Louise Maher

Source - Issue 49 - Winter - 2006 - Click for Contents

Issue 49 Winter 2006
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Father Anthony 
I am a convert. I was going out with a Catholic girl in 1935 she said to me I would have to become a Catholic or else she would have to give me up. I was madly in love with her at the time and I said well alright of course. I had discovered the difference between the Church of Scotland and the Catholic Church. On the night the priest told me about the universality of the Church, universal in time… I said, well the Church of Scotland is 1500 years too late. I would say too that others prompted me. A resident priest asked me if I would like to join the priesthood; he must have thought I’d make a good priest. I have been in the priesthood nearly fifty-eight years now. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Brown 
I was very keen on being a priest and it was a later vocation, so I started at twenty-five and went away to study for the priesthood. So, I would say God's guidance, you know the Holy Spirit, led me. I have now been in the priesthood for thirty-seven years. We had a college in the Borders, same as George Rodgers you know. I think eleven entered at that time; well, it was quite a good amount. Now the numbers have declined and, well, I think it's very regrettable; it's very worrying really. I think it's the way that society has gone over the last thirty or forty years you know, since the Second War probably. Social trends are a part of it, a fairly big part of it, I think. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Cassidy 
Now being a priest was something that always went through my mind from my earliest days. Coming from a very good, religious, and charitable, community in rural Ireland, you know, it lent itself to someone taking up the religious life. Then the home; I had an older brother, you see, who was a priest. He was in the missions. I had another brother who became a priest too, younger than me. He is in America. One's sisters, they kept you up to the mark. My parents definitely were devout people, gave great witness; it was for them. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Crooks 
I just wanted to be a priest, I liked the priests in the parish and I was in a Jesuit school. I thought I might like to join the Jesuits as distinct from the diocesan clergy. I think it was the way of life. You see, it was a Jesuit school where Jesuits were teaching. I liked the style, I knew very little about it, but I preferred it to the Diocesan. I think that maybe looking back at it now, I wasn't quite keen on being on my own, if you see what I mean. But, by joining the Jesuits I would be joining a community. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Kane 
As a youngster I was very much involved in the Church and I was an altar server and general church worker. At that time the war came and I had been thinking of applying for the junior seminary at Blairs in Aberdeen and I was advised to wait until after the war, which I did. At that time it was quite acceptable that boys of that age would be accepted in Blairs and given the fundamental education with emphasis on religious education; emphasis on spirituality. So from that, so long as they were quite content with me, that’s all I ever wanted to do. I was nearly sixteen when I went away. Some went at the age of eleven or twelve.  The junior seminary system is now stopped. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Nugent 
All the experiences I had up until the age when I entered the Jesuits, at the age of twenty-nine, influenced me. I was in the civil service and then I did national service in the R. A. F. I then studied architecture for about eight years. I joined the Society of Jesus. So it was in that time when I found that life without a goal is unsatisfactory. You need to have a purpose, a sense of values. Through architecture, I had a lot of dealing with the Church by building churches. I started thinking, well what is the Church itself? And I wanted to play a part of it. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Rodgers 
I didn't have the ambition to be a priest to start with. Maybe there was a time in primary school when I had. I just drifted in the teenage years and about the latter end of that I began to go to the Church a bit more. Gradually, I began to think maybe, you know, God wants me to be a priest. I wasn’t too sure about that and I wasn't very happy about it either. Eventually, I couldn’t get peace from the idea, so I went to see the local parish priest and I was frightened he might just grab me and say right, 'Wheest away next week'. But he said, 'If you're still thinking about it six months from now, come back and see me'. Almost six months later he said, 'The Bishop's going to be doing a baptism if you want to have a word with him'. So I did, that's when I started my studying. I didn't really want it myself, but I couldn't get peace from the idea that God wanted it for me. I was about twenty-four, a late vocation. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher

Father Rhatigan 
I came from a good Catholic background in Ireland and I suppose that was a start. Many of my classmates, or older classmates, went on to the priesthood and I almost automatically followed them. I thought that it was a great thing to do and several young men in my parish at home in Ireland went to the priesthood and I went, just did the same. We started off with a class of twenty-one, but some of them left; one or two of them died. We finished up with fourteen of us. We were ordained together, fourteen, which of course nowadays would be regarded as a phenomenal crowd, but that time it was regarded as a small crowd. 
  Fathers by Louise Maher