Letters, diaries & blogs - extracts from published (and unpublished) letters, diaries and internet blogs
The first letter home ...
"My dear mother,
I never were more utterly miserable. I have just had Greek before tea; It is horrid. we did translation, Xenophon, I do not know a word of it I do not think Greek alone makes me miserable, I am always miserable.
I cannot bear it any longer, I am crying now.
I cannot stand it any longer, if someone does not come to me I will give up and be miserable for ever and perhaps go home of my own accord, write or wire to Uncle C. and say you are coming at once pleas darling, and come on Saturday or I will give up altogether and always wretched.
Do not tell any about me nor anyone except father and possibly Frank, write at once if you are going to. I am too miserable for words.
I beleive that you will take pity and come at once,
Your loving son
I am just crying like anythinke
Come at once never mind anything else
I am utterly miserable."
Michael Ramsey (Archbishop of Canterbury from 1961 until 1974) was sent, as a boy, by his parents to a boarding-school at Sandroyd in Surrey because he was considered rather backward and his progress slow. His mother's brother, Charles Wilson, was the headmaster there [Uncle C in the letter]. His first letter home was preserved by his mother:
Owen Chadwick (biographer of Michael Ramsey) remarked in his: 'Michael Ramsey - A Life' (first published 1990): "Michael was desperately homesick at first. The sufferings of the young when first they go away from home and try to hold their own with cruel comtemporaries are felt to be very great even when they are not. His mother came, but she did not take him away, and his Uncle Charlie told him that if he wrote another letter like that he would get a thrashing, so he stayed and coped."
Webmaster's comment: ... but, my word, can't you feel his sadness!
A curate's view of the tourist ...
Tuesday, 5 April 1870:
“ … We crossed a field and the fold of a farm house, scrambled down a narrow stony lane and struck the main road again. About a mile above Llanthony we descried the Abbey ruins, the dim grey pile of building in the vale below standing by the little river side among its brilliant green meadow. What was our horror on entering the enclosure to see two tourists with staves and shoulder belts all complete postured among the ruins in an attitude of admiration, one of them of course discoursing learnedly to his gaping companion and pointing out objects of interest with his stick. Of all noxious animals too the most noxious is a tourist. And of all tourists the most vulgar, ill-bred, offensive and loathsome is the British tourist.”
The first two sentences in this extract, from the diary of the Revd Francis Kilvert, recount a peaceful afternoon scene near Llanthony Abbey - yet the mood abruptly changes when he and a companion chance upon two tourists among the ruins.
The Revd Francis Kilvert: born near Chippenham, Wiltshire in December 1840, the son of a clergyman. He too became ordained and was curate of Clyro, Radnorshire from 1865 until 1872. He died of Peritonitis in September 1879 aged 38 - just a few days after returning from his honeymoon in Scotland. Part of his diaries were first published in 1938.
The Perfect Parish Priest
A blogger [a person who writes or comments regularly, usually in an informal style, on an internet website about subjects they consider important] living in Connecticut, USA, has reported what both he and a local Roman Catholic priest consider to be the attributes of the 'perfect' parish priest.
For one of these attributes, he states: "Every Mass the priest says must be the most inspirational liturgy anyone has ever witnessed. But it can't last more than 45 minutes, because that's when people start to get fidgety. Every homily must cause the parishioners to laugh a little, cry a little and, ultimately, feel very good about themselves. And it must take less than five minutes. And the priest must never repeat himself. And he must memorise his homilies, as reading from notes tells the congregation he did not invest enough hours preparing the sermon."
However, he asserts that the most difficult aspect of being a parish priest is: "The realisation that no matter what you say or do, some parishioners will be upset. And these upset parishioners rarely keep it to themselves, as they apparently interpret St. Paul's teachings against gossip to mean it's perfectly okay to gossip as long as you're complaining about the clergy."
So ... markedly different from Anglicans in the U.K. then?
By Bill Dunn. To read more of this blog article (if you really must) use this link to catholic365 :