Saturday, December 31, 2011
THE SMACK OBs' 2012 - 2013 CALENDAR
Lordship Right Rev. Bishop Michaud’s Letter to Students October 26, 1941
My Dear Students,
You Must Be The Leaders In Uganda.
“I wish to take this opportunity of expressing my sincere gratitude to Rev. Brother Maurice, Principal, for the very keen interest he has taken in his work for this College, and the way he has led the students.
I have also to express my gratitude to all members of the staff for their loyal support and their unfailing efforts for the good of the school.
Last of all in this connection, and I think, the most important of all, I have to pay tribute to your spirit, boys, a spirit of real determination to do well which has animated you, in this, and in past years, a spirit which has earned success and which promises well for your future.
And this brings me straight to the subject of my address to you, To-day – YOUR FUTURE… You must become LEADERS. The aim of St. Mary’s is to produce Leaders in Uganda, in Africa. And you will never turn out to be leaders if you are not a personality; if you are not a character, a person having strength of mind.
You must be somebody… To be somebody, is to cultivate oneself, to study to make progress, with a heart full of enthusiasm, and a soul thirsting for beauty, eager for perfections; and no drawback, no suffering, can prevent us of reaching that goal.
Culture… What is culture? The culture of a mind is not measured by the quality of the things learnt. To be cultured, is not to know much; it is not to heap up plenty of knowledge; to store learning; it is not to be well of Science; a walking dictionary; it is not to be a living memento; it is neither to have read every thing, nor to have seen everything; it is not to be able to speak about everything even with a certain competence, one also may deceive others and make them believe he has culture.
One must oppose stored knowledge to “assimilate knowledge” (to assimilate, as you know, is to absorb and incorporate food into the system). Those are cultured who are able to assimilate knowledge.
For there is knowledge, which is only hung upon us, which is left at the door of our mind, and has not entered into it. That knowledge remains on the surface of our soul. On the contrary you have other learning, and knowledge, and information, which bind and tie themselves to our ideas, to our remembrance, to our passions, to our desires… they thus become an element, a part of our own self…they are in us flesh, blood, spirit and life. Between that knowledge and us, there is action and reaction, and it modifies itself and modifies us at the same time… there is assimilation. A person of culture digests what he learns… It is a man who has a good stomach…
To sum up … Culture is what is left in our mind, when we have forgotten everything… yes but the aptitude (the readiness in learning) is left, that is, the disposition or fitness to assimilate any knowledge.
Again to be a LEADER, to be somebody, it is not enough to be cultivated. One must before all conquer himself at the cost of long efforts.
It is true. But the results are worth the battle. Why should we give up out of discouragement? We conquer ourselves slowly, with method, with perseverance by a merciless struggle, without respite.
President Roosevelt once said that every success is made of 10% of inspiration and 90% of perspiration. How true it is!
Each one of us has his own deep tendencies, his own propensities, and we have to utilize them for the highest expression of our personality. It is our daily task to master our sensibility, to stimulate our energy.
To be somebody, is to forge, to coin our soul in accustoming her to the strife; that battle against our own self; against the passions: a contest which will cease only when we die…(for, we Catholics, know so well we bear the consequence of the original sin).
Such a hard struggle supposes evidently that we receive blows, and wounds… sometimes we may fall… but it is nature law: all transformation is preceded by a death. We cannot lift up our soul without pulling her away from the earth, and it is done painfully.
For there is not a minute of our life in which there is not a duty; and we know that duty does not beseech and pray, but it commands. And to answer the call of duty we must know to constrain ourselves, and if necessary, to suffer.
Efforts, endeavours, are the essential condition of success, or whatever name you call it… In spite of the roughness of effort we are wrong to fear it. Effort is the honour, the merit, and the beauty of life. The harshness of effort is cause of its fruitfulness.
Then, in a higher sphere, let us neglect nothing to sanctify our soul. For what are we to be? Leaders? Yes, but CATHOLIC LEADERS. And a Catholic Leader must be able to sanctify himself by sacrificing himself. When you raise yourself above your passions, above your weakness, and your mediocrity, it is not to enjoy a peace bought at such a cost, but to be full of kindness to all; but to understand more and give out more: in a word TO SERVE…
To be a Catholic Leader, to be somebody, to be a character, to live very high, to control our passion, we must SERVE.
Christ the King our master, our Divine Model, did not simply give the example of an extraordinary life, of an admirable teaching; but He was kind; He did any one service: He healed the sick, fed the hungry, helped the humble, and that conquered their hearts, and prepared them to hear and accept His gospel. To serve … We must not forget this lesson of our Lord.
Of course let us develop in ourselves the natural qualities which will enable us to be a living example to those we live with; let us dream of the conquest of souls… Let us acquire the Science necessary to realize our aims. But all that must not make us forget to act… ACTION. It is all very good to be a true knight, ardent, polite, pure, enthusiastic, devoted, learned and full of good ideas… But if we do not act… our value as Catholic Leaders will be poor.
Let us live in the reality and not in dream.
Then, my dear students work here in St. Mary’s, not only to prepare your future task, but also to give your next neighbours, some peace and happiness. Do not look for some great and sublime occasion to serve, to devote yourselves, you perhaps often forget that a humble brother near you is just waiting for the word which would cheer him up; the gesture, which would help and save him. Do not look too far away, and too high up, but look in front of you, and at your sides.
Thus, the young leader-to-be, in St. Mary’s, not only must dream high, and see on a large scale, in grand style; he must not only be a good example; but he must HELP the others… to serve… He will help the poor, the sick, he will help his friends; his fellow students, charity of his affection; charity of his good advices; of his time…with patience he will share their joys, and their sorrows.
In short, the Leader-to-be will not only be polite and correct, but also will sacrifice himself, and devote himself to the material and moral services of his brother, and show others what is kindness… Action…Service…
Now I want to consider another important aspect of our subject. RESPONSIBILITY, that is, that for which one is responsible, is accountable, is answerable. A leader must have a sense of responsibility.
Yesterday is yesterday; it teaches us, it brings us experiences, traditions, energies; and also evils, which we must ignore and throw away… Yes, but yesterday should not make us forget our responsibility.
For you, young Catholic Leaders, your responsibilities are three fold: First: You have the responsibility of your soul, which you must save by all means. You are responsible for your own soul, and nobody else is.
Then prepare yourselves for the struggle of life. You have also the responsibility of your temporal future, which you must prepare in acquiring the science and knowledge and experience necessary.
Especially here in this College, you make your own tools for your future life. Learn before all to think. It is a great privilege to have the liberty of thinking and judging by ourselves. Do not accept to be condemned to deal with ready made opinions you collect around you, repeating what others repeat from house to house: common place – topics, and common place subjects…
Be yourselves… be the authors of your own convictions, and work without respite to grow interiorly… in a word be personal. Otherwise you do not live…you vegetate…
Your second responsibility is the souls of your brothers; the souls of those who share your life. You must try to communicate to them by dint of devotedness and sacrifice, the ardent faith, which should be yours. Thy Kingdom come!
Your third responsibility is the future of your country. It is indispensable to prepare yourselves, with all those of your generation, in order that in 10, 15, or 20 years you be ready to become the leaders of the family, of the profession, of the city and the country…yes but Catholic Leaders.
Young students of St. Mary’s do you think of this threefold responsibility? Do you prepare to shoulder it? If not, you will betray your cause, and leave the way opened to the enemy. Indeed such an effort is hard; it seems to be severe… it claims of you the sacrifice of your selfishness: and that means a lot. It requires a personal work of training and of radiance, which precisely frightens our instinctive laziness and our natural cowardice. But be sure that such endeavour, by self-denial, and abnegation and perseverance and an incessant struggle, will merit you the success you desire.
Again have you, with the knowledge of your responsibilities towards your soul, towards your brothers, towards your country, that of the work to be taken in hand, to answer their exigencies? Here are the very problems, which command your future.
From the solution given by you, Young Catholics, a new Christendom may arise in Africa. That and no less should be your aim. It will be a long and arduous task to attain it. But you shall certainly not achieve your purpose if you hold back timidly for fear that you may make mistakes. Of course you shall make mistakes, but you shall, by the grace of God, make also much that is right, and good, and is lasting.
But be sure of one thing. Without Christ in the school you fight in vain to become true leaders. Education without religion is like a barren land. And a country without religion sooner or later marches to its doom. I know well that we agree on this point.
It is the Holy Father who said: “There are three virtues youth have to exercise in our days: obedience, purity of heart and piety.”
First OBEDIENCE, which Our Saviour exercised in His youth. Obedience is no weakness, but voluntary self-subordination under a principle, an act of virtue.
In the second place I mention the purity of heart, which I read in your eyes when you receive the Holy Communion. Purity is the reserve of all the spiritual and bodily forces, and a treasure for the whole life.
Thirdly, piety must be named and I remember a proverb: Who knows how to pray, is a man. Whoever would exercise virtue, wants the help of the Highest, and receives that grace by the power of prayer.
May Christ the King to whom we have devoted our lives this morning, on this great Feast Day, help us all to be obedient, to be pure of heart, and be pious. Thus, no doubt we shall be one day real Catholic Leaders in Africa… Christ the King must reign over us first, and over every creature…
Thy Kingdom come!”