The importance which external events assume is measured largely by the bearing which they have on our lives. When the last edition of the School Magazine was published we felt proud of that splendid souvenir of the Golden jubilee, a year so memorable and eventful for all associated with the Convent.
Yet, as the current issue is prepared, one must confess that the past year seems to have been even more significant for ourselves and for the world.
Relief in the international tension had led many to hope that the new year 1939 would be blessed by the peace which had been preserved at so great a cost. There was one whose efforts to preserve that peace had been untiring and marked by a generosity unequalled by any other.
He alone had not merely sought to establish that peace by constant zealous labour but had offered his life for that cause if God so willed. How little did those who heard that offer of our beloved Pope Pius XI realise that Almighty God in His Providence should see it good to accept the sacrifice offered to Him.
Early in February there was disquieting news concerning the health of the Holy Father, yet the announcement of his death on February 10th found us unprepared, for we had hoped that another miraculous recovery might spare him to us for a few more years. The last words he was heard to pronounce were a prayer for that peace which it had been his life's work to establish in the realm of Christ,
The glorious pontificate of Pius XI was ended. He was mourned by the universal Church and indeed by the whole world on which he had made so great an impression from the very day of his coronation when from the loggia of St. Peter's he had given his blessing " Urbi et orbi " to the city and to the world.
Yet, deep as was the grief of all, we found great consolation in the assurance that the spirit which the Holy Father had represented would live on unchanged. Leo, Benedict or Pius, it matters not, for Christ reigns in each.
A Conclave for the purpose of electing a new Sovereign Pontiff was held in March. We were eager to know on whom the tremendous honour and responsibility would rest. For the first time in history the result
of the election was transmitted by wireless. " Annuntio vobis gaudium magnumhabemus Pontificem."
We might have been among the cheering crowd to whom these words were addressed, so intense was our joy at the election of Cardinal Pacelli, Secretary of State to the late Pope, who had been so closely associated with Pius XI in all his works. Another direct successor of St. Peter received at once our filial devotion. May God bless our Holy Father Pius XII.
This year will also be memorable in the history of the Society of the Religious of the Cross. During the summer holidays Reverend Mother Kelly attended the General Chapter held in France at which Reverend Mother M. Serusier was elected Superioress General of the Society. We all looked forward to welcoming Reverend Mother General to Boscombe but her visit has unfortunately been delayed by the seriousness of the international situation.
It was a great joy for us to learn that Reverend Mother General had once been a pupil at our Convent in Southsea. and had actually received the religious habit in our own chapel at Boscombe. This has made us all the more eager to see her amongst us, and in the meantime we shall pray very earnestly for all her intentions especially at this holy season of Christmas.
Pupils past and present will be pleased to hear that our dear Reverend Mother Afchain has chosen England for her residence and that she is now staying at our Convent in Ryde. We wish her a well earned rest after long years of such devoted labour, and the fact of her now being so near makes us hope that she may be able to visit us sometimes.
Everyone realised the deep interest Reverend Mother Afchain had in our Boscombe Convent and we need not assure our past pupils of the pleasure it will be for her to receive letters or visits from them.
The outbreak of war has brought us new pupils who we trust are feeling at home in the Convent. After the initial difficulties of adapting the School to war-time conditions, we have settled down and have been able to continue classes as usual and we must be grateful to be permitted so many advantages and comforts of which many other children are being deprived.
Reverend Mother has appealed to each of us to do her part by generosity and unselfishness at home and in
school, and above all to pray fervently for the souls of those who are sacrificing their lives for our safety.
When this Magazine reaches our readers, Christmas will be near. Although many of the festivities and external delights of the season may be denied us and a less joyous atmosphere prevail, we. may still have the essential Christmas spirit in our hearts. Our pupils past and present will be united in spirit around the crib and will beg the Infant Jesus to send us that peace which is His and of which the world knows not.
Our thoughts will turn particularly to those who have most to suffer and they will be the special object of our prayers. Even though the angels sang of joy over the hills of Bethlehem, the Holy Child lay cold and homeless in the crib. Let us draw close to Him for He will teach us the great lesson of life-sorrow or joy, it matters not - it is His will.
Diary - Easter Term.
We returned to School on January 19th and prepared to put all our good resolutions into practice - and began to keep our diaries with great care! The first event to record was a lantern lecture on Catholic Art.
A sad beginning for this month! Our beloved Pope Pius XI died on February 10th. R.I.P. The whole School attended the Requiem Mass which was offered in the Convent Chapel, and also the solemn Requiem at Corpus Christi Church. We were able to follow all the details of the impressive funeral ceremony which was relayed by the B.B.C.
The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes was kept with special solemnity, as this year marks the jubilee of the erection of the grotto in the Convent grounds. Community and pupils walked in Procession to the shrine, carrying lighted candles.
Mother Boulton had spared no pains to make the grotto resemble the reality at Lourdes, and we were happy to see candles and lamps before Our Lady's statue throughout the day. Father Turner, S.J., read the Act of Consecration, and while singing the Lourdes hymn we commended ourselves and the whole world to the protection of our Blessed Lady.
What excitement prevailed! The Conclave was being held. How interested we all were to read of the Cardinals assembling from all parts of the world - of their arrival at the Vatican and of their complete seclusion from the outside world. Newspaper accounts told of the great preparations - of the candidates who appeared most likely to be elected in accordance with the prophecy of St. Malachy - and of the absolute secrecy which must be maintained.
It is difficult to give an idea of the joy which prevailed when we learned that Cardinal Pacelli had been elected Sovereign Pontill, with the title Pius XII. Work was abandoned and we devoted our time to decorating the notice boards, painting the Tiara and keys. The whole school assembled in the Chapel where we sang the Te Deum and " God Bless Our Pope."
Then a whole day's holiday to celebrate the election! On the day of the Coronation of Pius XII the boarders had a lovely surprise. The refectory was most tastefully decorated in the Papal colours, and we were free to listen to the ceremony which was broadcast. How happy we were to kneel and receive the blessing of Our Holy Father when the ceremony was ended.