The Lady Smiled At Me

By Sister Redempta Twomey SSC

Columban Sister Redempta is Assistant Editor of Far East, the magazine of the Columbans in Ireland and Britain. Pope Benedict XVI will be on pilgrimage in Lourdes from 13 to 15 September.

In the semi-darkness of the confessional, the priest, Fr Romain listened to the little girl. Poor and unlettered, she told him of the strange event that had happened two days previously on the eleventh of February 1858 in the grotto of Massabielle. In the local dialect she said, ‘I saw something white, in the shape of a lady.’ A good man, he listened without showing any interest though he was amazed at the coherence of her story. One detail in particular struck him: as she bent to remove her shoes and stockings to cross the little stream and join her companions in gathering sticks, Bernadette said she heard a noise, ‘like a gust of wind.’ The priest thought of the ‘gust of the wind’ at Pentecost in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2. Was this too the Holy Spirit? It was then that the child saw ‘something white’ and knelt and prayed the rosary in front of her.

Christmas In Teesport

Tony McAvoy

Tony McAvoy, a layman, is AOS (Apostleship of the Sea) port chaplain in Teesport, in the northeast of England. He reports on the efforts of his pastoral team to bring some Christmas cheer to seafarers. is the website of the AOS worldwide and  that of Great Britain


By Robert Ellsberg

Gandhi believe that exploitation was made possible because by the active and passive cooperation of the exploited themselves. How else to explain that a single trading company, eventually reinforced by the thousand soldier, held hundreds of millions in captivity in their own lands? India’s moral weakness and visions of religion, caste, class, and language, were Britain's strength. Also, the nation’s educated were enthralled by Western culture and manner. A country that had been self- sufficient for food and clothing for a thousands of years and that of one principal of textile for centuries had been impoverished in the space of a hundred years. Land was taken up for the cultivation of cash crops like indigo; food was hoarded by the profiteers and famine for the first time swept over the countryside while wheat was exported to England. Peasants were forced to sell all their crops to pay massive taxes, only to re purchase their own food at increase prices. Government – supported moneylenders gave credit to farmers at staggering interest rates. The cottage textile industry was ruined with the importation of cheap English cloth made from Indian cotton. The village industries, which had supplies the peasant with 20- 60% of their basic needs, were destroyed. With nothing to replace these, industries the villages, once the cradle of Indian civilization, fell into ruin and stagnation. The cities, strongholds of British power and money, began to swell, draining the countryside of its population and wealth, as the country grew deeper into dependence on Britain.