A very interesting experiment has recently been tried in Italy. They have made a film based on the life of St. Catherine of Siena, and it is proving a popular box-office attraction.
In Germany a very serious crisis has arisen. The Catholics are uniting to defend their schools, and the right to have their children educated in Catholic schools. This is a most important question, and one which is vital to all Catholic children. Soon we shall know the result of the decisions of Catholics in Germany, but in the meantime we can help them with our prayers.
One of the most urgent problems in England today is what is known as the lousiug Problem. There are not enough houses big enough and cheap • enough for an ordinary-sized family I with not much money to live in, and there are very many problems to be faced before people in England will have proper houses.
Most of the delegates for the Eucharistic Congress have by now arrived in Manira. Cardinal Dougherty, the Papal Delegate to the Conference, has done a great deal of work on the voyage, and at every port he has blessed churches and seen many people.
When the river Thames or one of our English rivers overflow, we think it is a very serious matter. It certainly is very unpleasant, and a great deal of damage is done. Yet I wonder what we would think of the floods in America? The river Ohio has burst its banks and flooded an area almost as big as England and Wales together. Nearly half a million people have been driven from their homes, and some of them have lost everything they possessed.
Besides this, there is great danger of disease because they cannot get fresh water to drink.
During these times of national disaster it is very often the amateur wireless operators who keep the devastated areas in touch with the outside world. They call themselves " hams," and they have done some very wonderful work.
Here is an example. In 1933, there was a bad earthquake in California which injured over four thousand people and completely destroyed all the commercial wirelesses and telephones. The relief forces could do nothing until they got into touch with the danger zone. It happened that a schoolboy had just set up a station near the sea. When everybody else fled to the hills he stuck to his post and got through to the outside world!
After this more amateurs got their stations going, and co-operated for a whole week with the army, the police, and the red cross in their relief work. One man kept his station going for fourteen solidhours, by hanging on to his receiver and his transmitter with both hands as each earthquake shock rocked his house, Now all the " hams " in America form part of a huge organised system, and their work has reached heights of heroism many times; it has also been the means of saving endless lives.
A Strange Will The other day I read a book called Talks About Books and Authors, by W. L. Phelps, and I came across a very curious will. It is supposed to have been made by a man who died in a poorhouse without a penny in the world; and yet he had something very beautiful to leave. He writes: " I devise to children the banks of the brooks and the golden sands beneath the waters thereof, and the odours of the willows that dip therein, and the white clouds that float high over the giant trees. And leave the children the long, long days to be merry in, in a thousand ways, and the night and the train of the Milky Way to wonder at . . .
" I devise to boys . . . all the useful idle fields and commons where ball may be played, all pleasant waters where one may swim, . and all streams and ponds where one may fish . And all meadows, with the clover blossoms and butterflies thereof; the woods with their beauty; the squirrels and the birds and the echoes and strange noises, and all distant places, which may be visited, together with the adventures there found."
You see, he had something to leave after all.
Chivalry and Lent
Next Wednesday Lent begins, and I expect that many of us are not looking forward to giving up things we like. Yet this is really not the way to think about Lent, and it certainly isn't the way the Church thinks of it. If we look at the liturgy for this season we are struck at once by the insistence on joy—," As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing," says St. Paul. This is one of the characteristics of Lent; another, I think, is the spirit of chivalry and bravery. It begins on Septuagesima Sunday with that marvellous epistle of St. Paul comparing the Christian to an athlete. We have all heard of boxers and footballers going into training for their fight. The prize for which we are fighting is incorruptible, so we must go into training too, if we are to win in our " fight against the spirits of wickedness," as the Liturgy for Ash Wednesday puts it.
A Frozen Stork About a fortnight ago some people
found in a field a stork completely frozen in ice. Even its beak could not be opened. They took it to a barn near by, and began thawing it again. The stork gradually unfroze, and it is now making a rapid recoveiy.
Candlelight Tales, by Allison Tinley. (Faber, 65.) The old stories are the best, and here are myth and folk legend and traditional fairy tale, the ones that time and taste have selected as our favourites, retold with ingenuity and understanding.
Miss Uttley has all the art and the charm of the storyteller. Her tales have magic that will bind young listeners in the spell of the enchanted land of bedtime stories.
These are quaintly modernised, and are sufficiently up-to-date to please the " After 1930's."
Some More Questions
I. What is soap made of?
2. Who first invented aeroplanes?
3. Which is the earliest tree to come out?
4. What is a fugue?