Even though we weren't supposed to "talk to the Brothers",
Br. Anthony Cunningham was a fellow novice. I used to sneak down sometimes and milk the cows for him.
Our band's nickname for Br. Anthony was "Proper" because everything was "A Proper Bastard".

Marist Fathers’ Novitiate,
Private Bag,
P. Nth.
Sat. 22nd Feb. ’69.

Dear Mum & Dad,

I have cordially invited the whole band to Francie’s 21st. However, owing to the financial situation of everyone they have all regretfully declined!

Last Tuesday we had a Conge. It rained a lot of the time but we had a haybarn to stay in.

Fr. Bennett arrived back from his holiday last week but then went to bed. He appeared in class for the first time today.

We have had quite a few visiting Fathers recently. Frs. Mills, Delaney & Mannix have all called in. Bishop Styvenberg from the Solomons gave us a talk last Sunday on some of his mission adventures. Fr. Fisher (from Hastings Parish) will be staying here for the next six or so weeks because he has to go to Palmerston every day for treatment of cancer.

Bro, Joachim (the farm manager) is on holiday at the moment, & Bro. Bede (a farm helper) has put his back out. However, there are other Brothers who can take over. You asked about the hay. They got about 6,000 bales I think, but lost all their grass seed with the rain. They still have several paddocks of barley to harvest.

The dairy cows you asked about – we have only 3 house cows! Which the Brothers milk. (Usually a Novice-Brother, that is, one who is a Novice like us, but destined to be a brother. There are two of them – Bros. Martin & Anthony). They have only a few sheep for eating. All the rest of the farm is cattle, except for the pigs which aren’t fed on dairy milk, but on the barley I mentioned before. Brother Bernard has a lot of Muscovy ducks which we have on feast days.

Exams are next week, followed by our 10 day retreat (called the Purgative Retreat in which we never speak).

I think I may have mentioned that Robert Devlin’s pet hawk died. We had a solemn Sung Requiem (during recreation ) on Tuesday, & then the burial. However, he thanks you for congratulating him on catching it. (It is called “Harrier Mark I” to distinguish it from the many others he is going to catch!)

Tony Solomone caught a rabbit this morning, so we cooked it over a fire and ate it this afternoon. Tony O’Connor said to tell you that the only thing he seems to be able to catch is a cold! It has been very cold the last few mornings, but the weather has been brilliant during the day. It rained all the time during the first half of the week.

Kerry Maher almost burnt the Book-Binding room down by trying to melt some floor polish over the element. It all burst into flames. However, everything turned out all right, & now he has the job of trying to scrap a whole tin of polish off the concrete path.

Dave Latu & Tim Donoghue extracted honey from the hives this afternoon. They got 300lbs today & have about another 200 to get. I think it will be sold.

The roses are going off a bit now, but they may come out again later.

Well, I think that that is all the news. Sorry for the lack of “news” but nothing much changes from day to day around here.

Love from

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