And vocation interest for all
AFAIRYLAND stand for the youngest visitors to the exhibition is that of the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul the Apostle. Like qa wonderful life-size doll's house, it shows the various works of the Community by means of beautifully dressed dolls—dolls in bed being cared for by the sisters. pigtailed dolls sitting tip at wooden desks doing their homework. "We're going to celebrate the Marian Year by starting work among the natives in South Africa," I was told.
Until now these Sisters of Charity have been devoting themselves to caring for orphans and mentally retarded children in homes in England and Ireland. Next year, it looks as if their vocations stall will be peopled with dolls from darkest Africa.
A nun's cell
THE contemplative orders are not very well represented at the exhibition, mainly because of the difficulty involved where an order is officially enclosed. However, the Discalced Carmelite nuns are a great draw with their stall devoted to a representation of a Carmelite nun's cell. The austere air, the hard bed. the atmosphere of prayer and silence are all captured in this quiet corner of the exhibition. The male Discalced Carmelites are much in evidence in the crowd, bustling backwards and forwards from their attractive stall in their brown
ANOTHER stall very popular with school boys is that of the Salesians, founded by St. John Bosco in 1869.
More than 600 boys in this country belong to a guild founded by the Salesians in honour' of that saintly school boy Blessed Dominic Savio, who is to be canonised on June 12. An enormous picture of Blessed
Dominic hangs at the side of the stall and I asked one of the Salesians— who was perched on a ladder at the time doing a last bit of paint work— to tell me something of his story.
I heard that Blessed Dominic, who died at the age of 15, will be the very first school boy to be canonised. He was educated nearly 100 years ago by Don Bosco himself and when he fell ill he wanted to stay on at school so that his master should be with him to the end. But it was thought better he should go home to die and Blessed Dominic obeyed, as he had always obeyed throughout his short life.
A spectator aged about 12 had
,crept up beside us as the story was being told and as he climbed down from his ladder the Salesian added loudly : "Blessed Dominic became a saint in the same way that any school boy can become one, by obeying his masters, keeping a cheerful spirit and doing his lessons well." As he climbed up his ladder again with a fresh tin of paint, I saw his school boy listener shrug his shoulders at a friend and make a face which said clearer than words : "How exactly like a schoolmaster!"
We shall see
ATIVE dresses, poisoned
is II tipped arrows.. all the romance and mystery of God's ministry in far-away places. • . . But does it all really result in more vocations?
I asked the Director of Vocations of one of the biggest missionary societies if there had been a big response after the exhibition at Olympia. He laughed and said: "We don't expect a result as quickly as all that. But there has been a definite awakening of interest in the religious life on the part of people both inside and outside the Church. "I should say that the immediate result of last year's exhibition was to bring more people into the Church. But give us five more years and then we'll sec what we have achieved in the way of new vocations." As he looked round again at his stall, two small girls were finding out the best way of brandishing a toma hawk. "There are your missionary nuns of tomorrow," he said, and went on to point out that nowadays a religious vocation is no longer just another way of life—something a girl might take up if she failed to marry --hut a very definite call. "Twenty years ago," he said, "a religious life was very often the only way by which a girl or boy could get a free training for a work that inter ested him or her—medicine or teaching, for example. But now it's possible to take up almost any career. That means that a call to the religious life must come from a very real interest in God and God's work."
QOME visitors to the exhibilion who were really enjoying themselves thoroughly were three small scouts who made up their minds very early on that they were going to be photographed as often as possible. They trailed the different photographers backwards and forwards through the stands and whenever a photograph was taken, there the three were, the picture of interest, in the forefront of the crowd. In each case the photographer was anxiously pursued by one or the other to find out which paper their picture would appear in.
AT 4 p.m. on Sunday the crowd was so great that an appeal had to be broadcast throughout the exhibition to anxious mothers to come and retrieve their lost toddlers from the rest room. Tart criticism of the exhibition arrangements came from a small girl with a loud voice: "Daddy. I've walked round and round and I've passed those brown nuns three times and 1 still can't find the refreshments!" For people who like mazes, the exhibition is almost too good to be true. But once you have found the refreshment tent, what an inspiring spectacle it is to see priests and nuns grimly battling for their Bath buns and mugs of tea with harassed housewives. As one bearded, sandalled friar was heard to remark to another, these Northerners really do know the right size for a cup of tea!
Credit unions help to raise families
The promotion of parish credit unions is being fostered in the United States by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to teach the principles of thrift. free parishioners from money lenders and help family life. Mission hands of the Oblates are planning to encourage the scheme in more than 1.000 parishes as an essential part of their preaching policy towards realising the Church's teaching on charity and social justice.