Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Garden Party...

This is me, on Saturday 18th May (31st May New Kalendar), in my old "spot" in the Heythrop Theology Library. I was glancing through an encyclopaedia of the Papacy.

I went to the Heythrop College alumnus party yesterday. Only one familiar face was in attendance, my tutor Professor Price, but it was very moving to be at the college again. It's startling how much has changed in the five short years since I was there last. They now have a lift for crippled people opposite the Rahner Room (where Fundamental Theology lectures were held) and the old Student Common Room has been refurbished. I spent virtually no time there during my student days, being rather reclusive, but I always preferred the dingy old carpet to what is there now. I went into the Theology Library. This has now been filled with laptop computers but the stacks remain a treasure trove of knowledge. I spent a good hour perusing the works of Tyrrell, Rahner (in the original German) and old Missals. Unfortunately, due to the weekend, I was asked to leave at five o'clock. As a student, I spent many happy hours in that library, going over the Corpus Christianorum, the Loeb Classical Library and many tomes beside. I became very well acquainted with Catullus during my Heythrop days.

I went into the college chapel before I left. I went up to the sanctuary steps and remembered asking the Principal, then Dr John McDade SJ, for a "Tridentine Mass" to be celebrated once a week in 2007. He politely refused, in hindsight not a bad decision. The chapel remains as nice a brick gothic shrine as one could want in the West End of London. You just have to ignore the kitchen table in the nave.

The garden remains as beautiful (the Lourdes shrine notwithstanding) as ever. Sr Muriel of the Loreto Sisters used to maintain it, though she has since retired. I was filled with nostalgia all the while I was there. My Undergraduate days, though I was unaware of it at the time, were the best years of my life. Would that I could live them again!


  1. It is pleasant to think of you contentedly perusing in a library. Perhaps scheduled time in a library for directed study of a subject of interest to you would enhance the present and thus make them into the best years of your life. Now is a precious opportunity, and certain types of knowledge could take some years to acquire. I wonder whether you would want a degree in library science and then work in a library.

  2. FYI: I've moved