put into ordinary envelopes with ordinary stamps and popped them into the comer mail box himself.
Buried in the usual heavy postal traffic, the letters arrived in Rome untouched. At one time he discovered that certain prominent Moslems were planning a long-term, slow but steadily increasing program against the Church in Egypt and throughout Africa. Through friends, he acquired a copy of the blueprint with the understanding that he just wanted to read it and would return it in the morning. He sat up all night typing a copy of it.

The Moslems found out what had happened and suspected what Hughes had done. To keep him from getting the report to the Vatican, undercover men were assigned to watch his every move. His telephone was tapped, whatever be mailed was intercepted, everybody who left his house was followed in the event that he had given the document to them. Hughes was fully aware of all this and he thought it was a great deal of fun. And he knew what be would eventually have to do. His official position had put him in charge also of Catholic affairs in Palestine. The White Fathers were there, running a seminary for young men destined for the Melkite priesthood. The Melkites were—and are—adherents to the Byzantine Rite which had broken from Rome in the fifth century, but the Melkites subsequently returned. In 1859, the Sultan of Constantinople, a French ally in the Crimean War, offered to France as a gift the Shrine of St. Anne, built on the site of the home of the mother of the Virgin Mary. Friends of Lavigerie in Paris asked him to take it over. At first Lavigerie was hesitant because it meant sending White Fathers away from Africa, for which they were intended. But then he accepted the shrine on the grounds that there were Moslems in Palestine, too, who needed the White Father influence. He had another reason that he didn't tell anybody. The Melkites were in union with Rome; if other Eastern rites were to follow suit, the necessary influence, Lavigerie felt, would come from within the Middle East. It was his intention one day to build a Melkite seminary in Palestine whose graduate priests would be, in effect, an attraction toward Rome. He did not want that influence to be too abrupt, and he felt it was most important first to attract more schismatic Easterners to the Melkite Rite, and the way to do that was to have a lot of outstanding Melkite priests. He knew he would never get permission from Rome to open a seminary right off, so he sent White Fathers to Jerusalem to take care of the shrine and open a high school for Melkite boys. Three years later, the Melkite patriarch visited the school, saw how excellent it was, and said he thought it would be wonderful if the White Fathers could start a seminary for the Melkite priests he so badly needed. A request of this kind to Rome was quickly approved, and the seminary began and has since provided for the Middle East scores of fine young Melkite priests. Many years later the seminary became very important to Archbishop Hughes.

In the midst of all the cloak-and-dagger surveillance of him, the seminary provided Hughes with an excuse to go to Palestine to see how the White Fathers were doing. The Egyptian Moslems correctly suspected that he would use the occasion to get the anti-Catholic report out of the country and they were on the train with Hughes when it pulled out of Cairo. The Archbishop had two pieces of luggage. One was a suitcase of his clothes, and this he kept open on the seat opposite and dug into whenever he needed anything. The other was a small briefcase to which he clung as if it meant his life. He never let it out of his sight, wherever he went on the train. The Egyptians watched anxiously for the first moment they could grab it. Hughes even slept with it in his tight grip, resting his feet on his opened suitcase. The Egyptians did not sleep at all. The train pulled into Jerusalem; Hughes busied himself locking up his suitcase. At the last moment, he pretended to be terribly occupied with finding a porter to carry his suitcase and carelessly put down his briefcase. The Egyptians grabbed it, jumped off the train, ran across the platform, and boarded a train just pulling out for Cairo. Hughes almost waved at them. He opened his suitcase and took out the envelope containing the secret report and mailed it at the first post office he saw. The Cairo-bound Moslems soon discovered that they had only a briefcase of old newspapers.

Though Archbishop Hughes never outgrew the physique of a boy, he did the work of a dozen men. When his regular duties did not keep him busy enough, he took on extra chores and studies. He saw everyone who came to him, day or night, however serious or trivial the matter at hand. He was a prince and ambassador of the Church, and though as such he could have rightly lived in a certain elegance, he rejected anything resembling luxury. If he knew he had a sumptuous banquet to attend, he privately fasted for days before it. His work in Cairo freed him from the rules of the White Fathers, but he nevertheless kept them. He was up at five every morning for his meditation, and whatever his schedule, he took time to join the priests who worked for him in the daily religious exercises. The spiritual depth he had evinced as a young man remained with him all his life. Once, soon after his ordination, an elderly priest served his Mass and told him afterward, "Young man, I want you to say a Hail Mary every day of your life for the grace to say Mass as you did this morning."

The same could have been said of his piety the day he died. He had, in 1949, gone back to England for what was supposed to be a rest, but he arrived in London with a long list of chores and favours to be done. Up at five every morning, he was off to the parish church and back by the time his parents awoke and found that he had made their morning tea and brought it to them. Then out he went on the endless round of work. He had been warned by doctors that he had a bad heart, but he never let this deter him from what he felt had to be done. Nevertheless, there were times when he was too exhausted to take another step. Once, visiting a White Fathers' house upcountry, he went to his room for some papers he had been discussing, but did not return. The priests looked for him. He had fallen asleep on the bed, fully dressed, and remained there for thirty hours. The tensions and pressures of his work in Egypt were beginning to tell on him. His family and fellow priests were worried; they insisted that he see a heart specialist, and he reluctantly agreed. Three days before his scheduled appointment, he suffered an attack while driving in London but managed to get home safely.

The night preceding the appointment, he had two more attacks, and the second was fatal. It was when his confréres were examining his personal effects that they discovered the extent of his mortifications. Bent on sanctity, he had had hidden away several instruments of penance, used apparently as reminders of vigilance against whatever shortcomings he must have felt were keeping him from a complete union with God. The discovery was a great surprise, and it was further evidence of his determination for piety. His sudden death at forty-seven shocked everyone into a sense of loss; people grew jealous of Heaven. Friends remembering him these days always cap their remarks of his achievements with: "Oh, he was a charmer.” That, too, is a trait of saints.

Return to top

Bishop Francis Walsh 1901- 1974
priest for 49.6 years and a bishop for 23 years

Father Walsh, as he was known to us when he was parish priest at Heston, was a outstanding character as you will have gathered if you have read "The History of the White Fathers in Scotland" on Page 11 of the HISTORIES section (attributed to Fr Marchant).

Archbishop Gray said of him : "He is a deeply spiritual man of outstanding Christ-like charity."

John Morton (Priory 50 - 53) knew him well and has good reason to remember Fr Walsh with great respect and affection.

John was given a copy of a biography of this great man and it has been reproduced on Page 10 of the HISTORIES section.

Date Age Event Title
15 Sep 1901 Born Cirencester
7 Mar 1925 23.5 Ordained Priest Priest
9 Sep 1931 30.0 Professed Priest of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers)
20 Jun 1951 49.8 Appointed Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland, Great Britain
12 Sep 1951 50.0 Ordained Bishop Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland, Great Britain
22 Jul 1963 61.9 Resigned Bishop of Aberdeen, Scotland, Great Britain
12 Sep 1963 62.0 Appointed Titular Bishop of Birtha
7 Dec 1970 69.2 Resigned Titular Bishop of Birtha
27 Oct 1974 73.1 Died Bishop Emeritus of Aberdeen, Scotland, Great Britain

Eugene writes in Newsletter 31:
"John Morton and I have found Bishop Walsh's gravestone here in Grantham and gave it a wash and brush-up in icy water as the snow drifted down one day in January".

A frozen John Morton at the cemetery in Grantham.

Return to top

Sister Alice Lynch (Sister St Patrick)1911 — 1996
Taken from The White Fathers - White Sisters magazine, Issue No. 329

Inspired by a White Father uncle, Alice left her home in Northern Ireland to join the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa in Heston, Middlesex.

She almost turned tail and fled at the sight of Eva Pick and Mary Lampard in the Postulants' long black gown and bonnet!

However, she stayed. In due course she went to Belgium, then Algeria for the noviciate. In spite of her imposing figure, tall and well-built as she was, her health was not good and the doctor said she would never be able to go to Africa. So the normal procedure would have been to ask her to leave the Congregation.

It speaks volumes for the high esteem in which the Superiors held her, that she was given a choice: to leave, or to stay in the Congregation without the hope of ever going to Africa. She elected to stay. She is a wonderful example to missionaries outside Africa of how to keep alive our charism for the land of our adoption.

Later, in the United States, she would say that all her efforts (and they were untiring) at fund-raising and mission animation, were her way of being a real missionary of Africa in heart and soul.

The first 20 years or so of her religious life were spent in England, mainly as Superior in houses of formation. In 1960 she crossed the Atlantic and spent the next odd 30 years in the U.S. which she came to love. Here she made friends. People were drawn to this big, kindly Sister, with her Irish wit, who was so obviously interested in them and always ready to help. She had a special love for the poor, and with the help of some well-to-do friends, she would make up large parcels of food and clothing for them to give away at Christmas and Easter. She also helped to deliver 'Meals on Wheels'.
In community, she loved to share on a spiritual level and went well-prepared to community meetings. She needed and appreciated the support of her Sisters. In 1990, like other sick Sisters in the U.S., she was invited to go to Sillery in Canada, to our Sisters' Home for the sick and elderly. She loved to visit her Sisters in her specially made wheelchair and to welcome them when they popped in to see her. But when all was said and done, her home was in the British Isles and she asked to return.

In 1995 she went to Wickham Court Nursing Home in Kent. She was loved and admired by the nurses, staff and other residents. A missionary to the end, she unconsciously witnessed to the love of Christ, who had been the lodestar of her life. In the noviciate she had taken the name of Sr. St. Patrick and, fittingly it was on St. Patrick's day, 1996, that the Lord called her home.

Return to top