" Transference of Vitality"
In a letter to Light Father Thurston, S.J., discusses the.view that in certain miracles and in cures at Lourdes there is a transference of vitalising force either from the energetic faith of the sufferer or from that of the bystanders.
He recalls an experience related by the French scientist, Dr. Carrel: "He instanced," writes Father Thurston, "an example in which his wife, herself a qualified physician, took part. She held in her arms a child, aged two and a half years, blind from birth, during a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. As the monstrance came opposite, tears began to stream from the child's eyes, hitherto closed. When it had passed, the child's eyes were open and seeing. This Mme. [Carrel] tested by dangling her bracelet before the child, who immediately clutched at it, but from the fact that she had never learned to calculate distance, at first failed to seize it. At the close of the procession Mme. [Carrel], who herself related to me the story, was conscious of an extraordinary exhaustion, for which there was no ordinary explanation."
Commenting on this, Father Thurston goes on : "I give this suggestion as the scientist gave it to me-the suggestion of some kind of transference of vitality; and make no comment upon it beyond saying that, superficially at any rate, it does not appear to me to conflict with the various accounts given in the Gospel, in which the faith of the bystanders, as well as of sufferers, appeared to be as integral an element in the miracle as the virtue which worked it."
" Some Virtue Went Out Of Him."
By a coincidence Mr. Beverley Nichols in The Fool Hath Said comes close to the same idea in his comments on the cure by our Lord of the woman with an issue of blood.
"I would ask you," he writes, "to say to yourself, aloud, those last few words: ' Knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned and said, "who touched my clothes?' " . . . 'Some virtue' went out of Jesus. He felt it, physically, in his bones and in his blood. It was quite different from the jostling of the crowd on all sides. It was some tremendous attraction, drawing 'virtue' out of his body. . . . To-day we would be inclined to grant that in a minor degree and in very special circumstances, similar phenomena may be possible. But in those days any such theories would have been regarded as simply crazy. It would have been utterly beyond the powers of the most brilliant sages, philosophers and doctors to invent such a story. It would have been as easy for them as to invent a complete description of a Zeppelin."
A BROCKLEY HOSTEL Reforming the Young Offender
St. Vincent's Hostel at 21, Breakspears Road, Brockley, S.E., to which institution probationer boys are sent from many parts, has now completed the fifth year of its good work in South London following the removal from Harpenden in 1931. The hostel is under the care of a sub-committee of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
During 1935 forty-two boys were admitted from 22 different courts under ten probation officers. The majority, of necessity, came from the Metropolitan Police Courts, but a few came from the Provinces, there being no hostel in or near their home towns.
Each boy admitted brings his own problem, and needs individual handling. The lads vary in mental development, most of them being ranked low in this respect; but usually they are of good disposition.
A Case from the Records
Not every case, of course, proves material for successful handling; but the hostel is well justified by its results as a. whole. Here, for instance, is the account, from the report; of what happened to one lad, nineteen years of age.
J.W.R. was charged with " begging" . and placed on probation. He can neither read nor write. He states that, having no work, he begged in order to give his mother 2s. 6d., so that she would go to her lodging-house and not " walk the streets " and steal from men she met in Waterloo Road. The mother was seen and the lad's story verified. She came from Ballinasloe 30 years ago and drink and vice had changed her into what she is now, a helpless and hopeless unfortunate. The lad had been in a mentally defective school, with little mental result but " handy " in the use of tools. During his six months' stay he was prepared for the Sacraments, and made his first Communion. On his discharge a knife grinding machine was purchased for him, and he is now earning over £2 a week.
The report appeals to all who are sympathetic with young people who have made a false step and wish to retrieve it.
THE WHITE FATHERS New Superior-General
Mgr. Birraux, Titular Bishop of Ombi and Vicar Apostolic of Tanganyika, has been elected Superior-General of the White Fathers
Mgr. Birraux was born at Bernex in France in 1883 and ordained in 1908. He was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Tanganyika in 1920.