Saturday, 20 October 2018


We are all aware of the hurricane that hit the USA last month.  In September, Hurricane Florence brought devastation to the Carolinas, causing about $13 billion in damages and, more tragically, 53 fatalities. Two St Patrick’s Graduates, Teri HEALEY Evans and her sister, Betty HEALEY Brown, were caught up in this frightening ordeal.  Teri has shared some photos and her story with us.  I will let Teri tell it.  

“I had gone to beautiful North Carolina on July 25 to spend some time with my sister Betty and her husband, Billy.  Early in September we were hearing on the news that a massive hurricane was forming and that it looked as if the eye was going to make landfall in Wilmington, NC.  That was alarming because the city of Wilmington was only about 25 minutes away from where Betty lived in a lovely little town called Burgaw. Her home was situated along Cape Fear River.

Well the weatherman was right, it was heading our way. We had to evacuate because the Cape Fear would indeed flood and all the roads would wash out.  Not to mention all the trees that would fall due to high winds, making any chance of the roads being passable.   To give you an idea of the type of home Betty had I can describe it as a bungalow built on 12 foot pilings.  Because it was up so high (12 foot off the ground) we never in a million years thought that the river would rise that far as to get in to the main house, it had never before. So before evacuating we only secured the grounds and anything at ground level.  Unfortunately Mother Nature had different plans for it.  The River rose 25+ feet, meaning 13 ft or more of water got into their beautiful home and destroyed it and all the contents.  The River stayed that high for over a week ruining everything.  Thankfully, we had evacuated and were safe.

I have attached a few photos for you to see.
The first photo is a sort of 'before' picture (Betty and 
Billy hosted a wedding at their property on July 28th)
The second is of the river beginning to rise.  
The third photo shows the River half way up the house.
 (After this it was too dangerous to go there by boat anymore)

The fourth is a photo of the Restaurant we often ate at which was
 only one mile from Betty's house.  All you can see is the roof.

And sadly, these photos only show a very small fraction of the devastation caused by Florence.  Betty and I have many, many friends there who have also lost everything.  I've been home since October 16 and I still can't get some of the horrible destruction our of my mind.  It was just like a war zone when I left.

Betty and Billy have found temporary housing and do plan to rebuild but that could take up to a year to get everything back to a livable state.  However, they are safe and count their blessings everyday.  As do I now to be living in beautiful Newfoundland!"

Thank you for this account Teri.  It must have been terrible for all of you.  I can understand why you are glad to be back in "beautiful Newfoundland".  There are worse things than "rain, drizzle and fog"!

Thursday, 18 October 2018


We have to thank Teri Healey Evans for this post.  Teri has sent us photos and a story about a very extraordinary lady, her Aunt Teresa Lawrence.  
Teri's Aunt Teresa Lawrence
While Teri and her sisters are all graduates of St Patrick’s Convent Schools, Mrs Lawrence isn’t. However, her place of birth more than earns her a place on  St Patrick’s School Blog.  

Teresa was born in Fermeuse, where Mother Bernard Kirwan, the founder of the Presentation Congregation in Newfoundland, rests peacefully in that beautiful spot on the Southern Shore.  In September 1853, three years before our own St Patrick’s Convent, Mother Bernard established a Convent at Admirals Cove, Fermeuse.  She was its Superior until her death in February 1857. Admiral’s Cove was named for the English Fishing Admirals who frequented the harbour from the 1700s. In 1960 the name was officially changed to ‘Port Kirwan’ in Mother Bernard’s honour.
Grave of Mother Bernard Kirwan
Anyway, Teresa is Teri’s Aunt, her mother’s sister, and she is one amazing lady!  At the age of 80 years Teresa para sailed.  Then, at the age of 85, she decided she would have a go at zip lining.  Last Saturday, 13 October, 90 year old Aunt Teresa went sky diving! What is next on your Bucket List?
Almost Ready

This is it!
Teresa Lawrence, you are truly an inspirational woman and we congratulate and commend you.  May God bless you with many more years of good health and thrilling adventures.  
The Intrepid Teresa Lawrence

Sunday, 30 September 2018


I have received the most wonderful photo from Marina Carew Aita!  It is an old picture of our neck of the woods, the West End, in all its glory. Marina is a school mate of the late Shirley Hipditch Ellizey.  Marina and several other school friends of Shirley’s recently attended a get together hosted in Shirley’s memory by her family.

Marina said, “This photo was sent to me by Loretta Dawson O’Toole from the West End who obtained it from a friend of hers. Shirley’s family was delighted to receive it.  Thanks again, Loretta.”

Marina went on to say that the photo shows the vicinity where Shirley grew up, Galgay’s Range, which is behind the white building opposite the trestle where Shirley regularly walked as a young girl.
Marina, this photo will bring tears to the eyes of so many St Patrick’s girls of a certain age. Galgay’s Range, that trestle, and the old Railway buildings, are embedded in fond memories of years gone by!  Thank you so very much, Marina, for sharing this gem with us.

Thursday, 27 September 2018


Janet Rumsey has sent us some very nice photos.  She also had a little bit of interesting information regarding the girls in the two classes.  They were actually "history makers"!  

Thanks very much Janet.  Your support is greatly appreciated and we would be delighted to receive anything else you might like to share.

This is what Janet said.
"Check out the girls of St. Patrick’s. We were in grade 7 and graduated as first grade 12 class of 1984."

Here are Janet's pictures.
Miss P Laidley's Grade 7 Class

Mrs A Meaney's Grade 7 Class

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

GRADE 2, 1967

This picture was given to us by my lovely niece, Susan McAllister.  The year is 1967 and it is a Grade 2 Class, St Patrick's Primary School.  The teacher was Miss J Sears.  It's too bad Miss Sears isn't in the photo with the class. Don't they all look so sweet?
Grade 2, 1967

ROW 1, L-R
Susan Power, Jacinta Mackey, Josephine Dalton, Karen Baird, Marie O'Brien, Joan?, Terri Dicks, Janet Pink, Judy McCarthy, Louise Kavanaugh, Cathy Mackey, Margo Walsh
ROW 2, L-R
Lynn Martin, ?, Paulette ?, Joan Tracey, Susan Emberley, Rachel Reid, Sandra Doyle, Kathy Stone, Darlene Horwood, Jeanette Power, Tina O'Brien, Beverley O'Keefe
ROW 3, L-R
Janet Power, ?, Maureen O'Brien, Anita Hall, Marylou Redmond, Annette Power, Gertrude Bruce, Trudy Collins, Sylvia Broderick, Susan McAllister, Colleen ?, ?

If you are on this picture and you can add a name or two, I would be happy to hear from you.

****Thanks to Jeanette Power Woodman and Rhonda Coleman, we have two more  names to add.  Jeanette Power is the little cutie sitting third right in the middle row.  Rhonda informed us that Sylvia Broderick is fourth right in the back row.  Sadly, Sylvia passed away on 17 July 2018.  Thank you Jeanette and Rhonda for your input.

I have now added more names. Susan has sent us most of the names and she said "please feel free to correct her" if her memory has deceived  her on any.

Thanks Susan.  This is a beautiful picture and I am delighted to post it here.

If anyone else has a picture or a memory that you would like to share, please send it along to us at and I will gladly post it for your schoolmates to enjoy. 

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


It gives me a lot of pleasure to post this article by Barbara Sweet of the Telegram.  It tells a great story of a loving and devoted family, of a St Patrick's Girl who at the age of thirteen went to Belvedere Orphanage then, at 17 moved to the U S A.  I think this story will inspire and touch you.

"U.S. family returns mother’s ashes to St. John’s

She lived outside the norm and was a rule breaker’

Shirley Hipditch Ellzey never made it back to St. John’s and the province she left behind to escape a hard early life, but this month her American family made the journey for her.

Daughter Jeannine Cordero and husband David Kolin

The day she died, Hipditch Ellzey expressed a wish to be returned to St. John’s, said her daughter Jeannine Cordero of Chicago, Ill.

They scattered her ashes at sea close to St. Johns harbour.

The journey had her children and two of her grandchildren not only tracing Ellzeys girlhood footsteps and family history but meeting people face to face with whom theyd bonded with by distance, in part due to a Telegram story on Ellzeys passing in January 2017.

George Ellzey

“We tried to get her back here at one point in time but there were a lot of ghosts here,” said Cordero, the eldest of her three children.

“In the end, she was very curious about what happened to a lot of people but she had experienced a lot of hard times here.”

Despite her hard times, she remained in love with her former home and got to see it by computer through a Google Streetview Cordero showed her.

Some of the people the family connected with turned up at a gathering Sunday at YellowBelly Brewery in St. John’s.

“We’re kind of late meeting many relatives. We have found people who remembered mom…. through them we got a feel for what it was like back then.,” Cordero said.

Patsy McCormack of Witless Bay, related to Hipditch Ellzey through marriage, hosted the family at a Jigg’s dinner in Witless Bay last week. They got a walking tour of the old west end of St. John’s — where Hipditch Ellzey spent her early childhood around Victoria Park — from Marina Aita.

Sunday night, Aita and Doreen Heffernan recalled Hipditch Ellzey as a quiet girl, with beautiful, auburn hair. The kids of all ages from the neighbourhood would walk to school, branching off to their schools.

Friends, Reuben Warren, Doreen Heffernan and Marina Aita

After Hipditch Ellzey went in Belvedere orphanage, they lost touch with her until they read about her life and passing and connected with Cordero. They came from a generation without email, Facebook or ways to instantly connect with friends who moved away. 

Aita noted many old friends have since passed, or are in long-term care homes.

Hipditch Ellzey had left St. Johns for the U.S. in 1953 after a stint in the former Belvedere girls orphanage — her father had died in 1940 when she was five and her mother in 1949 when Ellzey was 13. By then Ellzey was already in Belvedere as her mother had tuberculosis. Two siblings by her mother’s second marriage were adopted by relatives.

In the U.S., she first became a caregiver for a family in Takoma Park, Maryland, and went on to an accomplished life.

“It’s great after so many years to see the lovely family and what a nice life she had. She really had an amazing life all that she accomplished — it was wonderful,” Heffernan said.

Reuben Warren was a child when he met a young teenage Ellzey through older friends.

“She was a very, very impressive person. It stuck with me until I read (The Telegram) article.

“I didn’t know what happened to her down through the years.”

Her son George Ellzey of Denver, Colo., and daughter Joy Pilon of Williamsport, Pa., along with Cordero and her husband David Kolin, looked into family history, visited the site of the former orphanage and got to put Hipditch Ellzey’s memories she shared with them in perspective.

Daughter, Joy Pilon

“We were chasing a lot of her stories down,” said Kolin.

“Things are familiar based on the stuff Shirley would talk about. They were coming to life.”

“It’s nice — maybe there are some regrets of never doing it when we were younger and she was still here,” Pilon said. “It’s a beautiful place. I am glad we are getting to see it.”

“This was a little bit of closure,” said George Ellzey.

“It’s certainly a fascinating place.”

Granddaughter Katherine Kolin, a student at Boston University, said the trip explains a lot of the mystery of her grandmother.

Grandchildren Katherine & Yale Kolin

The trip is mostly for mom and her siblings. I am here as moral support,” she said.  “And because I am interested in the history of the place and family history.
… I don’t think anyone was expecting the kind of response we got thanks to (the Telegram),” she said.

“I think that’s really amazing. To see my mom be determined to (return her mother’s ashes here and reach out) is really outstanding. The hospitality and generosity of the people here is unmatched compared to any other place I have been in my life. I think it is marvelous.”

Katherine Kolin said she’s learned more about her grandmother because she shared little of her early struggles directly with them, though she did tell of it to her children.

“The character of my grandmother has become rounded out in my mind. That’s important. I loved her. She was my grandmother but so much makes sense now that didn’t before,” she said.

“She lived outside the norm and was a rule breaker. She was a really fiery person. And she made a lot of really, really hard decisions in my life.”

Katherine also found St. John’s the magical place her mother described despite her early rough start.

“I would certainly love to come back,” said her brother, Yale.

Some of the people who turned up were women Cordero found through a Facebook page for former Belvedere orphanage residents.

Even though some did not know Hipditch Ellzey personally, they wanted to help the family understand what the orphanage was like.

Hipditch Ellzey, who once worked as a housekeeper for famed Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider, was 81 when she died of breast cancer.

After she left Newfoundland and Labrador at 17 for the U.S., she eventually married a Colombian-born doctor and spent some time in Mexico and her husband’s native country before divorcing and returning to the U.S. with her then young daughter, Cordero.

Hipditch Ellzey later married a serviceman and had two more children — George Ellzey and Joy Pilon. Hipditch Ellzey trained as a dental assistant and worked for a time with two prominent Maryland orthodontists who treated Washington, D.C., politicians.

She loved working for the Snider family in Pennsylvania and travelled frequently with them.

Saturday, 11 August 2018


I am happy to say that this post (click here) had a grand response on our school facebook page.  As promised, I will now reveal the little inaccuracies in the otherwise beautiful sketch by the late Bill Guihan.

The sketch of St Patrick’s Church itself is actually faultless.  It was completely accurate when it was drawn in the 1980s.  The problems arose when the artist inserted the horse and buggy and the old fashioned people walking down the church yard.  Those touches indicated a much earlier time.  Someone pointed out that the horse and buggy were driving on the wrong side of the street.  That was a good observation but, as someone else said, we drove on the left until 1947 so that wasn’t the problem.  Other suggestions were that St Patrick’s statue wasn’t enclosed. St Patrick’s statue wasn’t there at that time so that isn’t it either.  Anyway, I have enjoyed all your remarks on this and I am really grateful to you for making the effort and having a go.  I hope you have enjoyed it too.  But what makes the church and the horse and buggy, etc, so incompatible?  Let’s have a look.

Bill Guihan's beautiful drawing of St Patrick's Church

Well first of all, that side door pictured at the very left of the church was not there until the 1960s.  (Not too many horses trotting up Patrick St then.) That was installed during the restorations carried out by Msgr Murphy to make it easier for the elderly because it had fewer steps than the main door.  A couple of you picked up on the side door and someone else came very close to it.  Those steps at the main door are an epic climb for anyone!  

The railings at the right side of the picture are a later addition so couldn’t have been seen by the folks who travelled by horse drawn carriages.

I think that the statue referred to by one of you is the one on the bank at the side of the church.  If it is, that is the statue of Our Lady and that too is a much later addition; perhaps 1980s.  St Patrick is in his glass box at the side of the church now but he wasn’t there when Bill Guihan gave us this excellent sketch of our beloved St Patrick’s Church.

Bill Guihan was a very talented artist and I really love this picture of St Patrick’s.  However, a little part of me wishes that he had drawn what he saw and left it at that.

Again, thanks everyone for taking part in this little adventure. You St Patrick’s people are absolutely wonderful! 

Thursday, 9 August 2018


How many of you have seen this picture before?  I think it is a great picture and I love it. It is from a book which was given to me more than twenty years ago by one of my nieces.  Perhaps you have see this book or even own a copy of it. The book, by Bill Guihan, (1917-1992) is called “Sketches of the Old City”.  It is a fascinating documentation of some of the most historic architecture around St John’s.  An interesting and entertaining book, it will make you look with fresh eyes at our lovely old city of St John’s.
St Patrick's Church, by Bill Guihan

As I have said, I love this picture but I see a little inaccuracy in it.  I won’t tell you what it is but if you spot it, please leave me a comment and share what you think is amiss.  In a couple of days I will let you know what it is. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018


I am indebted to Dora Reid for this post.

In the 1980s, Dora was one of the Safety Patrol Monitors who regularly guided pupils over the Cross Walk on their way to and from school. Dora and fellow Monitor, Nicole Molloy, were selected to represent St Patrick's at a Cross Walk Safety Conference in Ottawa. At that time, Dora was in Grade 6 and her teacher was Mrs Warren. We are delighted to share Dora's newspaper clipping here.  
Dora Reid and Nicole Molloy
I have cropped the picture in the hope you will be better able to read the newspaper report.  

What the newspaper said!
I thought you would like to get a closer look at Dora and Nicole too.

The chosen delegates
No doubt, Some of you will know Dora and Nicole and will remember this occasion.  I expect you will probably remember being secretly envious too.

Thanks very much, Dora.  If you have anything else you would like to share, we would be more than pleased to hear about it.

Monday, 30 July 2018


Looking at this group of lovely ladies, who would ever think that 50 years have slipped by? Well, we have it on good authority that they really have!  In true St Patrick's Convent fashion, the girls still keep in touch and cherish the friendships that they made in those carefree school days.  

Christine Mary Butler, who sent us the photo, told us that they had their 50th Anniversary gathering of their Grade 3 Class (1967-68) on Sunday, 10 June 2018.  They had an "awesome time"  and are eagerly anticipating their next meeting in 2019.

Well done ladies and thank you Christine.  It is always so good to hear from you and to keep up to date with your group's activities.

Saturday, 7 July 2018


Yesterday, St Patrick's Church was packed as family, friends and former parishioners gathered to bid a fond farewell to a respected and much loved priest, Monsignor James Doody.  Father Doody was Pastor of St Patrick's Parish for 24 years and he endeared himself to all.  He was a man of kindness, compassion and generosity.  We are all very sad that he has left us but we will revere his memory.  Truly he was an exemplary priest who didn't just preach the Gospel.  He lived it!  

Thank you Father Doody.  Rest now in peace with the Lord for whom you lived your life.

Monsignor James J Doody

Below is Msgr Doody's obituary as it appeared on Caul's site.

"Monsignor James Doody
December 01, 1925 - July 03, 2018

Monsignor James Doody, P.P., P.H.

“He threw many of us a life line when we needed it”
December 1, 1925 – July 3, 2018
As a child, Monsignor Jim Doody the son of Casimer Doody and Sarah Byrne of Mosquito, Colinet Island, S.M.B, helped his father in the fishery, and as a teenager he had his own fishing boat.  For the last sixty-five years, he has been what the scriptures describes as a “fisher of people.”  Monsignor Jim Doody, age 92 years, set sail from this place on July 3, 2018, and thus he has secured his berth in the final port of call.
James Joseph Doody was born on December 1, 1925.  He was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. John’s on June 21, 1953.  As a ‘fisher of people’ he held a number of Pastoral and Administrative Appointments: St. Joseph’s Parish, St. John’s; Holy Apostles Parish, Renews; St. Kyran’s, Bar Haven, Oderin, and Merasheen Parishes;  Oderin Parish; Monsefu, Peru Parish;  Sacred Heart Parish, St. Mary’s; Sacred Heart Parish, Placentia; Ministry to Priest’s Program, St. Joseph’s Parish, St. John’s; and his final and longest serving ministry was St. Patrick’s Parish, St. John’s and St. John Bosco Parish, Shea Height’s (1986-2010).
In December 1994, Pope John Paul II designated him as a Prelate of Honor (PH) with the lifetime title of Monsignor. It is recognition by the Vatican and Pope of special service rendered to the Church. He retired from active ministry in June 2010, taking up residence at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home in 2012.
He leaves to mourn: Archbishop Martin Currie, Brother Priests, Religious Sisters and Christian Brothers, his sister Etta Conway residing in Corner Brook, nieces and nephews, his special friend and caregiver Brenda King and family, the Staff, Sisters and Volunteers at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home and all who cared so well for him.
Visitation at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home Chapel on Wednesday, July 4th, 3-5 pm. 
Caul's Funeral Home, LeMarchant Road, Wednesday, July 4th, 7-9 pm and Thursday, July 5th, 10 am - 5 pm.
St. Patrick’s Church, Patrick Street, Thursday, July 5th, 6 pm - 9 pm.; with Vigil Service at 7:30 pm. 
Mass of Christian Burial Friday, July 6th at 11 am St. Patrick’s Church.
Internment to follow in the priests’ plot at Belvedere Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the building fund in your home parish.
His boat of life was filled to the brim with family and friends. He took many of us in when our boats capsized, and he threw many of us a life line when we needed it. In life, he knew at times what it was like to be adrift but always found his way back to the harbour where he laid anchor with us and we are all so very grateful."