Friday, 1 July 2016

An Historical Retrospect by Mr W Troy

The photo above take in 1911 by Jersey portrait photographer Albert Smith shows eight Troy boys — the third generation to be born in Jersey. They are from left to right: George, Frank, Bob, Dick, Jack, Maurice, Edward and William (Bill).

I found this photo, and much more on the Troy family, as well as copious other photos on this excellent site:

William (Bill), Jack and George went on to become States Members., as can be seen in the States of Jersey 1957 Campaign Advert for Deputy by William.

But William also turned his hand to history, as this article in the Catholic Herald from 1956 reveals.

An Historical Retrospect: Catholicism in Living Memory
By Mr. William Troy

One of the benefits which advancing years bestows is the gift of being able to look back into times past and trace the birth of a good idea, its development in practical form and successful fruition. And so, today, as one of those who, by the grace of God, is approaching the psalmist's span, I can look back over the years to the time when the Mass, after centuries of absence, was brought back to the parishes of St. John and Trinity, brought back, at first, not in a church, but in a little schoolhouse set at a point almost between the two parishes.

That was 6 years ago. The little building, having fulfilled its purpose both as a schoolhouse and a Mass centre, is no longer in use; the idea put into practical form by the good Fathers of St. Matthew's Mission in the closing years of the last century bore such fruit that in good time the Church of St. John and St. Anthony rose proudly on a site at Ville-a-l'Eveque, Trinity-(Bishop's Town ) -to carry on the work of spreading the Faith. It is not surprising that in that little Church last month a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated to mark the diamond jubilee of the restoration of the Mass in both parishes.

I have been told that it might not be amiss to place on record in this little magazine some of the highlights of the sixty or so years which my memory, aided by a certain amount of delving into the " log books " of the Mission and friendly conversations with one or two stalwarts of the distinct have brought to mind.

In actual fact one has to reach back rather further than the jubilee period to get a true picture of how the Mass came back to St. John and Trinity.

In the Codex Historicus of St. Matthew's, in the small but legible handwriting of the Superior of the Mission, and under the date of 7th March, 1894, there appears, in French, an entry of which, below, I give a free translation.

“On Wednesday, 7th February, there was put into execution an important project, that of the foundation of a school at Hautes Croix, St. John. After having earlier searched in vain along the road from Hautes Croix to Sion we now find ourselves enabled to start one in Cross Cottage, Hautes Croix, tenanted by the Catholic family, Le Flem. We hope to open the school there on the 2nd April, on the Monday following the first Sunday after Easter. Our first school furniture will consist of 4 tables, 5 benches and a blackboard which is now being made."

And, on Monday, 2nd April, 1894 the school was opened with 10 scholars-5 boys and 5 girls. The good work went on quietly but steadily; the number of scholars increased until the rooms in the little cottage at Hautes Croix could no longer accommodate all those wishing to attend and more prominent school become necessary. We come therefore to the next entry in the Mission's "log book."

Under “January, 1896" we find the following record.

“Before the end of last year, on the 28th December, 1895, the field at St. John was bought. This was a memorable day for the Mission. Now, the school at St. John's is assured of continuing to live. A new era has opened for this corner of the Mission, an era of prosperity and of happiness. Of that one can have no doubt for the Cross is the true foundation of every lasting work. The school is full of promise, and Mademoiselle Therese Clarenval has been obliged to refuse pupils owing to having no accommodation for them. In the course of this month, January, the Mission has sold to the Dames de Ste. Andre part of the field acquired during the preceding month, in order that they might build on that site a permanent school. The sisters have already put the work in hand, and it is hoped that the school will be ready for Easter. We thank Divine Providence which has blessed us."

Now, all these signs of marked activity by the Catholic Missions in the island did not go unnoticed, and in the Chronique de Jersey, during the month of February, 1896, there appeared an editorial which apparently was intended to convey a stern " warning " to the inhabitants of this island that Jersey was, as the leader writer put it, " being invaded by Jesuits and Roman Catholics."

The leading article pointed out, inter alia, that a school was to be built near Grouville Arsenal, that it was understood a church and a house for the clergy was also to he built there; that a school was being built at Hautes Croix, and that " a great naval college " was being constructed at a cost of £15,000 to £19,000 behind Maison St. Louis. (This probably referred to Highlands College).

The article concluded “It is only a little more than one hundred years since the French attempted to take this island with their powder and cannon; happily they failed. To-day, however, they are trying to take over our little island in a different manner, and, unhappily (!), they look very much like succeeding."

From the comments of the good Father who copied this editorial into the Codex Historicus of the Mission it would not appear that he was a whit dismayed, though it is an undoubted fact that much bad feeling and a certain amount of hostility were engendered among sections of the islanders by these unfriendly comments in the Press.

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