Tuesday, 18 June 2019

CLUNY MACPHERSON, A RETURNED SOLDIER,

As we approach 1st July, we remember those heroes who fought and died in WWI.  Of course, that is right and proper and long may we continue to honour them and their total sacrifice.  But, many answered the call to arms and, at the end of that loathsome war, returned home to family and friends.  It certainly couldn't have been easy to readjust but most managed to settle back into the life of their communities. Those who fought and returned are also heroes, deserving of honour and remembrance.   

One such returned soldier was Dr Cluny Macpherson.  Dr Macpherson had no direct link with St Patrick's but I am pretty sure that he was the family doctor for many of our families.  I know that he was ours and, although I can't personally remember him, some of my older siblings could recollect Dr Macpherson making house calls. 

About eighteen months ago we spent the day at the Imperial War Museum, London and John took loads of pictures. Newfoundland's contribution was evident amidst the two floors of WWI displays and memorabilia, and Cluny Macpherson's was prominent.
John's photo of the Imperial War Museum, London

WWI Trench markers, displayed at the Imperial War Museum, London.  (Another of John's photos.)
Cluny Macpherson was born in St John's on 18th March 1879.  He earned his medical degree from McGill University, Montreal, and eventually made his way back to St John's where he set up practice as a physician.  At the outbreak of WWI, Cluny enlisted and was commissioned as a Captain and Principal Medical Officer of the newly formed 1st Newfoundland Regiment.  Previously, he had started the first St John Ambulance Brigade in Newfoundland and now members of the Brigade enlisted in the Newfoundland Regiment. Captain Cluny Macpherson organised them into an Ambulance Unit which continued throughout the War.  Capt Macpherson saw active service in Belgium, France, Salonika, Gallipoli and Egypt.  He was mentioned twice in dispatches. 
Capt Cluny Macpherson in Egypt (Internet photo!!)

The Germans first used poison gas against the Allied troops in April 1915. To combat the gas, two not very successful devices were hurriedly issued to troops.  Captain Macpherson came up with an improvement on these two and invented an early version of the gas mask.  His invention, the British Smoke Hood, was a canvas hood treated with chlorine-absorbing chemicals, fitted with a see through mica eyepiece.  This was adopted by the British Army and introduced in June 1915. 
Forerunners of the Gas mask. (John took this picture through the glass case.)


Captain Cluny Macpherson's invention.  (A cropped version of John's photo.)
Captain Macpherson was injured in Egypt and returned to Newfoundland in October 1916.  He resumed his medical practice in St John's, served as Director of Medical Services for the Militia, and held various posts for the Newfoundland Medical Society.  Dr Cluny Macpherson retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and lived and worked in his home town until his death on 16th November 1966. 

Friday, 14 June 2019

WHAT THEY SAID

I think you all know that St Patrick's Convent School, Deanery Avenue, which  opened in 1921, was built as a Memorial to those of the parish who fell in WWI. Every year, on 1st July, Newfoundlanders remember them and all who fell in that brutal conflict.  This Blog also tries to honour them in some small way.  For that reason, in the couple of weeks leading up to 1st July, the posts will concentrate on our Regiment and its men.  In this first post, "WHAT THEY SAID", I will simply quote what some others have said in regard to the Newfoundland Regiment.
The plaque from St Patrick's Convent School,  Deanery Avenue 
In Scotland, they were popular with the locals and on 25th April 1915, The Edinburgh Evening News said "THE NEWFOUNDLANDERS WILL LEAVE BEHIND THEM THE NAME OF A MODEL REGIMENT, WHICH KNEW HOW TO HONOUR ITSELF AND THE PLACE WHENCE IT CAME."

Of course, their bravery in the face of terrible odds also impressed those who fought alongside them.  After the horror of 1st July an eyewitness, Pte F H Cameron of the King's Own Scottish Borderers had this to say, "ON CAME THE  NEWFOUNDLANDERS, A GREAT BODY OF MEN, BUT THE FIRE INTENSIFIED AND THEY WERE WIPED OUT IN FRONT OF MY EYES.  I CURSED THE GENERALS FOR THEIR USELESS  SLAUGHTER - THEY SEEMED TO HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT WAS GOING ON."    
Throughout the war, the Newfoundland Regiment was highly thought of as a  brave and dependable body of men - a Regiment to be trusted and to rely on.  In October 1918 there was ferocious fighting in the Steenbeck.  A respected British Officer, Brigadier General Freyberg,  heartened to learn that his left flank was being protected by the Royal Newfoundland Regiment remarked, "THANK GOD, MY LEFT FLANK IS SAFE!"
In a letter to the Government of Newfoundland, Sir Douglas Haig, expressed his admiration of the Regiment's courage and determination on 1st July, 1916.  "I SHOULD LIKE YOU TO LET MY FELLOW CITIZENS OF THE EMPIRE IN THE OLDEST OVERSEAS PORTION OF THE BRITISH REALM KNOW HOW WELL THEIR LADS HAVE DONE......., HOW PROUD I, AS THEIR CORPS COMMANDER, AM TO HAVE HAD SUCH A BATTALION UNDER MY COMMAND, AND TO BE A COMRADE IN ARMS OF EACH AND ALL OF THEM. 
NEWFOUNDLANDERS, I SALUTE YOU!  YOU ARE BETTER THAN THE BEST."

Friday, 7 June 2019

ENNIS SISTERS AT JUNO BEACH, 6th JUNE 2019


THE ENNIS SISTERS PERFORMED AT JUNO BEACH ON 6th JUNE 2019, THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE D-DAY LANDINGS.  JUST FOLLOW THIS LINK ENNIS SISTERS AT JUNO BEACH

THE ENNIS SISTERS

A LOVELY SONG, BEAUTIFULLY PERFORMED BY THE ENNIS GIRLS.  IT WAS A FITTING TRIBUTE TO ALL INVOLVED IN THE EVENTS OF D-DAY, 6th JUNE 1944.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

PHOTOS FROM MAURICE CHARETTE,CIRCA 1936

Maurice Charette has sent some beautiful photos and, with a little luck, someone out there will be able to enlighten him, and us, as to the occasion.  It is definitely an event at St Patrick's Convent but what was the event?
Elizabeth Murphy, in white dress, 2nd from right, circa 1936

The photos belonged to his late mother and Maurice has identified her in the group of four women on the right side of the picture.  She is wearing a white dress and is second from the right.  Now let me tell you a little about this lovely lady.
What is this grand event at St Patrick's Convent, circa 1936?













Maurice's mother, Elizabeth (Betty) Murphy, was born in St John's 24th May, 1914.  She lived with her family at 9 Patrick Street.  The family later moved to 544 Water St. Elizabeth's father died in 1924, when Elizabeth was about ten years old.  Her mother was left to bring up Elizabeth and three sons, Bill, Tom and Michael, on her own.  No doubt, Mrs Murphy was an heroic woman as times definitely were  hard.  However, Maurice said that the Nuns were good to her and gave her work to help feed the family. They also helped her to buy a sewing machine. 
Gilbert and Elizabeth on their Wedding Day, 1st February 1945
During World War II, Gilbert Charette  from Britt, Ontario, was serving with the Canadian Army at Blackhead. He and Elizabeth met and fell in love. On 1st February 1945,  they were married at Elizabeth's Parish Church, St Patrick's, on Patrick St.  After the War, the couple and their baby daughter moved to Ontario where eight more children were born to them.  The couple enjoyed a long and happy marriage of more than sixty years. Elizabeth passed away on 26th November 2005.  Just months later, on 14th April 2006, Gilbert passed away.

Maurice lives in Sault Ste Marie but keeps in touch and visits his relatives in Newfoundland.  The family still attend Sunday Mass at St Patrick's and Maurice has accompanied them on several occasions.

Clergy attending event at St Patrick's Convent.  Who are they?
Doreen McAllister Heffernan has suggested that the priest, second from the left is a young Fr J J Murray who served at St Patrick's about that time.  Anne Walsh has told Maurice that her great aunt, Nellie Byrne, is the lady on the left of the four ladies on the right hand side. 

I am delighted to say that several others in this photo have been identified.  Marina Carew Aita puts forward Kathleen (Kay) Hayes as the young woman with the priest in the presentation photo.  Kay was a life long member and great supporter of St Patrick's Parish.  Carmelita Hearn has positively identified the girl at the extreme right of the group of four on the right hand side of photo.  It is her father's youngest sister, Bridie Hearn.  Bridie, a musician and teacher, was well known and respected in our parish.  Carmelita said Aunt Bridie would have been about sixteen years old when this photo was taken.

The priest on the right of the photo and in the presentation photo is, we are almost certain, Fr T J Flynn (later Bishop Flynn).  Fr Flynn was Pastor of St Patrick's from 1932 to 1945.  In 1945, he was consecrated Coadjutor Archbishop.  Judging from his clothes, I would say that at the time of this photo, he would have been Monsignor Flynn.  I am happy to be corrected on that if someone knows better. 

We think these photos are an historic treasure and we would be more than delighted if someone can tell us anything, (no detail is too small) about these photos, the people, and the event.  Please get in touch with us at mcallistrsmith@gmail.com.  We will be forever grateful!  

Maurice, I can't thank you enough for sharing these wonderful pictures and your mother's story with us.  It is so nice to learn a little about a  St Patrick's girl who, although at a different time, walked the same corridors and sat in the same classrooms as so many of us.
What is being presented here?

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

9TH JUNE, THE BIG DAY!

This post is to remind the school friends and classmates of Christine Rossiter Butler of the 6th Annual Gathering of grade 3 (1967-68) class and/or grade 9 Graduates of 1973-74.
Mrs Coady's Grade 3 Class, 1967-68
















Here is Christine's email with details for you to note in your diary.


"This year's 6th annual gathering, 2019, will be Sunday, June 9th at Janice's summer cabin on Salmonier Line from 2 pm - 5 pm.

Mark your calendar! When we get closer to this date we can look at food, car pooling, directions, etc.  Debbie has already offered car pooling. Janice is also looking at renting a van.

At this time I'd like to get an idea of numbers attending and, of course, last minute is awesome and always welcomed!

Look forward to seeing you all!"


You can contact Christine on butlerchristine@nl.rogers.com.  


Have a wonderful time girls and don't forget to let us know all about your get together.  Some pictures would be nice  too.

If anyone else is planning a reunion or just meeting up with a schoolfriend for coffee, please share your meeting with us and send along a photo.  We are all interested in how our schoolmates are doing.  You can send any photos or stories to mcallistersmith@gmail.com.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

CELEBRATING FRIENDSHIP

If this group of ladies isn't the best example of enduring friendship, then I don't know who is!   In the 1990s, some years after graduation, this group of school friends began meeting up.  They meet three times a year, May, September and December.  Sadly, some of the classmates have died and their numbers are dwindling.  However, those who remain and are able, still get together in a happy celebration of friendship.

Joan Reynolds Fogarty is one of the friends and she keeps me up to date with their news, which we share here on the School Blog.  I owe Joan a great debt of gratitude because she helps and supports this Blog in many other ways. 

Here is Joan's news on the latest get together.  Nine of the approximately 15 or 16 who usually meet were able to attend on 15 May.  The venue was Mama Soula's on Torbay Road.  Joan sent along a photo of the party enjoying their meal.
Food and Friendship!

Left, nearest the camera;
Patricia Connolly Leonard, Mary Fitzgerald, Judy Fitzgerald Squires, Catherine Corbett Stanley, Joan Reynolds Fogarty.
Right, nearest the camera;
Eleanor Sears Vatcher, Mary Bulger Corcoran, Rita Kielley, Betty Fitzgerald Pye.

Again, I thank you, Joan.  To all of this amazing group, I wish you many, many more gatherings.  Friendship is such a very precious gift and you ladies certainly know how to preserve and celebrate it.  God bless you all.

Friday, 17 May 2019

TERI NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT

So many of us were classmates of the Healey girls from Brine Street.  Cindy Healey was 58 years old when she died in 2016.  She had been struck down by that cruel and relentless disease, ALS.  

Cindy Healey, 2015, in beautiful Fermeuse where the Healeys spent many happy holidays with relatives

Since Cindy's death, her younger sister, Teri Healey Evans, has worked like a Trojan  to raise funds to help eradicate the scourge of ALS.  Teri has sent a plea for help, which is posted below.  Please help Teri if you can.

"IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!!!

I made a promise to my sister Cindy (Healey, Brine St., St. Patrick's Girl) on her death bed as ALS was ravishing & destroying her body, that I would never stop trying to help find a cure for ALS . I am hoping that my friends will help me to fulfill that promise.

This year the 2019 Walk to End ALS is on
Date: June 9, 2019
Location: H.G.R. Mews Community Centre
Address: 40 Mundy Pond Road, St. John's
Time: 12:00 pm Check-in | 2:00 pm Start

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WALK WITH US I CAN SUPPLY YOU WITH A SPONSOR SHEET or IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPONSOR ME PLEASE LET ME KNOW. ANY AND ALL DONATIONS ARE DEEPLY APPRECIATED.
Or I can pick up your donation within St. John’s - Mt. Pearl

Please support my fund-raising efforts by donating toward my 2019 goal.
Support me now - we are stronger together!

Thanks again!" 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A TRIBUTE FROM ONE ST PATRICK'S GIRL TO ANOTHER


Today's post is a tribute to Mary Skinner, well know and well loved parishioner of St Patrick's Parish who died recently.  This heartfelt poem was written by Mary Lou (Louie) Mallard Tucker.  

Mary Skinner speaking at St Patrick's Convent  closing ceremony 



















"Mary Skinner
A perfect tribute for a Christian life well lived
I shared with a church filled with people for her today,
Fr. Dohey, Fr. Pat, and two other    priests  
Celebrated this sad day in the Month of May.

Father Dohey did treasure Bill and Mary's friendship 
As they appeared to be the salt of the earth,
They certainly left their mark on the St Patrick's community 
Her parents and grandparents were there before her birth.

As May being the month of our precious Mother
Mary was a great mother figure through the years,
Being the outstanding mother to her wonderful family
Also House Mother to Nursing students, for whom she loved and cared.

Some of my siblings knew Mary’s family through singing and softball 
I'd see her at concerts and nod to her from time to time,
I would see her at the deanery with Regina when I’d drop by
She would smile at me while church events were on her mind.

My cousin Rose and Cathy J. were heartbroken for the family,
They had been singing with Mary's girls for years,
Both Rose and Cathy were away on holiday
As they both share the sadness, the cares and the tears.

Jesus smiled at your mother and took her by the hand,
He thanked her for her job so very well done,
Jesus told Mary you would be remembered as an angel
But to me you are my very special one." 

This is a lovely tribute from one St Patrick's girl to another.  Thank you very much, Louie, for sharing this touching  poem with us.  I am sure your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated by Mary's family and her many friends in St Patrick's Parish and beyond.
Mary Lou (Louie) Tucker Mallard

Sunday, 12 May 2019

ANNIE FINLAY

At St Patrick's Convent, next to where the old Passage used to be, is the little cemetery where so many of our former teachers rest.  If you have ever stopped there to say a prayer for them, you probably noticed a headstone that was a bit different from all the others.  That would be the stone that marks the grave of Annie Finlay.  Why is Annie's stone different?  Who was Annie?
In Memory of Annie

I don't suppose there are many St Patrick's pupils who remember Annie now - just some of us older 'girls'.  At that time I was quite young  myself and I am not entirely certain that I ever actually met Annie. I know Annie was then resident at the Convent as she was frequently spoken of by the Sisters and also by my mother and aunts.

Annie Finlay was born on the beautiful Southern Shore, at either St Shotts or Trepassey, in November 1887. She wasn't a Sister but I think she was a relation of one of the Sisters at St Patrick's Convent.  Annie went to work there as a live in Domestic.  For many years Annie was a faithful member of the Convent family and she was well loved by the Sisters.  When she died on 3rd November 1953, the Sisters laid her to rest among the Sisters whom she had known and served for so many years.  

If you see Annie's headstone you will notice that it does not give her age at death.  The 1921 census gives her age at that time as 33. Assuming the census was conducted before November, this would  correspond with a birth-date of 1887. So, as poor as my mathematical skills are, even I can work out that Annie would have been 66 years old when she died.  If anyone can add something to Annie's story, I would be very grateful if you shared with us.  You can send it to mcallistersmith@gmail.com.

I also came across an interesting item regarding St Patrick's Cemetery in the will of one of the Sisters, Sr M Patrick Wadden.  

Sr M Patrick (Ellen Wadden) was born in Ferns, Ireland, to Catherine and Nicholas Wadden.  She and two of her sisters joined the Presentation Community at St Patrick's Convent, Riverhead.  Her sisters were Sr M Gertrude and Sr M Aloysius.  Sr Patrick died at St Patrick's Convent on 8th March 1920.  She was 67 years old.

Sr Patrick'c Grave
It appears that Sr Patrick was the owner of a property on Water St.  The following is an extract from her will. 

"2nd.  All rights and titles held or possessed by me over that house and property situated on Water Street West, and at present occupied by Mr Thomas Wall, I will and bequeath to my sister Bridget Wadden (in Religion Sister Mary Aloysius) to be held by her as heretofore held by me, having always in view the obligations as well as the privileges of her Religious Vows.


3rd.  It is my wish that the sum of Forty Dollars ($40), be given annually out of the rents of said house, on Water Street, for Masses for the repose of the souls of the Sisters of St Patrick's Convent at present interred, or hereafter to be interred in the Cemetery attached to said Convent."

I don't know if it is possible to visit the Cemetery now that the Sisters have left St Patrick's but I sincerely hope it is.  It is important for relatives, friends and former pupils to have the freedom to pay respects at the graves of the Sisters who, over the years, contributed so much to the life of St John's West. 

May the souls of Annie Finlay, Sr M Patrick Wadden, and all who lie in that little cemetery rest in peace.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

PHOTO MEMORIES FROM MAUREEN

Today we continue with our little walk through the years of St Patrick's Convent Schools.  Our evocative photos today come to us through the kindness of Maureen Martin Tobin who has sent two pictures from the 1960s.

Maureen's Grade 4 Class is the subject of the first photo.  The year was 1964/65 and the teacher was Miss Doreen Walsh.  Maureen is in the first row, fifth left.  
Grade 4, 1964/65 (Teacher, Miss Doreen Walsh)

The second photo is of Maureen's Grade 7 Class, circa 1968.  Maureen is the first girl on the left of the first row. The teacher at that time was Miss Fagan/Austin. I am happy to see that the teacher is in the photo.  It is always nice to be able to put a face to the name.
Grade 7, circa 1968 (Teacher Miss Fagan/Austin)

Maureen, any names you can give us would be appreciated.  Thanks again and please keep the great material coming.  Happy Easter to you and your family.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

THIRTY YEARS BETWEEN

As I promised yesterday, here are more photos from St Patrick's Convent School's past. These lovely photos, submitted by Rosalita Bambrick, span thirty years.  Well done Rosalita for remembering so many names!

The first one is Rosalita's Graduation Class, circa 1957, and the other was taken at  the School Reunion held in 1987.
Graduation Class of 1957/58

ROW 1
Rosalita Bambrick, ??, ??,Mary Colbert, Patricia Ann Roche, Mary Power, Sharon Horan, Mary Fagan, Carmelita Burke, ? King, Clare Ann Connolly
Row 2
Marie Harvey, Frances Nugent, Phyllis Silver, ? Hall, Josephine Cook, Kathleen Ryan, Yvonne Snow, Catherine Parsons, Betty Baird
ROW 3
Rita Luby, Margaret Birmingham, Anna Hamlyn, Regina Galway, ??, Kathleen Power, ??

The next photo was taken 30 years later.
Thirty years later and still looking good!

ROW 1
Barbara Parsons, Peggy Mercer, Regina Galway, Anna Hamlyn, Polly Kelly,  Catherine Parsons, Phyllis Silver
ROW 2:
Madonna Healey, Rosalita Bambrick, Mary Power, Patricia Ann Roche, Catherine O'Reilly, ??, Babby Finney

Rosalita, I am really grateful for all your help and support.  You have shared some lovely photos with us and thereby given us a great deal of pleasure travelling down 'Memory Lane'.

Monday, 15 April 2019

GRADE 7, 1959/60

This year, 2019, marks the twentieth anniversary of the closing of St Patrick's Convent Schools.  That day in 1999 St Patrick's students walked the well kept floors of the "new school" on Patrick St for the last time.  It was a sad day indeed.  Today, I will begin posting photos from different years and submitted by girls from those years.  

The first photos were sent to us by Pat Hurley McDonald.  It is Pat's Grade 7 Class and the year was about 1959/60.  Pat informed us that her teacher that year was Miss Catherine Kennedy. 

A very big "THANK YOU" to Pat who has been a loyal supporter of this blog since its beginning.
Grade 7, 1959/60

The names written on the back of Pat's photo

Monday, 4 March 2019

MIKE'S AUNT ISABELLE, 1918

Mike Power posted this on our facebook page recently.  I think it is an amazing photo, providing us with a look into St Patrick's past. The young lady in the photo is Mike's Great Aunt, Isabelle Power.  The Sister with her is her favourite teacher, Sr Christine, and it was taken about 1918.  Just think about it. A photo of a fellow St Patrick's girl and her favourite teacher from 100 years ago! As someone quite close to me is fond of saying "that blows my mind".
Sister Christine and Isabelle Power, circa 1918
A lot of things have changed in the 100 years since this photo was taken (Nuns' Habits for one thing!) but some things remain the same.  Down through the years and the generations, many St Patrick's pupils have regarded former teachers as friends and stayed in touch with them.  Of course, we all know that it isn't always the case but we have quite a few examples on this blog attesting to lasting friendships between teachers and former pupils. This photo of Mike's is probably the oldest example that we have.  

Thank you, Mike, for sharing this precious photo.  It is really appreciated and if you have any others they too would be more than welcome.  

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

SR IMELDA'S COMMERCIAL CLASS, 1958

This is another photo from Rosalita Bambrick's collection of school pictures.  This lovely one is of Sr Imelda's Commercial Class of 1958.  Again, Rosalita is able to supply most of the names but we are hoping that you can help too.

Sr Imelda's Commercial Class, 1958


FRONT, L-R:  Kathleen Power, ? ?,  Josephine Cook, Mary Power, ? ?, Rosalita Bambrick, Patricia Ann Roche,  Mary Fagan 

ROW 2:  ? ?, ? Hall, Polly Kelly, Yvonne Snow, Rita Luby, Margaret Murphy, Marie Harvey

BACK:  Sharon Horan, ? ?, Betty Baird, Madonna Healey, Joan Hurley


Sr Imelda's reputation was widespread and the graduates of her Commercial Classes were always in demand.  The offices of St John's clamoured for them and their office skills.


Rosalita, this is another lovely stroll down Memory Lane and we are loving every step of it.  Thank you very much for sharing with us.  If anyone has a photo or a memory that you would like to share on our school blog, please just send it to mcallistersmith@gmail.com.  It would be wonderful to hear from you!

Monday, 4 February 2019

DOWN MEMORY LANE AGAIN

I am so very grateful for all the wonderful photos that I am sent and I love them all.  As dear old St Patrick's is no more, all those photos are historically important and I love every single one of them.  

Today's photo is a real beauty and it was taken 70+ years ago!  I received this prize from Ellen Efford Power who is a graduate of St Patrick's.  Ellen's mother, Kay Barron Efford, grew up on Hamilton Avenue and was also a Graduate of St Patrick's Convent. Kay Barron is pictured here with her classmates.  Ellen said the photo was taken about 1947.  I am especially pleased with this photo because it is, I think, the only one I have seen of the interior of the Deanery Avenue School, which has long since disappeared.

Ellen has identified her mother as the girl in the last desk, far left, next to the row of empty desks.  However, she is unable to help us with any other names.  My sister, Doreen,  recognises Winnie Sullivan, third right, standing.  As usual, I am counting on someone out there coming to our rescue with a few more names. 
St Patrick's Convent School,  Deanery Avenue, circa 1947

Thank you very much, Ellen, for sharing this beautiful memory of your dear mother and her school friends.