Mt. St. Marys,
Sun. 25th Feb. ‘68

Dear Mum and Dad,

This will only be a short letter because we are supposed to write one on Sundays and it is almost bed-time.

Visitors, on March 3rd (Sun.), may come at 1.30 p.m. until 5 p.m., so Sue and Kitch are most welcome.

Today we went into Napier and saw “A Man for All Seasons.” A special showing for all the local religious! It was terrific.

How is everything at home? Is the glass-house fitted with glass yet?

We went into our soutanes yesterday, and this morning (at High Mass) we got fully dressed – surplices and birettas. Talk about not being able to wait getting into them. Early this afternoon the temperature reached somewhere in the eighties in the shade and we were in soutanes! What is more, the tight collars around our necks enclose all the air.

We have an interesting thing here on Saturday mornings (called Monition). Did I tell you? Once a fortnight each person picks another student in the Community and he watches you during those 2 weeks to see if you are unconsciously doing external things which are annoying the rest of the Community, e.g. he may tell you to not put so much in your mouth when eating, etc., etc.

Another interesting thing that happens on Saturday mornings is what they call a Sabbatine or Sab. All the students & fathers go into a large study. The Rector sits down at the back and calls the name of a theologian, i.e. a 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th year student. The student has to get up and discuss non-stop for ¼ of an hour what he learnt in theology that week. After the first theologian is physically exhausted and everyone else is asleep, the name of a Philosopher (1st and 3rd year students) is called out. He also has to get up and talk for ¼ of an hour. It really makes you learn – especially if your name has not been called out till the end of the year.

We have a visiting speech teacher, Mr Read. He is really a Breathing teacher, and also helps us with singing. This week we practised abdominal breathing – laying on the floor every night with our Gregorian Chant Books on our stomach and breathing in and out! Next week we are going to learn another type of breathing!

Another job I do here is the Mission Society. It has been going for 35 years I think. I collect all the letters from Missionary priests who write, read them, summarize them, and file them away. The Mission Society came up with a rare stamp the other day. Do you remember the heath stamp several years ago with the Pied Stilt on, against a blue background. The Pied Stilt is black & white with red legs. Well this Pied Stilt was black & white with white legs. The Napier stamp expert estimated its worth as approx. £60. Unfortunately, & here’s the crux of the story, the stamp was slightly ripped in one corner & is worth nothing. The moral of the story is – don’t rip stamps when you take them off letters!

Well, that is all the news. I don’t think that there is anything I need. Thanks for the jersey and the photos. Also for the U.E. card – One of them was the correct one. The jersey fits perfectly. Don’t you think that all the photos came out good – there are a lot of very good ones of France. I don’t want any prints taken off I don’t think.

My organ playing is coming along quite well, I have my first Benediction on March 9th. I am also teaching a Samoan student how to play the piano.

Tell Leo that it is best to bring his togs inside, if he is allowed to, and to hang them on his towel rack. Otherwise people borrow them & just leave them where they step out of them.

From what I can remember I don’t recall getting a Grade VIII Music Certificate. It might pay to ask Leo to call in & ask Mrs Walls.

Mrs Walls has a nephew here. I have also discovered that in my band, besides there being an engineer, there is also an accountant, a Samoan.

Well that is all the news. Community night prayers, supper & then bed.

Love from

P.S. Bishop Pio, the first native born Bishop of Samoa, was staying here during the week. He gave us a long talk. He was a student here in 1952. He described his new appointment as an “awful job”.

P.S.S. I wrote to the Presentation Sisters today.

Go to the Next Letter
Return to the Previous Letter
Return to the Index
Glossary - opens in new page
Contact the Author