Context Of Conversion Story
From the Editor of the Universe.
SIR,—The letter from Mr. Alfred Noyes which you published last week contains a gross attack on the Universe which we cannot allow to go without an answer.
Mr. Noycs writes as follows:— I do not blame your correspondent for trying to impart information; but the product was hardly worthy of your pages. It was surely suited to more elementary journals, like the Universe, whose readers found adequate fodder last week under the great simple headline: " Converted by a Horse." . . By all means let those who like it be "Converted by a Horse." But the head-line should not be written by an Ass. Bunkum of that sort in the popular Catholic press plays directly into the hands of the rationalistic enemy, etc.
We agree entirely with Mr. Noyes in thinking that any headline writer who wrote such a headline would be an Ass. We must protest when he invents an idiotic headline, then attributes it to us, and makes it the basis of an attack upon the Universe which he asks you to publish. We are obliged to you for having pointed out in an editorial footnote that the headline is not what we published; but we must ask you to let your readers see the context as well as the headline.
They may well have imagined that we had published some fantastic story of a recent happening. Actually the passage occurs in a short article on our Women's Page describing the work of a congregation of nuns. It appeared as follows: HORSE KNELT, LED TO RIDER'S CONVERSION.
The Sisters of the Most Holy Sacrament
were founded by Fr. P. Vigne, a Missionary, priest of Ardeche, to assist him in his work, There is a tradition in the order that Fr, Vigno was miraculously converted by the Blessed Sacrament. He was on his way to Geneva about August 20, 1670, with the intention of becoming a clergyman.
in a lonely part he met a priest carrying the Blessed Sacrament to a sick person. lie was on horseback and refused to dismount or to offer any reverence to the Sacred Host, whereupon the horse knelt clown; he cas converted on the spot.
Instead of continuing his journey tai Geneva, he returned home and was received, into the Church and entered Tfoly Orders.
The primary object of the order is the education of the young of all classes. The sisters have also charge of the sick in largo hospitals in France and Brazil.
They visit the poor for whom they have in many places orphanages, homes for students and business girls, and other, charitable institutions.
They received the approbation of Pius
The rest of the article gives furtheo, details concerning the nuns and their work, Mr. Noyes may dislike pious legends of this • kind, but nobody asks him to believe them. Yet he must surely know that Catholic tradition has handed down tholes: sands of such stories for centuries. A distine guished writer, Miss Helen Waddell, who is not a Catholic and therefore need not be suspected of that credulity which so distresses Mr. Noyes, has recently published a charming selection of them under the title Beasts and Saints. Even the humble Ass has certain well-known associations with Christian tradition, which are not likely to be repudiated because the " ration• alistic enemy " is not impressed.
THE EDITOR, The Universe, 184, Strand, London, W.C.2.