fbpx

COMMUNICATION BY FRED MITCHELL MP MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND IMMIGRATION House of Assembly 22 April 2015 On 80th anniversary of St Anselm’s Church

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

sildenafil sales times;”>COMMUNICATION BY FRED MITCHELL MP

MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

 AND IMMIGRATION

House of Assembly

22 April 2015

On 80th anniversary of St Anselm’s Church

Mr. Speaker on behalf of the government I wish to extend to the congregation of St Anselm’s Church the congratulations and best wishes on the celebration of its 80th anniversary as a congregation of the Roman Catholic faith serving the Fox Hill Community.

I was privileged to attend a service of commemoration last evening hosted by Monsignor Preston Moss who himself hails from Fox Hill. He was joined by Rev. Dr. Philip Rahming.

Speaking on behalf of the Council of Churches in Fox Hill was the Rev. J. Carl Rahming of the St Paul’s Baptist congregation.

This year Monsignor Moss will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a priest.  I wish to congratulate him.  I thank him for his service to the Catholic community and to Fox Hill, his leadership and exemplary care and support for that community and the wider Bahamian community.  Indeed I dare say more than any other Bahamian he represents the face of Catholicism in The Bahamas.

There will be a service of thanksgiving I am advised don 3rd May with the Archbishop Patrick Pinder residing.

I wish to quote from a lecture that I gave at Mt. Carey Baptist Church on 7th August about Fox Hill and its history in which I spoke about St Anselm’s Church.  Mt. Carey is the oldest of the churches in the village.  I quote:

I would like now to turn to the institutions that created, nurtured, supported and a shaped Fox Hill into what it is today. I would say that principal amongst these are the churches and the schools. The schools are the Sandilands Primary School, St. Anselm’s Day School, St. Anne’s Anglican School and St. Augustine’s College. These schools have been joined by L. W. Young Junior High which was once a senior and junior high and the Doris Johnson Senior High. In addition, many of the churches in the area have day schools like Macedonia, St. Marks and at one time Mt. Carey. All of these schools and churches helped and help to shape what Fox Hill is today.

I want to begin with St. Anselm’s which in the scheme of things is a relative new comer to the area. But I begin with them because there is a record of conditions in Fox Hill recorded by the nuns who came to teach up here in Fox Hill which I think you will find instructive.
The church St. Anselm’s was established by Fr. Bonaventure Hansen, a Benedictine monk on 29th August 1933. Sisters of Charity from Mt St. Vincent in New York in the United States Sister Marita Anne Fox and Sister Veronica Mary McAghan were assigned to establish the St. Anselm’s All Age School as part of the Catholic System. There is an extract from one of their letters which was published in Upon These Rocks by Colman Barry, a history of the Catholic Church in The Bahamas and quoted in a booklet about the history of St. Anselm’s:


“We arrived August 28th 1933. The following day we went to Fox Hill, where we were heartily welcomed by Father Bonaventure Hansen, the catechist, James Roberts, and a group of future pupils and prospective Catholics. Father Bonaventure announced at Sunday Mass that school would open on Monday and that the boys and girls of all ages were welcome.
“We sisters arrived on Monday equipped with paper, pencils and lunch. An iron wheel was struck with a hammer upon our arrival. Our registration consisted of us trying to get names first only; e.g. Mizpah, Gladstone, Livingston. When we asked for the last name, there was no response. We found out later that they use the term title for surname. We tried to find out where they lived, we were told “Down so-by the big cotton tree, or Up so-by the sapodilla tree.”

 

“The children aged from four to sixteen, we first grouped according to age, later according to ability; the older ones I took into the rented hall. For several days Sister Marita Anna taught the younger ones under the big cotton tree. After about two weeks, Fr. Bonaventure hired a room in an empty house called the Annex. Father arranged to have movable pieces of wood added to the backs of the benches, in the old hall, which we used as desks. One of the first things we got started was a sewing class after school, so that the children could be properly clothed. Our friends in New York supplied us with blue denim for the boys’ pants and plaid material for dresses for the girls. This class drew a large gathering of women.”

“I should say parenthetically that the first baby to be Christened from the village as a Catholic was the late Benjamin Demeritte, whose son the now Fr. Reggie Demeritte is a Catholic priest and serves the church now in Exuma.


“Many of the leaders of the Fox Hill community also came from the church and foremost amongst them I would suggest are Monsignor Preston Moss as did three of the leaders of the Fox Hill Festival Committee in its modern incarnation the late Eric Wilmott, William Rahming and Charles Johnson all now deceased.”

 

Once again I congratulate the congregation of St Anselm’s Church.

End