Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Worthy praise of our Lady

Here is something beautiful I found: Mozart's offertory Alma Dei Redemptoris, sung by the Vienna Boys' Choir. Shouldn't everything to do with Our Lady be like this? Like the lady herself: a beauty that will lift us up ...
Click here for the Alma Dei Redemptoris and other pieces sung by the Wiener Sängerknaben

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου

Happy Feast of the Annunciation! Let Mary's 'Yes' be an example to me today.
"Oh Mary, my Queen and my Mother: I am all Thine, and all I have is Thine."
Some thoughtful and inspiring insights from Eastern rite Catholics; streamed for easy listening:

Monday, 24 March 2008

Chavagnes during World War II

The slogan of the village of Chavagnes is 'UNE VOLONTE D'ACCUEIL', which means, roughly, 'a will to welcome'. These words are plastered across one or two garish signs that mark the entrance to the commune's territory. As you enter the 'Mairie', there's another clue: the Latin motto under the Commune's coat of arms, taken from the 133rd Psalm, "habitare fratres in unum". The full quote is : 'this is what is good and pleasant: for brothers to live as one.'

What a wonderful context for an international College, and indeed a beautiful sentiment for us men and boys who live in it, striving, in the midst of all our pride and other imperfections, to live like brothers, in unity.

But the story goes back a long way. There was, of course, the medieval priory on the site of the College, back in the 13th century. Then Father Baudouin's tiny school in his Presbytery, beginning with two pupils.

Another important and inspiring detail in the history of Chavagnes is how, under the nose of a German garrison occupying the seminary (yes, the Ref of Chavagnes once housed dozens of wounded German soliders from the Russian front, and there was a machine gun in the bell tower!) the people of Chavagnes sheltered dozens of Jewish children, and kept the fact quiet right until the 1980s. If you can read French, there is an interesting summary of those events at ; just scroll down the page a little.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Mr McDermott diminishes ...

Since taking over the day-to-day running of the College in October 2007, I have lost 4 kilos. (for the metric martyrs among you, that is about 10 pounds). I am on a diet, but I have the impression that this is not the reason. It is doing me good to rush around, to do more teaching, and to spend less time in front of my computer.

However, if the College is ever going to accommodate 60 or 70 boys, which it needs to do, in order - I would suggest - to really come into its own, I need a dynamic helper to implement, while the College is still relatively small, the systems and structures that will be necessary when (note, I don't say if) it grows to 60, 70 or even 100 pupils. And, if I keep losing 4 kilos every 6 months, my mathematics tells me that it will not be too long before I waste away, or at least come closer to a normal size and shape, which would play havoc with my expensive wardrobe.

That's why we have started advertising for a new Head Master for September or January. We are not going to recruit just anyone. For the moment, as you would expect, I am happy with the way things are moving under my own leadership. However, in order to find the right man (yes, alright, I concede, a better man) for the job, we need to start looking now.

I invite you to join me in praying that Almighty God will inspire the right person and fill his heart with zeal; and that, together, we will be able to bring to wonderful fruition the beautiful work of Catholic education that we have begun here at Chavagnes.

With this thought and prayer, I wish you all a very blessed Easter.

Here is some footage of the Chavagnes senior boys' first ever Rugby 7s match, 13th March, 2008. Not bad for beginners, eh? (We are in blue).