gaining a world-wide reputation as a hospital builder is Mother Francis, Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood, whose mother house is at Godalming, Surrey.
Mount Alvernia Hospital, Singapore, which she founded two years ago, is one of the most modern hospitals in the world, and a model for hospital building throughout the Far East. Mother Francis herself personally supervised every detail of the construction, spending about seven months a year for three years away from Surrey. until the hospital was finished. She had raised all the money herself.
The hospital has its own church. laundry, sewing rooms, bloodhank, and ambulance service. Even the ambulances are driven by the nuns themselves.
Patients have piped oxygen. wireless, and a telephone beside every bed. They can operate the automatic air-conditioners for themselves, and an electric signalling system means that they can call a nurse at any hour of the day or night.
But her enthusiasm for the care of the sick and needy has not stopped there. A few weeks ago. a medical and maternity hospital. with thirty beds. was opened in Ipoh. Malaya. Mother Francis, who is never in one place for long, will be going out there in January to visit it.
December will see the opening of an old people's home in Gibraltar. No less than 120 old people of slender means will be comfortable and cared for here, thanks again to Mother Francis.
From Singapore to Western Europe, Mother Francis is fast becoming a legend in her own lifetime.
Hard to beat
Mrs. Elspeth Orchard, mother of six, elected last week as the new National Secretary of the Union of Catho-lic Mothers, will have a long way to go before she breaks the record of the retiring secretary. Mrs. M. J. Brown, who has held the post for the past 25 years.
Mrs. Brown, originally from Cardiff, hut who has lived for many years in Southport, received the Ilene Mementi medal during her years as Secretary. Last week she received a special presentation from UCM members.
Mrs. Orchard has been National Vice-President as well as diocesan President of both the Westminster and Northampton dioceses. She
has written a number of UCM publications and was a one-time contributor to the women's feature in the CATHOLIC HERALD.
Off to S. America
Priests from the Nottingham and Liverpool dioceses are buying period return tickets this month which will take them to missions in South America. Fr. Patrick McCannon, for the past three years assistant priest at Sacred Heart, Warrington, left this week for Lima. where he will spend five years assisting the Columhan Fathers in their Peru Missions. Fr. McCannon has served at Christ the King, Broadgreen, and St. Columba's, Huyton.
Leaving later in the month is Fr. Ronald Hudson of St. Patrick's, Mansfield, Notts. He will spend 14 weeks in Lima learning Spanish before going on a five-year spell of missionary work in Peru or Chile.
There's news this week from another woman "going places". Miss Josephine Massingberd Ford, of Papplewick. Notts., has been appointed Professor of Religious Sciences at tVlakerere University, Kampala. Uganda.
Miss Ford is the first woman, and probably the first lay person, to occupy a Chair of this kind in the British Commonwealth. In 1960 she was authorised by the late Cardinal Godfrey to study Theology at an English University.
When she heard of her appointment, Miss Ford said: "I was ready to go anywhere to help Catholics learn theology. I had. of course, heard of the Chair at Makerere. but it did not enter my head that they might want a Catholic professor . . ."
"Conflict in a Changing Moral Climate" is the topical talk to be given by Fr. B. Loftus of Ushaw College during the annual National Conference of the Guild of Professional Catholic Social Workers, planned for November 2 and 3.
To take place in St. Margaret's Hotel, Newcastle on Tyne, the conference will also include a talk by Fr. H. McCabe, OP., of Manchester, on the controversial pamphlet "Honest to God."
Enquiries to Miss M. Kelly, I Holiday in Switzerland is the goal of All Hallows Secondary Modern School, Speke, Liverpool, many of whose 480 scholars; are collecting trading stamps, Twenty thousand have been collected since the summer holidays. Stamps will be exchanged for gifts, the gifts sold, and the proceeds put in the holiday fund.
The search for a new site for St. James' primary school. Twickenham. has been intensified since the building of a five-storey office block which cuts off daylight from some classrooms, and makes an already bad traffic problem worse than ever.
Memorial stone to be erected over the grave of Canon William Hayward. Chaplain to the Deaf, who died nearly a year ago is planned by his successor, Fr. C. Hollywood. Friends of Canon Hayward are invited to send their donations to Fr. C. Hollywood, St. Joseph's Catholic Mission for the Deaf, 431 Chester Road, Old Trafford, Manchester 16.