Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why do we bother?

A friend recently asked the question 'Why do we bother?' Now it was a rhetorical question largely asked because we seem to be having a paucity of good news at the moment. Just as we seem to get our heads above water again another wave of bad news comes rolling in sending us gasping for air. Add to this the constant niggling tit-for-tat that traddies seem to be enjoying at the moment. At least they've got the 'gloves off'. Newchurch tit-for-tat is likely to be more subtle and much more destructive in the long run.  When I'm in one of these moods I tend remind myself that I've often given a retreat on the theme of surviving the Church and it's members. The final text is my first aid for most situations and can be summed up as 'Count your blessings'.

I was giving myself a dose of this morning and was looking for some old blessings to thank the Lord for. I settled on the extraordinary positive influence of three women on my life who were all, very traditional, beacons of light, and great characters. They are three of the great blessings the Lord has sent me. They've all gone to there eternal reward and I remember them as often as I can in the commemoration of the departed in the Canon of Holy Mass.

Before seminary, and whilst I was aspiring to young fogeydom, I got drawn into the circle of an Irish woman whom we shall call Mary. Her enthusiasm for the traditional faith was only equalled (well almost) by her passion for the good things in life. I can't remember any more of her particular sayings, her attitudes were generally extreme, which suited me well, but it was the notion that the faith not only could save us but we could also have a jolly good time getting there.

After I was ordained deacon a friendship with Christine became important. I'd known her for years but I got to know her a lot better visiting her in her retirement home. The daughter of a socialite artist she'd given her life over to being the housekeeper for priests. In reality I'm told she actually ran the administrative side of the parishes she worked in. When I knew her she would spend her day 'looking after the old dears' that she lived with. I should point out that she was over 90 herself at the time. As I was packing my bags getting ready to return for ordination I received a very sweet card from her. She died that day. I guess she taught me to take what God has given me and use it as best as I could.

Finally, a few years after ordination, I met an extraordinary women who had been at the centre of the traditional movement from the beginnings. Indeed I think she may have bank rolled many traditional activities in her long life. Our initial meeting was rather reserved however when I told her that I'd actually attended, as a teenager, ceremonies presided over by the Archbishop  we found a common link. She, of course, knew the Archbishop. The 'pray for the beatification' card framed on my study wall clinched the deal and we knew we could 'do' business. This great lady, shall we just call her Madame, taught me that traditionalism leaps many boundaries that it's enemies want to set up mainly in an effort to try and curb it. At the centre of her life was attending the traditional Mass and she would throw her support behind any group working to this end as long as she knew the faith was there, and being taught, as well.

It's for these three, and the thousands like them that I bother. Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.


  1. If 'Mary' was the person I think it was, and the photograph of the street in where she used to live suggests it was, then she would not be happy at all at being called Mary!

  2. I can guess who the third lady is. I am told by others who knew her that she put her "money where her mouth was" for the cause.

    As regards to the first, I will rely on Rubricarius' comment. I think she had little time for the certain head of a community of priests in the affluent suburb in Chelsea.

  3. Hestor,

    Do we know each other and, more importantly, did you know a lady with the initials MGOD? If so please email me.

  4. was 'The Archbishop' a certain Frenchman who wasn't the most tactful cleric in the world and who resigned from his position as Superior General of the Spiritans when they no longer wanted him

  5. Yes- and I'm presuming he still needs our prayers! To complete the set; 'Christine' was Miss Christine Bacon. Her father painted the formal portrait of the 1910 Coronation. As a small child she remembered George V coming to her father's studio for a sitting.

  6. Yes- and I'm presuming he still needs our prayers!

    A saintly archbishop needing our prayers?!


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