Marist Fathers’ Novitiate,
Private Bag,
Palmerston Nth.
Sun. 21st Dec. ’69.

Dear Mum & Dad,

This is probably the last letter I’ll write from this address – only two weeks left today.

Now to continue the exciting story of the flea hunting. I thought they’d gone – cleaned my room, etc. etc. Went down all the seams of my pants, etc. But they have returned. Found 1 flea entrapped in the wool of my blankets. Two days ago found 3 fleas in my pants, & 2 flea on the floor of my room; yesterday found one flea in my shirt. This comes to a grand total of 7 fleas killed. Apart from that, have seen 8 more, but missed them. They move so fast & have very hard shells, which makes them hard to kill. They also have regular eating times:- Breakfast is had during morning prayers & meditation, and tea is had during Night Prayers. Which makes it rather difficult in catching them while they are actually eating. I hope they are got rid of by the time we go to Camp, because to take fleas to Camp would be a catastrophe. The end.

Thank Helen for typing out the Will. We send it to the Provincial Archives in Wellington.

Fr. Bennett arrived back from Futuna yesterday. The Retreats he gave went well. Also saw Fr. Delaney who was asking after Tony & Rick.

This morning 6 of us gave impromptu speeches. We had to make announcements before the Sermon. Murray Cox was asking the people to make a retreat at Futuna. Tim McCann had to encourage people to encourage vocations, Tony O’Connor blew up the Congregation because only 6 people turned up to the last C.C.D. Meeting. Rob. Devlin got up and scratched his head and laughed! but he did manage to say that if people didn’t patronize the Schools the 1st XI would probably lose this Xmas. I had to ask people to come to the Parish Mission next Weekend; & John Owens got up & blew the congregation sky high for not patronizing the Parish Library: - “Only 6 people use it & they’re all old cronies.”

Tomorrow is the Feast Day of Francie’s Patron – or one of them – St Frances Cabrini. We have just finished reading her life in the dining room. Died in Chicago U.S.A. in 1917. So she is reasonably modern (In your life time anyway!) Which reminds me that Br. Walter at Silverstream (97 years) was born before St. Theresa of Lisieux so he is very proud of the fact. Not bad actually considering that she died at 24 yrs. & is considered the greatest saint of modern times.

As you’ve probably guessed. There is no news this week!

Today’s Mass went alright. Only 3 left.

We go into Retreat on Friday Night (26th) & have a Conge on Friday. Christmas is on Thursday I believe! We have 3 Masses. Profession is after the Credo at the 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday 4th January 1970. I don’t know if the acting-Provincial will be coming or not.

I think I told you that the new Superior General is a Frenchman – Fr. Dumortier. Fr. O’Brien from Timaru who is over at the General Chapter was elected Assistant, which is very big time. Two other N.Zers are stepping down from the job – Frs. Bell & Simon Burke.

Can’t think of any more news. Tim Donoghue said that his father was pretty well. You wouldn’t think that he was given a month to live last Easter!

See you on 6th & 7th January.

Love from

P.S. All our envelops are doubled.

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