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Dan Sherry 1923 2009
Taken from The Petit Echo, Edition No. 916
Father Dan Sherry will always be remembered by anyone who knew him as someone who had time for them. He enjoyed being with people, whether it was the people he worked with, other missionaries, expatriates, Govemment officials, or anyone else who came his way.
Dan was a coalminer's son, born in the mining village of Glencraig, near Lochore in Fife, in 1923. He grew up during the years of the Depression, attending the local primary school in Lochore, then came to the Junior Seminary as a young boy of 12 . After Philosophy at St Boswells, Noviciate in Dorking and Theology at Rossington Hall and Monteviot, Dan was ordained in Jedburgh on 2 June 1949.
When Dan's appointment to Africa arrived in 1950, he had just suffered a slipped disc, and so had to wait a while before he could proceed to his mission in Northern Rhodesia. In the meantime, he was appointed to be Socius to the Brothers' Novice Master at Monteviot. The Provincial at the time remarked that Dan was not particularly suited to the post, but he was the only one available to fill the need at that moment, and he did the job to the best of his ability. It was the story of his life.
Dan spent the best part of his 76 years in the Diocese of Kasama in Northern Zambia, over half the time at Chilubula, a rural mission situated on the edge of the Bangweolo swamps. He took his turn working at the main mission and visiting the outlying areas, and when he was asked to give a hand at anything, Dan was ready and willing. Dan Sherry put his whole heart into whatever he undertook, and down the years he revealed a variety of talents. His greatest gift undoubtedly lay in personal relationships, and he was remarkable for the attention he always paid to others. The Regional said of him truly that he never spoke ill of anyone, a feature of his character rare enough to merit attention. He worked in several different missions: Kapatu, Kasama, Lwena, Mpolokoso, Mulobola, Ipusukilo, Lwitikila. He replaced the Education Secretary for six months a couple of times, in 1968, and was Archbishop's Secretary from 1970 to 1974, after which he was more than happy to return to his people in Chilubula.
Dan stayed in Africa until his health deteriorated. On his return to Scotland in 1993, after the Long Retreat in Jerusalem, he stayed first of all in the community in Rutherglen, then, when he needed more care and attention, had to go into a home first in Scotland then at Nazareth House in Hammersmith, where he died on 12 December 1999.
Fr. Dan Sherry was deeply human: that is the first thing that comes to mind when one evokes his memory. Any visitor turning up at the house where Dan happened to be posted, at any time of day or night, was sure to be welcomed. Dan was always ready to drop whatever he was doing to greet the visitor warmly and make sure he was comfortably seated with something to drink before returning to the task he was busy with. As soon as he was free again, all his attention would be centred on the visitor to make him feel at home and at ease.
Dan was eminently sociable. We appreciated his presence wherever we happened to meet several priests, brothers together: for a seminar, for a meal, for a social occasion. He was always ready to share his personal experiences of missionary life with the people around him, and to have a good laugh at his own misadventures. He was very witty, and ever ready to look at the pleasant side of events and people. He was very good at maintaining excellent relations with outsiders, such as officers of the Administration. This proved to be of invaluable help on more than one occasion.
He spent most of his missionary life in the rural areas. He was prepared to take his share of touring and spend days on end in a remote comer of the land among the villagers. He was a man who had trained himself to take in his stride everything that came his way, whether it was pleasant or not. He was straightforward enough to say what be thought, but never in a way that would create resentment or permanent antagonism.
He felt at ease in a team, would express his views, and then would earnestly abide by the decisions that had been taken in common. He was a man who, for years, at Chilubula, shared a car with another priest, and the association seemed to have survived the vagaries of individual habits. This is certainly to be laid at Dan's door as a positive achievement, because he was rather finicky as regards the proper use of things and loudly critical of thoughtless wastage. He stuck for years to an old van he had bought very cheap, and kept it going without a hitch, simply because he was extremely careful. In many ways he was an adept and an example of the simple lifestyle.
Dan was truly a priest who had dedicated his life to the service of the Kingdom of God in Africa. His vocation was clear: it was an answer to the call, "Go and preach!" Dan went and preached, to the best of his ability, with his limited Cibemba, but with all his faith and personal convictions. That is why the people accepted him as he was and liked him for what he was. He went about his work at his own speed and with his own relaxed attitude but there he was always on call wherever he was expected to be. His main point in everything was to remind the people that they were called to become new men and new women in Christ.
All those who knew Father Sherry - Missionaries of Africa, diocesan priests, Sisters, lay people - may have been sad for a moment at hearing of his death, feeling that they had lost a universal friend. But Dan's time had come to receive his own reward from his Lord after he had waited on so many of his Lord's people. We are grateful for his life and work.
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Hastings, Theologian 1929 2001
Taken from an article written by Paul Gifford for The Guardian, with his kind permission
In 1973, the Catholic Institute of International Relations (CIIR) decided to hold a public meeting during the visit to Britain of Portugal's Prime minister, Marcelo Caetano. The then Conservative government was planning to celebrate the sixth centenary of the Anglo Portuguese alliance with a great show of friendship, at a time when the Portuguese were waging a brutal colonial war in Africa
The theologian Adrian Hastings who has died aged 71, was to speakg at the ClIR meeting, and came into possession of a Spanish report, by the Burgos Fathers, of a 1972 massacre by the Portuguese army of around 400 peasants in a remote Mozambican village called Wiryamu. He had the report published in the Times just before Caetano's arrival.
The disclosure, became world news; within days Hastings had spoken at the United Nations, and the Labour opposition leader, Harold Wilson, called for a Commons debate. Caetano's visit became a fiasco. In his turn, Hastings used the storm for an assessment Of the Portuguese government, the wars of liberation in Portuguese Africa, and the church's role in countenancing - rarely criticisingcolonial oppression.
The repercussions were profound. Indeed, it has been seriously claimed that the exposurehis book Wiryamu (1974) was translated into seven languagesplayed an important part in triggering Portugal's 1974 "carnation revolution".
The keys to Hastings's life and thought were the liberal tradition, Oxford University, the Church in Africa, the re-forming Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) and ecumenism. History was his passion, focused on Africa and Britain. His African history stemmed from his missionary involvement, and was sharpened academically during a fellowship at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), at London University, in the 1970's.
A lawyer's son, born in Kuala Lumpur, he was raised, from the age of two, in Great Malvern Worcestershire, where his family originated. Brought up a Roman Catholic, he determined at the age of eight to become a priest. Educated at Douai Abbey Benedicatine school, Reading, he graduated in history from Worcester ollege, Oxford, in 1949.
In his third year, he joined the White fathers, the main Catholic missionary society in Africa. Then, with characteristic independence and mastery of the grand gesture, he decided that the missionary life was not enough; he wanted to be a priest working under an African bishop. At that time, the only black bishop of the Latin rite was Kiwanuka, at Masaka, Uganda. Against all advice, Hastings appliedand was accepted.
Meanwhile, he trained at the College of Propaganda Fide, in Rome, from which he benefited enormouslyperhaps surprising for someone who gained an anti-Rome reputation. The programme was ultramontane (favouring the centralised authority of the Pope), but it was here that Hastings steeped himself in radical Catholic theology. Living with Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Africans and other students, he experienced catholicity at firsthand.
Ordained a priest in 1955, he said his first mass at the altar where John Henry Newman had said his. This was something of great significance to someone so English, who was proud of being the first Oxford man since the 19th century cardinal to attend Propaganda.
Three years later, after completing his doctorate, Hastings left for Uganda. But he was very different from the person who had made his deliberately anti-academic decision to go to Africa. He had returned with vigour to intellectual life, and had published some books already, including White Domination or Racial Peace? (1954).
His six years teaching in an Ugandan seminary, ran into the years of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Once it was over, the bishops of the five East African countries entrusted him with educating the region's clergy about it. From 1966-68, based in Tanzania, he steeped himself in the 16 constitutions, decrees and declarations of the council, breaking them down explaining their major ideas.
But, from the start, Hastings was anomalous in Africa. He had gone there because he was a radical; the local clergy, trained by conservative missionaries, were not. He formed his own links with the wider church. In 1963, his thesis on Anglican ecclesiology was published, and, probably as a result, he was invited to join the Anglo-Roman catholic International Preparatory Commission, whose meetings deepened his ecumenical commitment. The commission led to the Anglo-Roman Catholic International Committee. He might well have joined it, but, in 1968, Pope PaulVI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae, banning artificial contraception. Hastings's unbudging dissent ended his usability within official Catholicism.
Hastings became the Catholic presence in Zambia's pioneering Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation (1968-70). There, friendship with the Anglican archbishop of central Africa led to him surveying the relationship in Africa between customary and church marriage. The result, completed in 1972, was an official report of one churchwritten by a member of another.
Yet, it was clear that there was no job for Hastings in the Catholic church in Africa, and, reluctantly, he returned to Britain. In 1972, he taught at the ecumenical campus of Selly Oak College, Birmingham. In 1973, he joined SOAS, researching Christianity in independent Africa, and then became a religious studies lecturer, later reader, at Aberdeen University (1976-82).
He was professor of religious studies at the University of Zimbabwe, before taking up the professorship of theology at the University of Leeds, from 1985-94, the year he concluded his research with his wide-ranging, elegant yet racy, magnum opus, A History of The Church in Africa 1450-1950.
Hastings's focus on the Christian history of Britain is best illustrated by his History of English Christianity 1920-2000 (latest revised edition). There were also co-operative projects like Modern Catholicism, Vatican II and after (1991), and the equally ambitious A World History of Christianity (1998), which attempted to be less church-centred and Eurocentric than some other histories. His 1996 Wiles Lectures at Queen's University, Belfast, became The Constructiuon of Nationhood: Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (1997), a spirited rebuttal of accepted wisdom about nationalism, with examples from Africa to Yugoslavia.
Over 50 years, there was a remarkable consistency in Hastings's theological work, even if the emphases shifted. His mature theology is best seen in The Theology of a Protestant Catholic (1990), which grappled with the very survival of Christianity, or religious faith, the meaningfulness of God and Christ's relevance.
His reservations about the papacy's authoritarianism had been with him from the beginning, long before the centralising shown by Pope John Paul II, who, in his History of English Christianity, he accused of "an absolutism just a little reminiscent of the Stalinism he had fought so hard against". For such expressions, as for much else, the Catholic Church marginalised him.
Besides the advocacy in Hastings's theologyarguing for lay ministry, married clergy, intercommunion, the forwarding of Vatican IIthere was that campaigning work. Twenty years after the Wiryamu controversy, appalled by the ethnic cleansing in collapsing Yugoslavia and the apathy of the television audience, he became a founder memeber of the Alliance To Defend Herzegovina, and a trustee of the Bosnian Institute.
In his interventions, he was ready to denounce individuals. In 1993, in the Guardian, he accused the then Foreign Secvretary Douglas herd of "complicity in genocide".
Hastings raised the journal Of Religion In Africa to the highest standing. His willingness to help colleagues and students was exemplary. In retirement, he edited The Oxford Companion To Christian Thought (2000), a huge enterprise, for which he wrote more than 70 articles. A few days before he died, he heard that it was proposed to elect him to fellowship of the British Academy, news which gave him pleasure.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, whom he married in 1979. Amidst considerable publicity, he had renounced the olbigation of celibacy, having convinced himself that the theological justification was simply wrong.
Adrian Christopher Hastings, theologian, born June 23 1929; died May 30 2001
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Brother Aubert 1950
Taken from an article written by Brother Paddy in the Christmas 1950 edition of The Priorian
Brother Aubert (left) with Brother Paddy
The Priory group photo 1935 1936
(source: Eugene MacBride)
It was with deep regret that we announced in our last number the death of dear old Brother Aubert; and it is, with sorrow, yet mingled with joy, that we now pay a little tribute to one whom all past generations of Priorians knew so well. Those who came in contact with him realised that he was a man of God; those of us who lived with him over a period of years cherish that intimacy as a blessing.
Brother Aubert was temporarily appointed to the Priory in 1912and it was here that he passed all his missionary life. When he arrived the new wing had taken shape; the doors and windows were being put in and the water supply had just been installed. Until the end of his life, he knew where every water pipe and drain were to be found on the premises. Brother Aubert took a keen interest in the numerous improvements which were made for the students' pleasure and comfort. It was he who began our modest farm: he erected the various sheds for the accommodation of the live stock, the hay-barn, the grainstore and the once famous slaughter-house.
He was, by nature, of a very retiring disposition, a man of few, words, but one who thought much; nevertheless in the community, his sense of humour was well known and appreciated. His contacts with neighbouring farmers were, in former years, very numerous, and at the Bishop's Waltham live stock sales he was well known and liked. His sandy beard and his kindly features attracted people to him. The following incident occurred several years ago at the close of one of these sales; he went along to the refreshment room and he was greeted with the usual refrain: "Hello, Brother". They had been saying something about parsons and one old farmer said: "Parsons, I ain't got no time for persons, when I be a-dying I'll send along to the Priory for Brother Aubert."
For the past ten years, his infirmities were very great and although he never complained, it was sometimes very obvious that he was in great pain., He also became hard of hearing and his eyesight began to deteriorate. Brother was a holy man, one who by his faithfulness to his spiritual exercises was a real source of edification, He worked hard all his life in his little corner of Our Lord's vineyard. He died after a very short-illness; just after his death one of his old farmer friends said this: "I'm sorry to hear that dear old Brother is gone. If everyone in the world were like him, what a grand place it would be to live in."
May he rest in peace,
Brother Patrick W.F.
Requiescat in Pace (Brother Aubert)
by James Wallace
His life on earth has come to an end,
(As all must do),
And now he has gone, weve lost a friend,
(A good friend too).
Silent, strong and ever true.
His one great cause:
To be a Brother, through and through;
And that he was.
Dead but alive, in every brick,
In every clod.
Dead but above, (without his stick)
He walks with God.
Henry Moreton 1904 1965
Taken from The Pelican, Summer 1965 - lent by Pat Gritton
Written by John Fowles, Superior at The Priory
When the White Fathers first arrived in Bishop's Waltham in 1912, they undertook to care for the handful of Catholics in the district who, until then, had belonged to the parish of Eastleigh some eight miles away. They could scarcely get to the parish church and Mass was celebrated only on rare occasions in one of the public houses of the village.
When Father Moreton died in January
ol this year, he left behind a flourishing Catholic community some four hundred
and fifty strong. Harry Moreton was born in Worcestershire in 1904 and was
received into the Catholic Church at the age of seventeen. Feeling the call
to the missionary priesthood, he joined the seminary of the White Fathers
in Belgium and then went on to North Africa to finish his studies. He was
ordained priest on June 11th 1938, and went to Uganda where he spent several
On his return to the British Isles he worked in most of the White Fathers' Houses up and down the country. Parochial work in the Scottish Borders gave him a useful insight into the administration of a rural parish and helped prepare him for the work of parish priest of Bishop's Waltham where he laboured so zealously for over four and a half years until his death after an operation at the Chest Hospital, Southampton on Tuesday, January 26th. All who met Father Moreton were struck by his kindnes, and sympathetic understanding. He was always ready to help those in need, even when considerable inconvenience was caused to himself.
As all his friends knew, his heart was set on building a worthy parish church for the Catholics of the area and he worked very hard for the realization of this plan. Sadly enough, he did not live even to see the work begun. By the death of Father Moreton, the Priory lost a good priest, and the parish a friend and kind father.
May he rest in peace
OUR JUBILARIAN Harry Moreton
Taken from The Pelican, 1963 lent to us by Mike Byrne
Harry Moreton was born into a non-Catholic family in 1904. Leaving school at thirteen, he worked at a pithead and later in a motor car factory. At the age of twenty, he decided that God called him to the Catholic faith and the missionary priesthood. His studies began at the training centre for late vocations at St Michael's, Glossop in Derbyshire, from where he went to the White Fathers' seminary of philosophy in Belgium and was finally ordained priest at Carthage on 11th June, 1938.
As a priest he has worked in Uganda for seven years and .in various houses of the British Province, devoting himself particularly to the formation of missionary brothers.
Three years ago he came as a parish priest to Bishop's Waltham where the fruits of his unflagging zeal are abundantly evident. The parish has grown in numbers and vitality and has great plans for the future. His kindness and genuine sympathy have most certainly contributed largely to his success.
Twenty-five years have passed since his ordination: indeed a milestone in his priestly life. We congratulate him on the occasion of his Silver Jubilee, thank God for his years of labour and service, and wish him Ad multos annos.
Murphy 1948 2001
(source: Mike Ellis)
The Melrose House outing to Largs on the Ayrshire coast, May 1961.
Fr John Conway, Andy Murphy and John Mattock on the boat to Rothesay.
Andrew died of cancer on June 18th 2001. Robbie Dempsey was a friend and contemporary of Andrew's during his time with the White Fathers and writes : "News of Andrew's death is a great shock to me and those of us who knew him down through the years in the 60's at St Columba's, The Priory and Blacklion. I had hoped to meet up again."
The following is a very brief resumé,
which will no doubt be extended at a later date as the news reaches other
Andrew, who was originally from Dumbarton, attended both St Columba's (1960-62) and The Priory (1962-67). This was followed by a year at Blacklion (1967-68) and a degree taken at Oxford University. He then joined joined the Marketing Department of 3M in London for a while. Following this he took up an appointment with Merrill Lynch as a broker, again in London. After some years of working in the City, he joined Morgan Stanley International Bankers and moved to Abu Dhabi.
In the early 80's he returned to the UK and worked with his brother Gerard in property development. Gerard eventually left to take up other interests and Andrew continued the business until his death.
Andrew was married with 2 children and lived in Harpenden where he is buried.
A brief search of the website reveals the following relating to Andrew:
Histories section, Page 17: Photo of him as a member of The Priory First XI Football Team 1964/5
Histories section, Page 23: The article "Mid-term in Blunt's Yard" which he wrote
Photos in the Gallery section: Pages 19, 20, 59, 60
May he rest in peace
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