THE BRILLIANT painter of village life, Bladford Fletcher, died just 50 yeas ago. His only surviving daugter Rosamund still lives in (xford and has recently publisbd an excellent visual "life" other great father in booklet fora She herself is an accomplishei sculptress.
Fletcher was n extraordinary man who rejectd almost every aspect of his scid middle-class, Non-Conformit background. He studied art irst in London, but his formaive years were spent in Antwrp, whence he travelled widely His conversict to Catholicism isolated him fm his former friends, sonithing which happened mon readily before the first war thn would be the
He was, on might say, a martyr to the case of art, from whose more patful side effects he tried to protct his daughter Rosamund. Bu art triumphed over the melacholy side of Fletcher's natur and he allowed her to continueler studies until she became, as mentioned, highly successft in the world of sculpture.
Rural, and 4pecially village life, attracted Fltcher most, and in this field he ias few peers in the last centur; One can only hope that this ew booklet will inspire a revivabf interest in his unique and semtive work.
In praise of Bus
A recent book aunch in Essen, Germany, las provided something of E sensation. The book is called 3ius XII, Peace and Justice, an is made up of speeches and 'fitings by well known politicans, historians and others.
At the lauthing the well known Jewin theologian, Pinchas Lapie, contradicted the often heardtheory that Pius XII largely abatdoned the Jews during the Naryears.
Lapide descned himself as a practising Jew f the Auschwitz generation and:ould vouch for the fact that tuler Pius Xll's pontificate at 14st 700,000 were rescued frmi National Socialism.
Victim of Nadsm
There were, c' course, many non-Jewish vitims of Nazi concentration :amp brutality. One was Fr la° Neururer an Austrian Friest .wh.ose beatification pocess has just been completec The diocese of Innsbruck has now forwarded the papers to Rnne.
The Nazis set Fr Neururer to Dachau wher( he advised a young womannot to marry a divorced stontrooper in a register office.For this he was sent to Buchervald.
There he continued his pastoral work )ut was accused of being a prosctyser and a spy, On May 30, NO, he was hung alive upside dcvn and tortured to death.
1987 contains many notable anniversaries onnected with towns and/or houses which suggest interestlg opportunities for visits durir; the year. The Shires—Derbyshire, Leicestershire Lincolnshire, Northamptinshire and Nottinghamstre—look like being a partularly fruitful area.
June sees the 500th anniversary of the Battle of East Stoke, near Newark (Nottinghamshire) where an army under the personal command of Henry VII defeated claimant-to-the-throne Lambert Simnel. This was the last of all the battles in the Wars of the Roses. The anniversary will be commemorated by special events, including jousting and tournaments, between June 12 and 21 and an actual reenactment of the battle on June 21.
Bradgate House in Leicestershire will be particularly worth visiting in the anniversary year (450th) of the birth of the nine day Queen, the tragic Lady Jane Gray. She was born there in 1537 and beheaded on Tower Hill in 1554.
Fabulous Burgleigh House near Stamford in Lincolnshire will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of its completion. Undoubtedly one of the country's finest Elizabethan Houses.
Most notable of all will be the 400th anniversary of the execution of Mary Stuart at Fotheringhay near Oundle in Northamptonshire. The East Midlands Tourist Board (Exchequergate, Lincoln) can give details of all these events and many more.
But Fr David Woodard (of 10 Stoke Hill, Oundle, Peterborough) sends news of special interest for Catholics with regard to this particular anniversary. Mass will be offered for Mary Queen of Scots, at the church of Our Lady and All Saints, Fotheringhay, on Sunday February 8 at 3.00 pm. All will be welcome but Fr Woodard would like to get an idea of how many to expect. (Tel. 0832 72615).
Vocations to the Benedictine order are no longer on the decrease. This is shown in the latest edition of the five-yearly Catalogue of Benedictine Monks throughout the world. This and many other items and articles of great interest are to be found in the 1987 edition o f t he Benedictine Yearbook.
One is by the learned editor, Fr Gordon Beattie OSB, who can speak with authority about Benedictine hospitality in many parts of the world.
Continental monasteries are particularly noted for the warmth of their welcomes. In Germany the Ottilien Congregation are outstanding in this regard, with pride of place perhaps going to the Ottilien house of Konigsmunster at Meschede in the Sauerland.
"The vitality and warmth of that congregation," reports Fr Beattie, "is infectious: so much so that the community itself is increasing in leaps and bounds with vocations knocking at the doors."
90 years of joy
Congratulations to Olga Eyston on becoming 90 years young last month. She must forgive my mentioning the fact in print but so many of her many friends and relations have expressed a desire to give her some small public token of affection that I could hardly refuse.
Olga has attracted love and affection all through her long life of constant cheerfulness and unbounded generosity of spirit coming surely, from the kind of faith that is based on eternal hope and optimism.
Her marriage united two very
old Catholic families, the Lyres and the Eystons, for her husband was the famous racing motorist, George Eyston, who for some years was the fastest man on earth.
Personally I have seldom met anyone more truly lovable than Olga nor anyone who has managed, in small ways as well as big ones, to bring joy into the life of others.
The new Archbishop of Vienna, Dr Hans Hermann Groer, is a very different person from his illustrious predecessor, Cardinal Koenig. He will have an uphill task in winning over his flock to what seems at the moment to be a less adventurous and dynamic approach to the faith.
But he has made a good beginning by sending out Christmas cards to all the householders in this diocese. This must have been quite a task.
He has done this as a sign of unity and in each card he asked the recipient to open his door to the Christ child in whatever guise he might happen to appear.
A good way to approach another new year.