A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Marist Messenger 1934 — 1947

By the Editor

Since it began, the Marist Messenger has carried a wealth of information about Pacific, New Zealand and Australian Church history, about Marist history, ministry among Māori, and about Marist and Church

personalities. There was also a wide range of devotional material and poetry. This article aims to convey something of the spirit and ‘flavour’ of the magazine in its early days.

1934

January

2/6 per year, post free

“Catholic heroes of Mount Everest: the mountain is named after Colonel Everest, who ‘discovered’ it in 1853. In fact, under its Tibetan name, the mountain can be found on maps made by French Jesuits in 1717, and engraved in Paris in 1733”.

February

Archbishop Francis Redwood SM

 

Archbishop Redwood is 95, and “still happily reigns the sole survivor of the 1300 Bishops who ruled the Church at the time of his consecration”.

The first of many articles on Pacific Church history and events by Fr Joseph Deihl SM.

August

“New Zealand’s Catholic Devotional Monthly” and “Official Organ of the Marist Missions” appeared on the cover for the first time.

Archbishop Redwood “an Englishman by birth and a New Zealander by adoption (and acclamation)”, was made a Commander of the Legion of Honour by the government of France. 

1935

Archbishop Thomas
O’Shea SM

February

“Death Comes for the Archbishop – a long and limpid span – it means farewell, a long farewell, to his kindly smile, his helping hand, his golden oratory, his beautiful, inspiring presence and kinglike mien!” And it was recorded that “The Most Rev Dr O’Shea SM assumes the sceptre which we have all grown to love”.

“Fr Maurice Mulcahy SM ... was ordained in Rome on the Feast of Christ the King” in the chapel of the English College.

April

An advertisement:
I love the tints of autumn well, russet and golden brown,
Brave spots of colour on the grass when leaves come fluttering down.
But autumn gone, old winter comes, so don’t delay, be sure
You’re safe from ‘flu, from cough or cold, with Woods’ Great Peppermint Cure.

June

“His Holiness Pope Pius XI blesses those who pay for a Catholic paper. The Manager of the Messenger will be glad to see hundreds of blessings liberated by overdue subscribers sending their subscriptions!”

August

“Numerically, the Sydney branch of the Third Order of Mary is the largest in the world; it has over 700 members”.

Archbishop O’Shea SM enthroned as Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of NZ.

1936

The format was in A4 size, 36 pages in all, and much more attractive. As there had been for the past few years, there were contributions from “MM” in Rome – Fr Maurice Mulcahy SM – who would later become editor. Also writing at this time while he was still a student at Greenmeadows was Kevin Maher, who would also edit the Marist Messenger.

March

St Patrick’s Church, Sydney: “To visit St Patrick’s is a vitalising experience renewed with every visit”.

The Borough of Mt Albert (Auckland) minuted its “appreciation of of the noble example of citizenship that Fr Kevin McGrath’s set during his sojourn in (the) Borough”.

May

Drawing of the Davis’ Cottage in Sydney, pictured below, where the Blessed Sacrament was reserved 1818-1820.

July

Under the heading, “bankrupting the Messenger”: “Many of our readers, through want of thought, are heading the Messenger for the rocks of insolvency”.

December

Supplement celebrating the centennial of the Society of Mary; conclusion of Mary Catherine Goulter’s series on Fr Jean Baptiste Petitjean SM, a continuation of articles on the “Marist History of Martyred Spain”, and the conclusion of a series on Pauline Marie Jaricot, the foundress of the Propagation of the Faith.

1937

January

3/- per year, post free

June

An article on birth control by Rev John Higgins, entitled “The Evil of the Day”.

A joke: a doctor says that bad-tempered people are more susceptible to disease. Just another case of the surly bird catching the germ!

Pauline Jaricot

October

The story of Pauline Jaricot, and her founding of the Association for the Propagation of the Faith. She was so poor towards the end of her life that she qualified for poor relief, and was so proud of her “certificate of poverty” that she insisted on having it in her hand as she lay dying.

1938

February

“New Zealand’s Century of Catholicity is now happily completing and Auckland has arranged on a magnificent scale the celebration of our triumph. … Empty churches are not a Catholic problem”.

Commemorative Medal:
“New Zealand Catholic Centenary
1838 Bishop Pompallier 1938
First Mass Totara Point 13 Jan 1838”

March

Eileen Duggan,
‘The Poetess
of the Missions’

The Catholic Centenary issue ran to 80 pages, where the February issue was 32 pages. It contained a lecture on NZ Marist history given in Rome by Fr M Mulcahy SM, translated from the Italian in which it had been delivered. Among many detailed and lengthy articles, there were messages from the Apostolic delegate, Archbishop John Panico; from Archbishop Thomas O’Shea SM; from the Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage; the Leader of the Opposition, Adam Hamilton; the Superior General of the SM, Fr Ernest Rieu; and from numerous Marist bishops in the Pacific – Darnand (Samoa), Aubin (South Solomons), Wade (North Solomons), Nicolas (Fiji). Eileen Duggan was hailed as ‘The Poetess of the Missions’; there were photos of Marist churches, colleges and prelates, the beginnings of fundraising to build a college for Māori boys, along with articles detailing ‘our debt to England’ and ‘our debt to Ireland’. Dr J P Fitzgerald, who had arrived in NZ in 1840 on the Oriental, was described as ‘Wellington’s Greatest Layman’, and under the heading ‘The Pageant of Progress’, summary statistics were given for each of the 4 dioceses.

1939

February

A Marist Landmark – New Australian Province Inaugurated … by the Very Rev. Father D H Hurley SM at St Patrick’s, Church Hill, Sydney, on 20 September 1938. And on 4 December 1938, Fr Edward Kelly SM, the first ordination in the new Australian Province, had offered his first public Mass.

May

The last of 18 lengthy articles on the encyclical “Quadragesimo Anno”, by Fr Maurice Mulcahy SM.

June

The ordination of Fiji’s first local Marist, Fr Tito Daurewa SM, pictured below with his mother.

October

The outbreak of World War II was noted only in passing: “It is deemed inadvisable on account of war conditions to send Fr Touhy to Rome this year …” This issue also had in it a prayer for peace by Pope Benedict XV.

November

It was reported that the MM was now 10 years of age, “now our national Catholic monthly with a circulation of nearly 4,000”, and “a great want … in NZ is a salesman who can sell subscribers to a Catholic paper the idea of paying their debts”, in regard to overdue subscriptions!

1940

The cover of the programme
for the Eucharistic Congress
(Marist Archives, Wellington)

February

NZ centennial and Eucharistic Congress issue, handsomely produced, it was 90 pages long, covering March as well.

Under the heading of ‘Wellington’s Pioneer Catholic Laymen’, there were photos of the Hon Henry Petre and Dr John Fitzgerald; a lengthy article about Fr J J P O’Reily, Wellington’s first pastor; a fine tribute to the ‘Poet and Mystic’, Eileen Duggan; Catholic facts and figures for the century; notes from Fr Garin’s diary about his early days in Nelson, and from Eleanor Petre’s diary about early colonists; an account of the services provided to the Catholic mission by the sea captain, Peter Dillon; an article about Mary and Thomas Poynton, who arrived in NZ in 1828, and welcomed Bishop Pompallier in 1838; a long tribute to ‘John Patrick Fitzgerald – Catechist’; two long articles on Catholic education; and 31 photos in all.

April

‘History in Mount St Cemetery’ (Wellington) referred to Fr O’Reily’s grave and the Marist graves there, as well as to Captain Richard O’Connell and Stephen Woulfe Sheil. The death of Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage on 27 March; a tribute to Auckland’s second bishop, Thomas William Croke; the death of Archbishop Kelly in Sydney at the age of 90. Under the heading ‘Happenings in 1877’, Kumara was said to have a population of 5,000, with 52 public houses and 4 churches, the Catholic one being the first built. The Centennial Eucharistic Congress was described as ‘a glorious triumph’, despite the war; and there were 49 students in the theologians’ study at the Marist (Greenmeadows) seminary.

July

Fr C Servant was heralded as NZ’s ‘First Missionary Priest’, ‘Bishop Pompallier’s Associate at Hokianga and successor to Blessed Peter Chanel SM at Futuna’.

Frs J J P O’Reily OFMCap and Louis Catherin Servant SM

August

A long article by Mrs Mary Goulter about Fr Servant; a Requiem Mass for Michael Joseph Savage in Cairo, led by Chaplain Capt. L.P. Spring SM, attended by a multitude of dignitaries and military personnel.

September

The first Māori nuns were professed at Waitauruke, Northland – Martha Tawhio and Kari Petera (Srs Scholastica and Dorothy).

1941

February

“Fr Kilian J Hennrich, OFMCap declares that the estimate of the world’s Catholic population as 400,000,000 is well substantiated”.

“We offer our sympathy to the Marist Province of Paris in the destruction by enemy action of St Mary’s Church, Leicester Square. London”.

August

A 4-page leaflet supplement from the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, “better known in NZ as the Leper Sisters”, the first of a quarterly series; and letters written by Fr Forest SM to Fr Jean Claude Colin.

October

There was a report from ‘Api Fo’ou College in Tonga from Fr John Rodgers SM.

December

Marists and the War: “Twenty-seven Marists, of whom 10 are priests, are still prisoners of war. … in Italy, the basements of some of the Marist’s churches are used as air raid shelters. The ‘alert’ brings 50 to 60 people to the basement of the Marist Church at Monteverde. … all scholastics in Germany have been drafted into the army”.

1942

February

Greymouth’s record vocations: of Mr & Mrs M McDonnell’s nine children, 6 became Sisters of Mercy (2 in Singleton NSW, and 4 in the Christchurch Diocese; Fr Hugh McDonnell SM was the family’s 7th vocation. The 8th member of the family wanted to become a religious but decided instead to take care of her mother, whom she pre-deceased. No mention was made of what happened to the ninth child.

Father, later Bishop, John
Hubert Macey Rodgers SM

March

“Wellington has at last its full complement of Marist religious, the first of the four dioceses to include all four branches of the Society of Mary”.

April

In France, there were 24 Marist prisoners of war.

Under the heading ‘Just a Jest’, there was a column of jokes. A sample: She: How old do you think I am? He (gallantly): Whatever it is, you don’t look it.

July

It was reported that the Bishop of the North Solomons, Bishop Wade, was a prisoner of the Japanese, along with two American missionaries.

September

Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary had six houses of formation: one in France, 2 in NZ, 2 in the USA, and one in Australia. The sisters ran 4 leper hospitals, and had missions in 9 Pacific countries.

1943

January

On 1 July 1942, there were 41 priests in Fiji, 2 Lay Brothers, 20 Marist Brothers, 33 Native Brothers, 16 Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, 32 Marist Sisters, 57 Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, 90 Native Sisters and 240 Catechists.

August

“Father James Wall SM had in his congregation a detachment of men from the USA Navy. He gave them a special talk; and they talked back with a 360 dollar plate”.

1944

January

259 different religious communities of women carry on work in the US, the number of professed sisters being 3 times the number of priests and brothers.

Of the first 35 popes in the Church, 30 were martyrs. Only 6 popes reigned between 1800 and 1900, the lowest number recorded in a century.

February

St Augustine’s High School for boys, run by the Society of Mary, opens in Wanganui.

June

Thomas Poynton was said to be the first Catholic settler in NZ in 1828. In fact, a fellow-Irish Catholic, John Kelly, settled on Codfish Island in 1824.

July

“A warm ‘welcome back’ is extended to Chaplain-Major J L Kingan SM, MC, invalided home. Fr Kingan is a patient at Wellington Hospital”.

Pā Wiremu Te Awhitu SM

1945

February

This issue contained tribute in honour of Fr Te Awhitu’s ordination on 17 December 1944.

April

A report on the centennial celebrations at Otaki on 18 February 1844, with some 600 visitors attending. “The Golden Jubilee of the Sisters of St Joseph happily coincided with the centenary”.

Chaplain-Major J L Kingan SM, MC

December

Seven SMSM in the North Solomons, captured by the Japanese in 1942, were found in Rabaul. It had been feared that they had suffered the same fate as two sisters who were murdered early in 1942 in the South Solomons. They were imprisoned for four years, along with about 140 other missionaries of many nationalities.

1946

January

4/- per year; 3/6 if paid to agent, or direct without being billed

Sr Dolores SMSM wrote about her experience as a prisoner of the Japanese. Three Marist priests were recorded as being killed during the war: in the North Solomons, Fr John Conley from the USA, and Fr Florent Waché from Alsace-Lorraine; and in Russia, Fr John Willmann, from Germany.

March

There was a more detailed list of missionaries killed during the war As well as those listed above, Fr William Servant SM apparently died of starvation on Buka Island; Bro Karl died of machine-gun bullet wounds; Bro Joseph Redman was killed by a bomb; and Fr Weber SM “is reported to have met his death by misadventure …”.

1947

Fr Louis Hurlin SM

April

“The nucleus of the fund for the magnificent Marist Church in Timaru came from an insurance policy on the life of Fr Louis Hurlin SM”.

May

“The first Mass of Wellington’s first parish priest, the Capuchin, Father O’Reily, was offered in Baron Alzdorf’s house on the corner of Woodward Street and Lambton Quay”.

August

Fr Peter McKeefry was appointed Archbishop, as Co-adjutor to Archbishop O’Shea in Wellington, with the right of succession.

October

The first Mass in the Antarctic was in the Bay of Whales, celebrated by Fr William J Menster, chaplain of the Central Group of Admiral Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition – no date was given …

November

Patrick Finau and John Foliaki

future Bishops of Tonga, at 13 years of age

At 13 years of age, Patrick Finau and John Foliaki arrived in NZ from Tonga for secondary schooling. They both became Marist priests, and Bishops of Tonga.

December

Carried full accounts of the consecration of Archbishop Peter McKeefry, and of the blessing of Hato Paora College for Maori boys in Feilding by Cardinal Gilroy of Sydney.   


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