Welcome 1949 ! Not being akin to Mr. Hardcastle, we schoolgirls cannot yet say with truth, "I love everything that's old". On the contrary, all that is new, with its possibilities and adventures has a particular appeal. The New Year was faced with eager expectation, and as we now look back on its record, we feel a sense of pride at what has been achieved and are fired with determination to make 1950 even better!
One of the first opportunities offered to us in common with all School children of Bournemouth, was an invitation to attend a rehearsal of the Municipal Orchestra at the Winter Gardens. The conductor was Pierino Gamba, the ten-year-old Italian boy.
We were amazed by his talent - and began to realise the poverty of our own musical efforts. Every moment of that afternoon was enjoyed, and we appreciated especially Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, which formed part of the programme.
On the 24th of this month Form VI and the French Girls, who spent the year at Boscombe, were invited to join the Past Pupils at a whist-drive. It was a pleasure for us to be brought into contact with the Association before the end of our school days.
Monique Cloche carried off the First Prize while another of our representatives was consoled with the booby prize. Everyone was sorry when the evening came to an end and we must not forget to thank those who were kind enough to include us in the Reunion.
Immediately after Half-Term, a special treat awaited juniors and Seniors alike. On March 1st, we saw the film on the Mass "The Sacrifice We Offer". Father McEvoy, S.J., of the Sacred Heart Church, Bournemouth, who was responsible for the production of the film, kindly came and gave a commentary, explaining how and where the film was made. The tense silence throughout was a tribute to the very deep impression made on all.
A fortnight later, some of us returned to another film, "the Glories of the Faith". This time, it was in French - with occasional pieces of translation - and the story was centred round the life of St. Teresa of Lisieux.
Meantime, two important events had occurred.
March 3rd - 13th was the time selected for the Mission at Corpus Christi Church. We all attended the afternoon instructions and many of the older girls listened to the evening sermons also. Father Sandiford and Father Copeland, S. J. asked us all to say one Hail Mary every night for the success of the general Mission throughout the country.
On March 6th, it was a great pleasure for us to know that Reverend Mother General had arrived in Boscombe and would be with us for our annual celebrations in honour of St. Patrick.
It is well known that March 17th is an important date at Boscombe, and this year, all agree, surpassed all others. There was a holiday in the morning and in the afternoon we came to school - but as guests instead of pupils.
The traditional Irish v. English match was played with ardent enthusiasm, and St. George managed to carry the day, perhaps because he knew that we should not be at school in April.
After this, the Seniors assembled in the Gym Room, and Mary Browning, our Head Girl, offered Feast Day wishes to Reverend Mother.
In St. Joseph's, on the other side of the road, the juniors had already greeted Reverend Mother and given an attractive display of dances. They enjoyed a big surprise, as the two new classrooms were used for the first time on this occasion and were tastefully decorated when the little ones came in for tea.
Tea was served for the Seniors in the refectories and in St. Helen's, and dancing followed in the Gym Room.
During the course of the evening, a very interesting item was provided by the French girls, who gave us a second performance of the songs which they had sung and acted at the French Circle at Bournemouth. (Form VI attend the French Circle meetings regularly and find them enjoyable and most helpful.)
Our two Spanish pupils, not to be outdone, performed a dance in traditional costume with castanets.
The day ended with Benediction in the Convent Chapel and we did not forget a prayer for Reverend Mother and all those who had helped to provide such an enjoyable and memorable day.
The following day, instead of the usual Friday Benediction, we found that in accordance with the wishes of the Hierarchy, there was to be Holy Hour every Friday in our Chapel. Many of the Senior girls remain for this prayer of Reparation.
On March 21st, a statue of Our Lady of Fatima was enshrined in the new grotto in the garden. Children of Mary carried the statue from the Chapel and Father Weaver recited the act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Community and pupils joined in the singing of the Fatima hymn. Before many months had passed, the story of Our Lady's appearance to the children of Fatima was to be well-known and well-loved by all of us.
A few days later, members of Form VI and Upper V were happy to present part of the money gained by their carol-singing, to Reverend Mother General. Each Christmas the seniors form a carol party and collect in Bournemouth for those children in Europe and at home who are so much less fortunate than we.
Everyone was sad to say farewell to Reverend Mother General, who had assured us of her very real interest in all we do. We shall not forget her many intentions in our prayers.
At the end of the month the School Certificate and Higher School Certificate Doctrine exams were a reminder to all that the end of term was near, and July itself not so very far away.
Had we been here during the holiday, we should have shared in offering congratulations to Vincent on his completing 25 years of devoted service to the Convent.
As soon as we returned to school, we got straight down to work. "Naturally", everyone will say. "Summer termand Exams". But no! This was a different kind of work! We were preparing for a play; perhaps one of the most important that the Convent has presented. Rehearsals for actresses, chorus and choir were in full swing.
On account of this, we did not celebrate our headmistress's feast, but on April 30th the House Captains presented Mother McEvoy with three spiritual bouquets which we feel sure were more acceptable than any entertainments.
Our Lady's month in a special way for us, this year!
Once again we were at school for the Feast of the Cross, and after some practice, many of the Seniors were proud to sing the Mass in the Convent chapel. Use hope that this may now become a yearly tradition.
Feast-day greetings were sent to Reverend Mother General by Mary Browning, on behalf of all Boscombe pupils.
May 6th, 7th and 8th were the dates fixed for the performance of "The Message of Fatima". It was a great honour to have His Lordship Bishop King present at the first performance. Many of the local clergy were among the audience and we were pleased to see many of the Nuns from our other Convents.
The production was without doubt a success from the point of view of the audience, but we felt that they realised, as we did, that this was not merely a play, but a message and one of vital importance. Realising the world situation, we can see that the exhortation to prayer and penance has never been more needed. And to whom should we turn for help, if not to Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces and Queen of Peace.
Our thanks are due to Mother Potter and Miss Gobell for the hard work they undertook with such enthusiasm, and also to Mother McLoughlin and other members of the Community who helped her in the preparation of costumes and in the general stage managing.
We were all very sorry to learn that Mother Walsh and Miss Stafford would be unable to continue their classes this term on account of ill-health. Those whom Mother Walsh had encouraged and helped with their School Certificate French will not forget how unsparingly she devoted herself, while we all owe much gratitude to Miss Stafford not only for her tuition, but for her readiness to accompany us to any events of interest outside actual school hours.
May 31st. Another of the Concerts for Schools at the Winter Gardens gave us very much pleasure and we immediately looked forward to the next.