Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pokiok Clergyfolk ...... Four Were Called , Two Persevered !

I'm one generation behind those who watched silent movies with the runaway train barrelling toward the beautiful maiden tied to the railway tracks........ so I'm a bit old-fashioned in the way I express myself. Growing up in Pokiok back then I was taught to respect other faiths ..... not tolerate them. My parents believed that the word "toleration" , although seemingly positive , stank of negativity. In all my childhood skirmishes and squabbles I cannot remember .... not even one example ... of any playmate ever tagging me with the "mickey" word preceded by some juicy adjective. When I saw Ken and Minnie Cross with Harry and Margey in tow heading down the road on Sunday morning , I knew they were going to church. I also knew they were not going to our church , Saint Peter's ..... but that didn't matter. Anyways we all worshipped the same God  ...... only in different ways and places. Four of "us kids" heeded God's calling to His ministry and religious life. However , only two are seeing it through to the end ! I believe I was the first to leave home ... followed closely behind by either Charlotte Johnston or Barbara Campbell .... and much later on by Gerry McCormick , who was a late vocation in Catholic terminology.

Shortly before this last Christmas I spent two most enjoyable and privileged hours at Robin's Café on Somerset Street sharing coffee and memories with three beautiful ladies from  my childhood ...... Geraldine Estey-Berry , Andrea Campbell-McCormick .... and sister , Barbara Campbell-Day. I was the envy of every man there ! Much like myself Barb has only recently returned home to Saint John. She and her husband , Fred , have devoted their lives to the ministry with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada in the Ottawa and Montreal regions ... and are now retired but still helping out performing pulpit supply in local assemblies within the Greater Saint John area. Welcome home , Barb and Fred !!

My dear little nextdoor neighbour and playmate , Charlotte , left Pokiok in either 1951 or 1952 taking the veil of sisterhood with the Carmelite teaching nuns of Louisiana. She withdrew from religious life ( left the convent ) in 1965 ....... only  to set off , once again , constantly urged on by the "calling" to do good .... to the wilds of northern Manitoba where she taught grade school for a number of years with great love and devotion in a native village. Charlotte would eventually come back to Saint John in the late 1970s and taught at Saint Rose's school until her untimely passing away in 1994. Requiescas in pace , soror mea !!


Another Pokioker , a good childhood friend in spite of being three years my senior , is Gerry McCormick. Gerry joined the Redemptorist Fathers of Saint Peter's Parish in the mid fifties .... caught up to me in the seminary in Windsor , Ontario around 1957-58 and was ordained priest sometime in the mid 1960s. I shall write more about Gerry in a future post devoted to the whole McCormick family. His brother , Ralph , informs me that , of late , Gerry has unfortunately been  in failing health and is presently in a convalescence home in the Ottawa area. I remember Gerry as the quick-witted , superb hockey player and swimmer , profoundly religious , deep thinking friend from my youth. Our prayers are with you , Gerry boy !! 
Top picture shows Gerry (on right) with Jack and Bob McGuire and unknown boy on the "Crick" during the early 1940s. Second picture shows Gerry with in Redemptorist garb ... habit / cassock with Ed " Sonny" Mullaly (far left) Jim Grannan and Ed Mullaly senior at our summer camp in Ennismore , Ontario... 1961.

And now my turn ... and I shall be brief since I am constantly "beating my own drum" on this site. I joined the Redemptorist Fathers in 1950 , did my high school and first year university studies at minor seminary ... Saint Mary's College , Brockville , Ontario .... followed by one year of novitiate .... year of prayer and reflexion .....then five - six years of philosophy , theology and further university studies at major seminaries in Woodstock and Windsor , Ontario ( Holy Redeemer College and Assumption University )as well as Cortona , Italy. I left just before ordination.... I didn't persevere ! Amen.

Picture shows myself with Mom and Dad in September , 1956 at Senneville , Québec . I had just finished my novitiate.

1 comment:

  1. hi gerry,

    what a wonderful photo!

    this picture will always be part of my special collection.

    thank you,