White Fathers In The Borders
I was speaking at a conference which took place in the Scottish Borders. I was struck by the conference centre -the cheesily named Tweed Horizons. My instincts about it were right in that it turn out to be a former school and religious house of the White Fathers (or as they are more politically correctly called these days, the Missionaries of Africa), St Columba's College, near Newton St Boswells and a stone's throw from the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey.
It was sad to be at a lectern giving a lecture at the spot where once the word of God was proclaimed. There were some relics of the school and the Fathers about - a sort of cloister ( I didn't get a picture, unfortunately).
Over the door of the chapel and below the choir gallery, there was this inscription:
CANTUS AUDIVI MONACHORUM SAECULA MELROS QUATTUOR ET TOTIDEM(?) CAECAM VIDI NOCTEM NUMINIS AD LAUDEM PATRES ALBI REVOCANT ME IN MEMBRIS SEMPER UNUS CHRISTUS UBIQUE
This translation is given next to it.
Let us hear music reminding us of the spirit of the age of Melrose. I saw fouryears and just as many in blind darkness. The White Fathers recalled in me thedivine will to praise, steadfast in the memory of the one Christ who is everywhere.
My Latin was never good but this looks like a mistranslation. Can anyone help?
There is a small cemetery with the graves of Frs Drost, Rijkers and Griffin which I visited and where I said the De Profundis for them. Do remember these heroic men in your prayers.They died in an age before easy air travel and were prepared leave their families to live, work and die halfway across the world for the salvation of souls.
The Friends of the White Fathers have a good website - The Pelicans - with memories of the school and the Fathers there (click on St Columba's). Have a look. What strikes me is the fact that there are those who would have us believe that the Church and its institutions before the Second Vatican Council were grim places devoid of 'joy' and 'spontaneity' yet when one looks at the pictures in the galleries of life at the school, it looks as though the boys and the Fathers were a happy bunch.