Page 15, 20th May 1938

20th May 1938
Page 15
Page 15, 20th May 1938 — of Persons And Places

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A Roving Causerie

By G. E. ANSTRUTHER When Major Astor spoke at Dover College for the opening of the new science building, he did so in a hall redolent of monastic associations. Dover Priory has given its name to a railway station near by, a station with which few cross-Channel passengers will have anything to do. More than the name remains, however, for the visitor's interest; for part of the priory buildings are incorporated in the college. An ancient building thought to have been the guest house is now the college chapel, and there is a substantial part left of the gatehouse and its flanking walls. But the most important of the buildings that have come down to our own time is the refectory: it was here that Major Astor discharged his task.

The sixteenth century inventory made for the Dissolution described the fine hall at Dover as " the Vawf where the monks do dyne." While they dyned, those religious, if so minded, may have gazed at a fresco, on their wall, of the Last Supper, one of the earliest examples of such mural work in England. When photographed about 1850, this picture was fairly distinct, even though the refectory had been for two hundred years used as a barn for farm produce; but since then the figures have become only just discernible. But Time, in this, has perhaps given the Dover fresco a kindlier fate than that which has overtaken Da Vinci's work near Milan, where more than one repainting has left practically nothing of the Master's hand beyond the design.

Abbeyfeale, where the Geraldines built their fortress castle to command the pass of the river, will long hold the memory of a remarkable woman, Nellie Doody, whose body lies in the cemetery at Templeglantine, near which place is St. Bridget's Well. In what was Nellie Doody remarkable? In a sanctity which marked her out, among the people of West Limerick, as a very heroine of constancy in devotion. " An unknown soldier of Christ " was what the priest called her who recently committed her poor body to the grave; but though unknown to most outside her own parts, this saintly Irishwoman was well known to hundreds of Limerick Catholics.

A sketch in the Limerick Leader allows us a glimpse of Nellie Doody's life in these latter years, when age and impaired health had long ago ended her days as a farm worker. Her substance was scanty and she knew much also of voluntary fasting. Her waking hours were spent either in prayer in the church at Abbeyfeale. or in making pilgrim journeys to various holy wells and other spots in Ireland associated with religious observance. Her life, day by day, was wholly given, it would seem, to the pursuit and practice of pious exercises and works for God. In an Island of Saints there is always room for one more.

The Benchers of Gray's Inn are a kindly body, and they have placed their historic hall at the disposal of the Catholic Prisoners' Aid Society for its annual meeting. Those who attend that gathering will be attracted there in the interests of the society and the prisoners; yet they can be forgiven if they let attention wander, now and then, to the meeting-place itself, for it is not every day that we find ourselves invited to one of the Inns of Court.

Gray's Inn Hall has less celebrity than that of the Middle Temple; but it is senior in age, by a year or two, having regard to the time when the respective builders took their tasks in hand, and its honest and interesting roof, if less elaborate, has merits that are worth more than a glance. Moreover, if we are to associate Shakespeare with the Middle Temple Hall, on account of the first production there of Twelfth Night, we must bring his genius also into the hall of Gray's Inn, where the Comedy of Errors had a first staging seven years earlier. Another comedy of errors, by its terms, has found periodical favour in the hall—a toast of honour to " the glorious pious, and immortal memory of Queen Elizabeth." in whose reign a Catholic Prisoners' Aid Society would have found plenty of work to do.

Opportunities for pleasant diversity connect themselves with the old school tie, but the old school name rarely lends much to the imagination. " Amplefordians," " Old

Johannians," " 0 I d Wimbledonians," " Vaughanians "—these and the like show that our Catholic schools have their share of the handicap. The " Mountaineers" have better success, since their title both preserves the link with Mount St. Mary's and points to aspiring efforts in the Old Boys.

But a still happier, and certainly a more significant choice, belongs to Buckinghamshire. Stowe, which has lately taken to itself Friends, is engaged in turning out Old Stoics. Who among us, calling to mind schooldays with occasionally need for physical endurance in the master's room, will doubt that such a title as this serves both memory and satisfaction? A remark in The Times, by the way, that trustees of the new fund include " a number of Stoics and fathers of Stoics and the Archbishop of York," sounds a little hard on Dr. Temple. It is all right to keep Mr. Lewisham apart from Love, but if put to it his Grace of York would doubtless be able to prove himself as stoical as the rest of them!

Boulogne will henceforth hold a new interest for pilgrims from this side of the Channel. The great statue of Britannia will be there to remind them of Home, sweet home and of more serious things. Returning. they will do well not to invoke at that uplifted arm the ruling of the waves, for

to' divert the mind from the havoc which their present condition witnesses.

The secular buildings of the Monastery remain, however, and so the streets of the town are enriched by the fine buildings, the Abbey Barn, the Abbots' Kitchen, the Tribunal, and the Pilgrimmes' Inn where the Abbot's guests were lodged.

Obscure .and Humble Church

Not many miles from Glastonbury the great Abbey of Downside has arisen to carry on the work and traditions of the old Benedictine Abbey, but in Glastonbury itself the Church is humbly and obscurely housed—perhaps a happy omen, since the Nativity took place in a stable, and the past grandeur of Glastonbury sprang out of a tiny wattle chapel. Will history repeat itself, and the present humble building which Our Lord has made His home in Glastonbury pave the way for a renewal of the Church's glorious witness there during the Age of Faith?

The dominating feature of the landscape of Central Somerset is the tower-crowned hill of Glastonbury, rising almost sheer from the midst of the plain, and making a landmark for miles around. Here it was that the Abbot of Glastonbury with his two companions suffered martyrdom rather than deny his faith, and here it is that English Catholics (since the Abbey itself is in alien hands) gather to pay their homage, and give a public expression of their devotion to these English martyrs, and to make their public act of faith in a great shrine of the Faith, which for Englishmen is surely a Holy Place.

Reviving History As the pilgrims to Glastonbury gather on the Tor. and march together through the streets, the pages of history are turned back, the " glories of Glastonbury " are revived, and another link is forged with those days when the church stood intact, the Holy Sacrifice was offered on its altars, and throughout its boundaries the great " work of God " was carried on, while it is hoped and prayed that another step forward has been taken on the road that leads to the resurrection of Glastonbury as a great witness to the vitality of the Catholic faith.

Successful Bristol Mission

The fortnight's mission just concluded in the Franciscan Church at Bristol by the Rev. Raymond O'Flynn and the Rev. John Garvin, D.D., Ph.D., of the Catholic Missionary Society, was an outstanding success.

Many non-Catholics helped to make up the large congregations that attended each evening. The Question Box was very popular. On the closing night of the mis

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