LIKE any other idealist who actually gets beyond pontificating from the armchair or the bar stool, Phyllis Bowman is a nuisance. Since the mid-sixties she has been a thorn in the side of the powerful, tightlyknit pro-abortion lobby.
One of her adversaries actually accused her of being a "secret nun". Phyllis Bowman is not a nun manque but an experienced Fleet Street freelance journalist who has long
specialised in medical journalism. She recalls: "It was the unscientific propaganda that the pro-abortionists were pushing out that first got me involved in the whole issue."
She finds that she spends two-thirds of her working time promoting, unpaid, the activities of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) through which she works closely with her friend Elspeth Rhys-Williams. She writes under her maiden name of Phyllis Court.
Phyllis Bowman's singlemindedness was shown in her secretarial days at the Evening News. She dearly wanted to he a journalist and was regarded with tolerant amusement by her bosses. When they ignored a story she had dug up and written she went round the corner. sold the story to the now defunct Star, and proudly flourished the printed version at them.
Instead of being sacked on the spot they gave her a break for her sheer cheek. It was the same streak of stubborncss that led her to work at a variety of odd jobs, including as a waitress and an artist's model, to get enough money to spend a year studying French literature at the Sorbonne.
maintaining herself by freelance writing as she studied.
The daughter of an Indian Army officer, she was brought up a Christian but later became an agnostic. Her road back to Christianity a long one • began by reading Robert Graves' celebrated studies of the Greek myths. As there were so many cross-references to the Bible she started to read it.
She recalls that when she encountered the words in the Old Testament: "I am that am," she felt "as if i had been hit in the stomach." She studied the Bible further, attending British Museum lectures on its Egyptian and Assyrian background. More reading, including Dunnc's "Experiment with Time," went on, and by her midthirties Phyllis Bowman found herself once more a Christian.
The road was not made specially easy. She waited 15 years to• marry the freelance writer Gerald Bowman who wrote the original screen play of the film classic "Hell's Angels." Only a few months after setting up home he died suddenly.
By this time she had become steadily embroiled in the battle against the Abortion Act and, persuaded by Fispeth RhysWil hams, threw herself into the battle wholeheartedly. Between them these two women have helped to rally the considerable body of non-sectarian opinion which is in favour of tidying up the virtual abortion-on-demand situation we now have in this country.
SPUC, always hard up for money. has played a large part in helping the members of St. Anne's Youth Club, Birmingham, in organising a rally
against abortion this weekend.
tary Committee on Overseas Aid and Development. While the British Government's contribution is some 15 times this total, nearly two-thirds of it is tied to the purchase of British goods and services and over half of it is in the form of loans to the poorer countries.
But private aid can provide useful support for important but small projects which are too tiny to be evaluated by the large national and multilateral aid bodies.
Also, as they have less prestige at stake. the private non-profitmak ing organisations are more ready to support experimental ventures. V.C.O.A.D. was founded in 1966 as a co-ordinating agency and as a liaison body between themselves and the official government aid programme. These are the original founder members:
The Catholic Institute for International Relations which aims to promote acceptance of international responsibility on the part of Catholic individuals and organisations, particularly with regard to developing countries. It also recruits salaried and volunteer workers for overseas.
Christian Aid, which is a department of the British
Council of Churches and is supported by the non-Catholic churches in this country. Funds are used for development projects and assistance to the world's needy, regardless of creed.
The U.K. Freedom from Hunger Campaign which began as an international appeal in 1961 with headquarters at the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organisation in Rome. The U.K. committee continued to appeal for funds until 1965 and is now concerned mainly with the allocation of funds for special projects.
The Overseas Development Institute which is an independent body directing research on problems of development and acts as a clearing house for discussion. It works to keep the urgency of the problems before the public and the authorities.
Oxfam, which began as the Committee for Famine Relief, was started by the citizens of Oxford concerned at the plight of Greek children. It was changed to Oxfam in 1965 to mark the change in emphasis from famine relief to famine prevention.
Funds support projects such as feeding, medical work, emergency relief, training and agricultural schemes, and nutrition education. Aid is channelled through various agencies.
The Save the Children Fund, which started in 1919 as an appeal for refugee children in Europe by Eglantyne Jebb. It supports residential homes, play groups and youth clubs in Britain as well as abroad.
The United Nations Association, which is largely geared at educating the public about the U.N. and Britain's charter obligations. It recruits and trains long-term volunteers and runs work camps at home and abroad in areas of need.
War on Want, which is involved with emergency relief but is mainly concerned with
development, particularly in education and agriculture. Whenever possible it works through grass-roots organisations.
New head of Stonyhurst
WHEN the English Province of the Jesuit's made the
courageous but painful decision to merge the public school of Beaumont with Stonyhurst it led to a great outcry. Hard words and letters were exchanged.
Fr. Thomas Dunphy, Si.. then Rector of Beaumont, made it clear at a Press conference at Farm Street in 1965 that the decision saddened him, but he nevertheless accepted the step with dignity.
It will therefore be all the more pleasurable to his many ex-pupils and parents to know that he has been appointed Rector of Stonyhurst. For the past two years he has been assistant to the English Jesuit Provincial. and for part of that time Vice-Provincial.
Born in Dublin in 1913, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1932 and was ordained in 1946. He taught at St. John's, the Beaumont preparatory school, for four years as a scholastic and later for a year as a priest before becoming its headmaster in 1949. In 1964 he became Rector of Beaumont.
FIVE years after ordination Fr. Felix Adeosin Job, who has just been named auxiliary to the Bishop of lbadan in Nigeria, becomes at the age of 32 the youngest bishop in the Catholic Church.
He studied at the Urban University in Rome, and for three years was a parish priest before becoming rector of the lbadan Inter-diocesan Seminary. He is a priest of the Lagos archdiocese.
G.P. takes over editor's chair
.2-0W H. REYNOLDS, a general practitioner of Newport, Monmouthshire, already has his hands full coping with his list of patients plus the duties of being local police surgeon, industrial medical officer and helping the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
His hands are going to be even fuller as he is taking over as editor of the Catholic Medical Quarterly, the organ of the Catholic doctors' organisation, the Guild of SS. Luke, Comas and Damian. His new responsibilities start with the July issue.
Dr J. G. Frost, secretary of the Guild and hitherto acting editor of the quarterly, wrote
of his successor: "He is a past Master of the Guild, and the fact that the Newport branch is among the more active and successful branches is largely due to his dedication and enthusiasm for the work and aims of the Guild."
A brother in need of land
SO strong is the urge for selfassertion in some recently independent countries there are politicians who will cheerfully cut off someone else's nose to spite their face. In India some politicians are pushing for legislation to stop Christian institutions receiving foreign aid.
St. Joseph's Boys' Home and Industrial School at Tindivanam, South Arcot, for instance, which looks after 181
poor boys, could if these plans go through find itself having to close and leave its orphans to starve.
Since it was founded by the Brothers of St. Gabriel in 1904 it has provided more than 3,000 boys with trades to give them a start in life. At the moment the small government grant per boy does not cover a quarter of the expenses and the school survives on food gifts from the United States a source which could dry up any time.
The only way out of this for the director, Bro. Oliver, is to buy 32 acres of land, to act as a permanent source of income, for £1,900. Mildred Ncvile, secretary of the Catholic Institute for International Relations, at 47 Holland Park, London, W.11, would gladly forward any donations for this work to Bro. Oliver. Until he raises this sum he is dependent on voluntary grants, with time running out.