Busman's Holiday for `Auxiliary' leader
MISS VIOLET NEVILE
("it rhymes with devil" she tells me, disarmingly) whom 1 met while she was in London last week, has just finished a short visit to this country during which she has had what amounts to a busman's holiday.
She is a vice-President of the International Catholic Auxiliaries, and, although English born, she now works in the Auxiliaries headquarters in Brussels.
During her visit—the first for about 18 months—she has given talks to various schools about the work of the auxiliaries and has found a "great potential" interest among young girls for her type of work.
Since the auxiliaries were founded almost 25 years ago, they have gone from strength to strength, and now have some 250 women of over 20 nationalities working in 17 different countries.
The Auxiliaries, she tells me, emphasise the need for professionally-trained lay missionaries. and train many of them at the International Centre in Brussels before sending them into the field. Girls usually join between the ages of 18 and 30, and are offered the chance of fulfilling a truly religious vocation while at the same time living and working in the heart of the layman's world.
Slip of the tongue
WHEN on May 17, I gave a Polish seminary's address as "Bratislava", I little knew what I was letting myself in for. Mr. Francis Knowles, writing from Oxford, remarks gently that this affords the opportunity to indulge in some "textual criticism" and goes on to demolish my error with bolts of erudite lightning.
Bratislava, he points out, is in Czechoslovakia, and is the city the Germans know as Pressburg, some few miles due east of Viemsa. He thinks there is a Catholic seminary there, but in his own experience of Czechoslovakia, he says, the Faith is being practised there "under the severest of circumstances."
At the foot of the item (which was about Polish seminarians who were anxious to correspond with other seminarians in Latin) I gave part of the address as "Wroctow". This, Mr. Knowles says, should have been WROCLAW, with the "L" crossed rather like a "t". The confusion arose from the fact that the Latin for Wroclaw is Bratislava. So there are two Bratislava's, but one of them isn't, if you know what I mean.
Anyone who has struggled this far and still wants to write to Polish seminarians in Latin, should write to Francisick Glod, Pl. Kateldrany 17, WROCLAW, Poland, crossing the "1" in "Glod" as well as that in "Wroclaw" like a "t". And if he dots that much he deserves a reply.
THIS week I have been a parttime schoolmaster. Sister Mary, of St. Joseph's Convent, Broad Oak, Reading, was so taken with the heading on our main vocations article "Are priests and religious really necessary?" that she asked one of her classes to write essays on it.
She then sent me the' results which are, she says, "untouched, and unhelped by a teacher". All are by girls between 14 and 15.
It wasn't easy to choose between them, and there is an awe-inspiring array of doctrine and dogma drawn up to confound anyone tempted to answer the question in the negative. But, at the risk of being controversial, I would say that Julia RacsterSzostak's thoughtful essay has it by a short head.
In case Sister Mary thought otherwise, it is only fair to add that the CATHOLIC HERALD is not to be regarded as infallible.
INFALLIBILITY, too, is a major problem for Fr. Louis Stubbs, editor of the Southern Cross, South Africa's Catholic newspaper, who called to see me the other day. As his paper is actually owned by the hierarchy, he says, it has to be very careful to ensure that anything it prints is not going to give offence to the people who think that it is an infallible mouthpiece of the Church.
One reader wrote in, Fr. Stubbs said, to enquire anxiously whether it was sacrilegous to use back numbers to cover pantry shelves.
Any expression of ordinary, fallible opinion in the paper, he says, has to be clearly labelled as such in order to avoid possible difficulties. In spite of these handicaps, however, the paper is flourishing with a circulation of some 18.000.
It also has distribution prob lems that make ours seem petty by comparison. Some copies have to be delivered to churches over 1,500 miles away along a singletrack railway threatened by floods and every other form of natural disaster.
Fr. Stubbs' office, he tells me, is vertically over that of Archbishop McCann of Capetown, who is also a former editor of the paper. He assures me that this docsn't affect his editorial policy.
STUART MACDONALD, a Manchester art lecturer, is to have a hook on the history of Middleton's Hopwood Hall and on the life of Cardinal Langley published next week, after some four years of extensive research among old documents, manuscripts and records.
One of the most interesting features about Hopwood Hall, I understand, is that it belonged to the same family for over 500 years. Robert Hopwood, an early member of the family, was a Catholic priest, but later the family renounced the faith, and Edmund Hopwood, known as "the Puritan" prayed, in his will, that the Hopwood Estate should be preserved for ever from all "Popery".
But the wheel turned full circle. A descendant of Edmund's, Cecilia Hopwood, who died not very long ago, became a convert and gave Hopwood Hall to the Church. it was opened by the Christian Brothers as a Teacher Training College in 1947.
Dry rot strikes
IGHCLIFFE CASTLE, in Hampshire, I am sorry to hear, has been attacked by dry rot, that scourge of many old and beautiful buildings. This castle has been a Claretian seminary since 1953, and now houses some 30 students.
Many famous people have visited it since it was built by Lord Stuart de Rothcsay, including King Edward VII, King George V and Queen Mary, as well as Kaiser Wilhelm.
The 60-foot high Great Hall has now been remodelled to serve as a college chapel, and is dominated by an impressive shrine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Among its treasures, the castle numbers ancient stone carvings and tracery from Jumieges Abbey, Louis XV panelling, and many fine examples of 16th century stained glass and Renaissance sculpture.
The dry rot, I am glad to say, is in the process of being banished, but the bills remain,
Up for the Cup
ONE priest who was certainly cheering on Manchester United at Wembley last Saturday is Mgr. Canon William Sewell of St. John's, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester.
Mgr. Sewell is a consistent supporter of the club, and a friend of the manager, Matt Busby.
Matt is not the only person connected with the team who is a Catholic. he tells me. As many as seven of the players who have turned out for the club's first team are Catholics, as is the assistant manager, Jimmy Murphy, who also manages the Welsh International team as well.
READERS interested in tracing the historical aspects of the Church in this country could hardly do 'better than visiting the restored shrine of Our Lady of Caversham.
This attractive shrine has never become widely known or cornmercialised, although it was famous in pre-reformation days. The present statue of Our Lady, in dark oak, is of unknown European origin, but was probably made in the 16th century after the original statue was stripped of its jewels by followers of Thomas Cromwell and burnt in 1538.
The shrine is in St. Anne's church, about half a mile from the Thames and in very pleasant surroundings. It was restored in 1959.
ANOTHER Catholic monument which has not yet, unfortunately, been fully restored is Wardour Church in Wiltshire. the subject of a recent radio appeal by Sir Compton MacKenzie. Built in the 1770's by the Arundel( family, it is one of the glories of the West Country and there is no Catholic church of that date, and of the same class, existing in England.
Now a £30,000 appeal is being launched to preserve the fabric of the church and to set up a reasonable reserve for the future. Sir Compton will be glad to acknowledge donations addressed to him at the Midland Bank, Shaftesbury, Dorset.