At the Mt. Stewart Memorial
Dave Latu & John Owens

Sat. 21st June ’69.

Dear Mum & Dad,

Thanks for the soutane. Thank the sisters too. It is perfect. John Lomu asked me where I got the new soutane from! Also thanks for the music & chocolate.

The retreat went off quite well. I spent most of my recreations chopping fire wood. There is a lot of it about after the Wahine storm. We had a tremendous thunder storm during retreat. I had just got into the bath to try and thaw out (actually there was no hot water!” when the lightning started. Tim Donoghue threw a note over saying his grandfather was killed by lightning while in the bath. It was just a story, but it got me out pretty quick, & was a good excuse for not having a cold bath.

I was just thinking – I hope Mrs. Smith does not write to the parents of the Tongan chaps to try to get them to write because I feel (knowing them) that they would not like it, & also that there would probably be disasters of some sort. They are quite happy as they are, but no doubt would appreciate a letter from Mrs. Smith. They receive a lot of letters from friends etc. but not many from home – which is understandable because they are all in their 20s! I thought I’d tell you just in case Mrs. Smith did write & didn’t understand the situation!!

I hope you are quite better after your day in bed, Dad – I suppose that was about 2 weeks ago now, but we have just got the mail after retreat, & so I got 3 letters & a parcel from home!

The Deacons are here at the moment (9 of them) before they are ordained in the coming weeks – including Phil Cody & Peter Lander of Otaki Maori Camp. They look quite funny in clerical suits.

Today we went for a walk to Mt. Stewart (And I saw Kapiti Island!!!!) – where that monument is to early settlers. I remember we stopped there once with a thermos of tea, but I never imagined living next to it for a year as a holy novice. Last Thursday we had a Conge and it rained! So we had it in O’Donnell’s hay barn.

Well, I think that that is all the news. Everyone is well, except Fr. O’Connor who doesn’t look very well at all. Fr. Heffernan died in Wellington recently. He was a former Provincial. Did you know him?

Love from

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