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The Story of Boscombe Convent School - 2

The Mistress General of the Boarding School in 1889 was Mother Emilie Grimm; she was succeeded in 1902 by Mother Lyons when Mother Grimm was transferred to the new foundation in Southsea, for it was in 1901 and 1902 that the Religious of the Cross were asked to make foundations in Ryde and Southsea respectively.

At Boscombe the building of the Main wing was begun in 1897. Mother Marguerite de St. Preux was Reverend Mother General who succeeded Reverend Mother Got and it was during her term of office that so much extension and modernisation took place.

The work commenced with the building of the lovely sculptured porch and entrance hall. Over the main entrance porch a handsome carving in stone was executed depicting the coat of arms of the community: a cross and anchor surrounded by the words 'O Crux Ave, Spes Unica', upheld on a shield by two angels.

The gymnasium, too, was built at this time. It had been planned to build a chapel over the gymnasium but later the decision was altered, although the great double staircase remained.

The beautiful little oratory over the front entrance was completed and blessed.

This extension was carried out by Messrs. McWilliams of Bournemouth, according to the original plans.

By 1889 the Boscombe Mission had increased greatly and there were many local children in need of catholic education. A friend, Mrs. James, made a gift of land adjoining the convent and the Holy Cross School was built and run by the sisters.

Mothers Biggin and Hustler who had taught at St. Walburga's School for ten years, travelling to and fro daily, now transferred to the Holy Cross School. Another member of the community who will be always remembered by so many grateful pupils of the Holy Cross School was Mother Egan who was Headmistress from 1950-63.

The number of parishioners was now too large for the small chapel. Baroness Pauline Von Hugel had already generously donated money for its extension and she now resolved to build a large catholic church at Boscombe. So in 1897 the foundation stone of Corpus Christ! Church was laid.

In 1902 the boys' preparatory school was opened at the convent and extensions were undertaken in the girls' department.

For twenty years, from the foundation of the Boscombe Convent, the Religious had made use of the temporary chapel, dreaming of and planning for the great day when it would be possible to erect a permanent structure.

It was due largely to the untiring efforts of Mother de Namuroy, (later Assistant General of the Society), that the Chapel was built; its consecration took place on 25th July, 1907, the ceremony being performed by the Reverend John Baptist Cahill, D.D., the successor to Dr. Vertue.

The style is Gothic and the building is in Purbeck and Chilmark stone.

The fine lofty interior, flanked on either side by fine tall, slender, stained-glass windows, measures 45 feet in height and 80 feet in length, from the beautiful oak entrance doors to the Carrara marble altar rails, which were given by the McLoughlin family, parents of our Mother McLoughlin.

The sanctuary, which is paved with marble, is surrounded by stained- glass windows depicting scenes from Our Lord's life, a fitting setting for the white Exterior view of the chapel marble altar, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. T.P. Kelly, parents of Mothers Mary and Agnes Kelly.

There is a fine representation of the Last Supper beneath the tabernacle. The original sanctuary lamp, which was of solid silver and of Celtic design, was presented by Mr. L. Mulligan.

The stained- glass window behind the altar depicts Calvary, the Sacrifice daily renewed upon the altar. The Stations of the Cross were presented by a Past Pupil, Miss Henrietta Andrews. The Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour was given by Baroness Pauline Von Hugel.
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