The Journey Continues: THE JUNIORATE Letters home, 1963 - 65 - Part 5

Posted by Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ in Our Daily Lives

The Junior’s vocation to be a Jesuit is clearly not just his own personal call, but it seems to belong also to all his family , aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents who support him with letters and cards. There is no reference that March marked his 21st birthday in the Easter letter. His Easter card did not survive the years. Shows and programs seem to have been of greatimportance to him in the Juniorate. The Easter ‘shew’ is referenced in the April 2nd letter. There is an oblique reference to Catholic liturgical changes post Vatican II near the end of the same letter as he refers to the strain of learning new music for Easter. The April 6th letter records the blaze that destroyed the old villa mansion.


Guelph, Ontario

Easter [Mar. 26], 1964

Dear Mum and Dad and Family,

Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness on my birthday. The T-shirts are really appreciated and the food parcel was out of -this-world. I was asked to thank you very much. Everything was as fresh as could be, and I must say, everyone developed a special craving for your lovely ‘jam-jam’ like cookies. All in all we had a delightful collation. (We didn’t eat it theday of my birthday because I never am home for collation on Wednesdays. Wednesday is Zoology lab day.) I had just received one card before Wednesday, so when I got home from lab,late in the afternoon, there was a pile of cards and letters at my door.

All those dear sisters of mine sent cards and besides those, Grandmother and Grandfather Mack sent me a card. Aunt Josephine and Uncle Wendal also sent one. I sent them both Easter cards and thanked them for their thoughtfulness. Thank you also for your letter and for the film and flash bulbs [for the Brownie Starflash camera]. I shall take some pictures during holy week and will save the other film for the spring when all the trees bloom. Thanks also for the stamps. That was a pretty good hint. I’ll be more prompt with the next film. I hope you received the last one in good order.

I was rereading a letter you sent quite awhile ago in which you told me you would send me a letter that Fr. Emeric [a relative] had sent you. Is it still around or is it still making the round? I would like to drop him a note but what to say is a problem. I thought perhaps his letter would be a stepping stone.

 Last Saturday Brother Schner and I dyed a few eggs for Easter. We will decorate the dinner tables with them for Easter Sunday. It was a lot of fun, especially for a few other brothers who helped us, because they had never dyed eggs before. Brother ‘cook’ happened to have a bottle of mineral oil so we were able to oil the eggs and make them look shiny. We had to dye them quite early beause we have classes Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the rest of the week we will be sort of ‘on retreat’, that is we won’t have retreat points etc. but we will have silence, sing parts of the office, and have time for various other private devotions.

Frank's Room.Instead of trying to write many letters this year to wish people a happy Easter I have made an Easter Card on a stencil and had Brother Bonic run off a dozen or so cards. The results are not that professional looking but as I experiment in the future I hope to have better results.

Well, I should come to the point of this letter. The problem is I’m not able to find a good way to express it, so I shall just say “Happy Easter to all” and may you all experience a spiritual renovation which will aid you through the coming years to your ultimate goal.

Please extend my Easter greeting to all our relatives and friends.

Please continue to remember me in your prayers for I rely on them a lot.

Enclosed is my Easter gift to all of you.



P.S. Enclosed is a program from the house debate which was held a few days ago. [The program is lost]

I hope you are feeling better now mum + also that Lillian has gotten rid of her illness.



Guelph, Ontario

April 2, 1964

Dear Mum and Dad;

Time certainly flies especially during holidays. Here it is Thursday already and all the things I was going to do during the holidays are still not done. 

First of all thank you very much for the wonderful Easter parcel. It arrived on Holy Saturday and so did all of my Easter cards. However I saved everything for Easter Sunday.

Thank you very much for those lovely cookies (they were all so fresh and moist), the Easter Eggs (only four of them were broken. I added them to the Easter eggs for the table since we didn’t have too many.), the scrumptious fudge, and those lovely little chocolate eggs. Those pictures didn’t turn our too badly did they? I’ll send home the film I took over Easter soon. Also thank you for the lovely cards. Please thank my dear sisters and brothers for their cards and than you, Matt and Rosemary, for your lovely card.

All in all I had a wonderful Easter and hope all had a similar one. Even my holidays have been tremendous, so tremendous in fact, that I am not getting any school work done. Not that we are supposed to do any, but exams are to begin in about a month (Zoology final is in two weeks) and I have to complete one term paper and write another, and much much other work. During these holidays we have gone bowling, gone to play basket ball in a gym in Guelph, and listened tomuch music and seen a couple of good t.v. programs.

Our Easter Sunday ‘Shew’ was a success and we had a delightful time entertaining the community with our various acts. I took three pictures of the show which I hope will turn out. I will send you one that Brother Massie took that did. It is of (from left to right) me, Bro. Bonic (from Sask), Br. Price and Schner (from Winnipeg). We sang a few songs.

This is a very disorganized letter I’m afraid. I forgot to thank you for those pictures.

Enclosed is a program from our Easter Show.

Yesterday I had to go to finish a Zoology lab so I took Brother Schner along. He thought it very entertaining to watch me perform my operation on the pig. (I had to find and draw the pig’s brain. To do that you have to remove the skin and ears on the top of the pig’s head and then chip away the bone that encases the brain.)

The weather around here is certainly ‘unspringlike”! For the past week it has been below freezing and besides that there has also been a few snow flurries. But I hear you have been getting strange weather also.Tom, Frank, Jerry, Joe

I can’t think of anything else to say except that all the singing I had to do during holy week went off alright but for one occasion when I intoned the wrong psalm. In some last minute arrangement I had to sing a couple of lines of our Christmas, or rather, Easter Mass solo. The reason that came about was because we didn’t have enough practice time for everyone to learn it properly. Even that turned out alright.

So you see I have nothing to complain about on this end of the lien. I hope all of you are well by now. Take it easier all of you, especially you mum. And make Lillian take care of herself.

Karen [niece] wrote me the sweetest little letter this Easter. I enjoyed it very much.

May God bless all of you!

Please remember me in your prayers.





Guelph, Ontario

[Hand written letter]

April 6, 1964

Dear Mum and Dad;

I waited so that I might send that picture mentioned in the other letter. But since that timethere has been abit more news.

Last evening about 8:00 our villa house burned down. It was a huge blaze because, as you probably remember it was old and completely made of wood. The house fell together in a heap probably in about fifteen minutes because we noticed it was full blaze at about 8:15 and by the time we ran down (which took close to ten minutes) all that remained standing was the chimney. Perhaps it is a good thing it burnt now while all the forest was wet and while no one was staying in it. It would have been quite dangerous later in the year.

A fire truck came from Guelph but there was no need for it because the house was completely down by the time it got there and then Brother would not let them use the hose on the fire because it would be best to let the fire burn itself out for that way there would be less rubble to clear away. Besides it would have cost a fair penny because we are not within the city limits. There is a problem now with our villa days and where we will spend summer villa because we cannot rebuild at that site, for within a few years a dam project will put the place under water. But I suppose some solution will turn up.

A rain last night put the fire out completely so all this is left of the house is the cement foundations, twisted remains of beds, a thirty foot chimney, various other remains of stoves + dishes, thousands of nails, and ashes. I will send a picture of the blaze in the near future.

I hope you are all well.

Please pray for me.




All photos courtesy of Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ

About The Author

Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.

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