Print this page

Wartime Crisis

The war involved the effective shutting down of the programme of publicity and the radical restructuring of the Formation houses. Schools were being evacuated and seminaries were in danger of attracting the unwelcome attention of the military authorities looking for billets, recruiting students as soldiers or simply occupying property for the duration. The new Provincial, Fr Couche, moved quickly to safeguard the situation. The School at Battersea was evacuated en masse to Cowley, ending forever its premier function as a training house for young confreres. Burwash was already a small boarding school and the junior classes from Shrigley were moved to Beckford.

Blaisdon became the Theology house as well as the Trade school. Battersea was almost a ghost house, with a skeleton community maintaining the parish and with a few students at the University.

As a result of this crisis a new novitiate and junior seminary was started in Ireland at Ballinakill County Laois and this ultimately prepared the way for setting up an independent Irish Province.

main 1939In England the departure of Fr Tozzi was the preface to the internment of some Italian confreres on the Isle of Man and the departure of others for Canada. The disruption of the programme of studies and the loss of momentum which wartime necessities involved had a considerable effect on the Province. Fr Couche's leadership was careful but timid with a tendency to focus on internal problems. In retrospect it probably lacked very much dynamic vision for the future.

Last modified on Friday, 09 May 2014 09:54