Page 6, 18th July 2008

18th July 2008
Page 6
Page 6, 18th July 2008 — LIVES REMEMBERED

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Locations: Rome, Edgbaston


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Nicole Patricia Goodwin Hall was born on February 7,1941, and died on July 8,2008.

Nicole Patricia Goodwin Hall was a tireless lay Catholic, wife and mother, who founded the Centre International d'Etudes Liturgiques in Britain (GEL UK).

Although she was best known for founding CIEL UK, an academic centre for liturgical studies, in 1997, Nicole Hall also wmte a number of catechetical books for children and was involved with the Latin Mass Society and Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

Concerns about the direction of the post-Conciliar Church, especially in the realm of catechesis, prompted her to co-author a treatise on Christian education in 1978, which called for a return to traditional Catholic doctrine, stressing that Vatican II was a pastoral and not a doctrinal council.

From 1978 to 1983 Nicole was on the Latin Mass Society committee and in 1982 she gave a speech on catechetics at the inaugural meeting of Pro Ecclesia and Pontifice, an orthodox lobby group. Then in 1997 CIEL UK was bom, and Nicole was one of the three trustees of the charitable trust. The others were Christopher Newton and her husband Peter Hall.

Nicole's pluck and courage brought her into all sorts of interesting situations. In 1988, troubled by the excommunication of the four Lefebvrist bishops and the future of the traditional Mass for those in communion with Rome. she bluffed her way into meeting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was then the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Her husband Peter was planning a business trip which included a stopover in Rome and she joined him. Nicole rang the Vatican from her hotel room, using her rudimentary Italian to procure a French speaker. She asked whether Cardinal Ratzinger had returned, based on the guess that he would have been somewhere, and booked an appointment for 10.30 pm that morning. Her meeting with the future Pope went well and she asked turn whether there was any way that the traditional Latin Mass could have parity with the Novus Ordo. In an article for The Catholic Herald, she described the encounter "I was left to reflect on the man who is now Pope Benedict XVIA could add from personal experience that in addition to his intellectual stature, he was a very patient listener. humble, pastoral. humorous, kind. courteous, intuitive, sensitive — even vulnerable — and that he valued the individual. however lowly. Years and many cardinals later, I wondered why I had been so nervous at meeting this gentle man."

Another moment when her sheer nerve paid off was when she was organising CIF_L's 2003 Mass and conference. Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan had just been consecrated a bishop by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos and became the world's only official Old Rite bishop after the death of Bishop Licinio Rangel. Using a combination of French, Spanish and basic Portuguese, Nicole rang Brazil and was able to arrange for the bishop to celebrate Mass at the conference.

An ardent Catholic who devoted herself to her family and the movement for the restoration of old liturgy, Nicole (or Nicky, as she was known) was born in Edgbaston to Bryan and Jo Turk in the middle of an air raid on February 17, 1941. Her mother's labour had gone too far for her to be moved and they could not go to an air raid shelter. Later. the parents discovered that Nicole had a congenital heart condition.

Liturgy, to which she would give much of her attention in later life, was an early passion for Nicole, who at the age of two would go to Mass with her mother and experience great joy during the Elevation, when she would peek between her fingers to watch the priest raise the Host and the chalice.

The faith of her childhood, both at home and in primary school at the Holy Child Convent, Edgbaston, informed her life. Her school years at the Farnborough Hill School, which she attended from 1952 and 1958, were formative, shaping the way she thought catechesis should be conducted.

On May 9 1964 Nicole married her husband Peter. The couple had two children. Dominic, who was born on February 20, 1965, and Amanda. born on June 26, 1967. Nicole had five grandchildren and assisted at the birth of the fifth grandchild earlier this year. When Felicity was born, Nicole looked into her granddaughter's open eyes and sang "Entre les etoiles", a song she had sung for all her grandchildren. From Granny with Love, a series of books written by Nicole. was inspired by her grandchildren.

Her daughter Amanda said: "Mummy was an ardent Catholic and an ardent traditionalist. Both were inseparable parts of her character and were born out of the great happiness of her childhood. She was never one to hide her light under a bushel but took great joy in talking about her faith and her interest in liturgy and the traditions in the Church. It was not that she proselytised, in an earnest missionary way. but that great pleasure that Catholicism was to her just bubbled out of her in her conversation."

Nicole retired as a trustee of CIEL UK in 2004, when she developed cancer, but the organisation she brought to life in Britain continues to thrive. A major operation later that year seemed to give her the all-clear, but she suffered a relapse. During her illness she showed remarkable fortitude despite the pain she suffered from the disease and the tivatment. She kept writing until the last months, when her illness overtook her. She died on July 8 2008, one year and one day after the publication of the Mom Proprio liberalising the traditional form of the Mass.

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