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  • When Fr. Roger was in Africa, I wrote to him to ask if he knew of a catholic university I could go to in North America. He said St. John's University of Newfoundland was a good school. And also that Dorothy Pilkington, SSJ, had recommended the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Massachusetts. And so it was that the missionary guidance towards the momentous decision to travel from the Orient to New England came via Kisii, Kenya, Africa. For I chose to go to the then all-women Elms College, being used to attending an all-girls high school, St. Ursula's Convent Secondary School, founded by Irish Franciscan Mother John Bosco with Sr. Bernardine.

    Fr. Roger had been principal of the secondary school by the knoll where St. Michael's Church stood, in the last couple of years of British North Borneo. At the end of August 1963, the colony joined with the other British crown colonies of Sarawak and the Straits Settlements to form the new country, Malaysia, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. (Singapore later withdrew to form another Commonwealth nation.)

    From the west coast he went to the east coast (off which the oceanic island of Sipadan lies) where he resided alongside the river flowing quietly just below the rectory of the Holy Trinity Church with Fr. Michael Hurley, MHM, and Fr. Piet Van Breemen, MHM, who was principal of the Holy Trinity Primary School when I started school.

    Fr. Roger visited us in Banyan Drive. It was a source of merriment that he was offered indigenous and traditional cuisine. One popular dish at that time, and remains so today, was Pork Chops, Chinese recipe. Over 90 percent of trade on the east coast was done by the Chinese peoples and we regularly cooked with Chinese ingredients.

    The sixties was a time of change. Our Mill Hill priests shared that time with us, and then they left. Two decades later, I looked for Fr. Roger's address and found it in Africa.


    Music: Prelude in B Minor Op.28 No.6 by Frederic Chopin
    Performed by Jeremiah Jones Lisztonian.
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