Saturday, 26 November 2011


I like this song, "Sixteen for Awhile" by Celtic Connection & I think that the line "Life was simple, but it sure was good, somehow" really does apply to our school days(or should I say school daze?). ENJOY!

I just want to point out that I got  this  video from youtube and I am not responsible for spelling, etc.  JUST SO YOU KNOW!

Monday, 21 November 2011


Nano Nagle, Foundress of the
Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Well, friends, as you will all be aware, today, 21st November, is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or as we knew it, PRESENTATION DAY.  I guess we all have our memories of past Presentation Days at St Patrick's but perhaps what we remember most is that we always got a holiday on Presentation Day!  After all, we were children and children LOVE a holiday from school!  However, now that we are older and wiser (well older anyway) we are certain to have a more mature attitude to Presentation Day.  Aren't we?   Let's get serious now.

We owe a lot to Nano Nagle and her Presentation Sisters.  I know that I feel nothing but respect, gratitude and love for the Presentations who educated me.  That in itself makes them deserving of heaven!  As a little tribute to all  Presentation Sisters, I post this lovely little story of one Nun's kindness.  The story comes from Karen (Nelson) Brown.

Once upon a time at St Patrick’s, and probably at other Catholic Schools, too, the First Friday of every month saw us all at Mass and Communion.  After Mass we scrambled home for breakfast then got back to school as soon as possible.

Karen Nelson came to St Patrick’s in Grade Four and her teacher was Mother John.  Many of us will remember Mother John.  Karen lived on Kenmount Road and, at that distance, going home for breakfast definitely was not an option!  What was she to do then?  Remember Ronayne’s Store at the top of Hutchings Street?  So does Karen!  Karen said, “Mother John did not feel the chocolate milk and cinnamon bun that I would get for 25¢ at Ronayne’s Store the top of Hutchings Street was an adequate breakfast.”

I guess it wasn’t, but was there a better alternative?  Mother John thought there was!  Karen continued her story; “She would insist that I came into the convent for my breakfast on the First Fridays of the month.  I totally remember those breakfasts.  I’d be alone in one of the sitting rooms near the front door and dine on eggs, toast, jam and a whole pot of hot chocolate.  All served to me on a big tray by Mother John herself – mmmm!”

That was a truly kind and generous act and I am thinking that Nano Nagle herself must have been proud of Mother John.  I am also thinking that Karen must have hated it when her year in Mother John’s Class was over!

Thank you Karen for sharing this lovely story.  A very Happy Presentation Day to Presentation Sisters and St Patrick's Girls everywhere.  

Um, Karen, did you say eggs, toast, jam and hot chocolate?  Every First Friday for the whole year?  Wow!  Wish I had lived at a distance!

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Back in May, I did a post called "WHO IS THIS VERY TALENTED SISTER?".  Well, I thought you might like to know that I have had a delightful e-mail from Christine (Barry) Chipman.  Christine said that she attended St Patrick's from Kindergarten to Grade 9 and was happy to see "The picture of the School and the windows of my old grade 9 class, far left - top floor - Mrs Byrd's Class!" 
Like me, Christine has fond memories of her years at St Patrick's;
"I have wonderful memories of the teachers, staff and students - most of whom were always in my class."

Christine finishes with "Thank you for reviving some special memories for me and please continue! Oh, and would the Guess Who This Sister Is be Sister Brendan?"
Well, of course Christine, you are absolutely right.  It is Sr Brendan!  We could fill a whole post with Sr Brendan's achievements and maybe one day we will do just that.  For now though, I will just say that Sr Brendan Lynch PBVM was a renowned music teacher and for many years the girls of St Patrick's had the benefit of her  talents.  Sr Brendan was inducted into the Kiwanis Music Festival Hall of Honour in 2003.  (More on that in a future post.)

Christine, thank you for your e-mail and your comments. I have added a more recent photo of Sr Brendan and I will certainly do my best to continue reviving memories with this blog.  However, I could do with a bit of help, so come on all you St Patrick's girls out there - how about sharing some of your memories and photos.  You can e-mail me at

J. Leslie Collis - 2002 Hall of Honor Inductee.

Friday, 11 November 2011


In 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Armistice was signed, officially ending WWI.  Thousands of young Newfoundlanders made the supreme sacrifice as members of the Newfoundland Regiment or of other Allied forces.  

Many young men who died were members of St Patrick’s Parish.   It was thought that the parish should pay tribute to them in some way.  So it was, in 1921, that the new St Patrick’s Convent School on Deanery Avenue was erected as a Memorial to the men of the parish who died in WWI.
St Patrick's Convent School, Deanery Avenue, erected as a Memorial to the
young men of the Parish who fell in WWI

One of the young men who died in WWI was Private Patrick Holden.  Private Holden was just 19 years old when he died on 29th January 1916.  Private Holden died of wounds received at Gallipoli.  The Newfoundland Regiment has the distinction of being the only North American unit to fight at Gallipoli. I don’t know for certain but it is very likely that Patrick Holden was one of the young men from St Patrick’s Parish.  I base this conclusion on the fact that he was the son of Joseph and Mary Alice Holden of Southside so he lived in proximity to St Patrick’s.  And, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out he was a Catholic because the inscription on his gravestone includes the prayer, “May the Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on his soul”.  This young man, like many of his comrades, is buried far from home, in the Addolorata Cemetery, Malta.  Several years ago, while on a visit to Malta, we had the great privilege of placing a small Newfoundland flag on Private Holden’s grave and offering a silent prayer for him.  Perhaps some of you might know more about Private Holden than I do.  I would be very happy indeed to hear from you.  You can email me on  

Private Patrick Holden's grave, Addolorata Cemetery, Malta
Those of us who went to the school on Deanery Avenue will remember the plaque on the right hand side of the front door.  Perhaps, because we were children, we didn’t grasp the significance or the poignancy of the dedication.  In memory of those young men, I am posting a photo of the plaque. I am certain the words will have a deeper meaning for us now than they did all those years ago. A quiet prayer for the Newfoundlanders who died in the “war to end all wars” would be fitting too.  Let’s also remember those who have given their lives in the wars and conflicts that have followed since 1918.

The Plaque from the School on Deanery Avenue
For those of you who would like to learn more about the actions of Newfoundlanders in the First World War, a recent book, “The Greatest Gallantry”, tells the amazing true story of ten men who, for eleven hours, withstood hundreds of Germans and held the French village of Monchy-le-Preux.  Nine of the men were from the Newfoundland Regiment and one was from the Essex Regiment.   

A thrilling true story of courage & devotion to duty
Although the author is my nephew, I promise you that I am not motivated by nepotism. “The Greatest Gallantry” is a thrilling story and just another reason to be proud of being a Newfoundlander!


Thursday, 10 November 2011


Well Friends, I have been out of action for a little while because my computer decided it wanted a holiday.  It simply died on me!  However, it has finally been fixed and I am back in action again.  I have some catching up to do so I am starting with an e-mail I received from Karen (Nelson) Brown.  Karen has given me permission to post her e-mail with her e-mail address. If you remember Karen, she would love to hear from you. 

Karen is also very interested in any reunions that might take place.  If you are aware of any forthcoming reunions please let her know.  Actually, if anybody knows of any St Patrick's reunions, please let me know and I will post details on this blog for all to see.

Here is Karen's e-mail.


I just happened to come across the SPC blog and noticed that there have been class reunions.  I am surprised that I have never received any information regarding class reunions as I was a student at SPC from grades four through eight (late fifties/early sixties) and my parents lived at the same address where I grew up until my father's death in 1990.  Perhaps I could get some future class reunion information.

Thank you,

Karen (nee Nelson) Brown"