Communicating with God: One Person at a Time (Chapter 3, page 2 of 11)


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Chapter 3

Money - or the lack of it - was a constant problem to most of the students even though all the necessities were paid for by the Diocese and there was little or no opportunity to spend on entertainment, drink or outings. The holiday wages I earned went mainly on transport. I had to make sure that there was enough money in the kitty to get home for the summer. Spending was restricted to the strictly controlled and - now accepted as evil - habit of smoking and the odds and ends which one needed for stamps to keep contact with the outside world, soap etc to keep handsome and hygienic and the purchase of paper, ink, typing ribbon (amazing how often the old fashioned sort could be run and re-run through a portable typewriter) and frugal sweets such as Polo mints. The odd thing was that whenever I reached rock bottom in finances - which meant that only £5 were left in the Post Office book - either the old Canon from Aylesbury or some other kind and usually unexpected benefactor would send a postal order or note and things would look up again. Or the Catholic Needlework Guild sent some pairs of socks, pyjamas or shirt to worthy students. These were invariably made for gorillas so that I resold them to bigger students and solved my financial problems for another few weeks. Mr. Micawber was my patron saint and I never went below the £5 in the savings book [which also brought in 2 ½% interest per annum - 6 old pennies per £1]. My last two years were spent in comparative opulence: Bishop Parker had negotiated a grant from some obscure Irish society rejoicing in the name of St. Joseph's Young Priests' Society and based in Dublin. Every quarter thenceforth I received a postal order for £10 and the first letter I wrote after ordination was to thank the Society and assure them that I had made it - just.

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