The Year 1945: War and Peace

War and Peace in the Forties; 1945 is the turning point. Six years of global conflict end after claiming 50-60 million lives. The Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan, surrender. The allies, led by U.S. presidents Roosevelt and Truman, Britain’s Churchill and the Soviets’ Sta1in, preside over an uneasy truce, which the new United Nations is to safeguard. Mackenzie King is still Canadian prime minister. George VI is king of the now shaky British Commonwealth. Pius XII has been Pope since 1939.

China has 49,000 subscribers who pay $1 annually. Fr. Sharkey is editor. Monsignor John E. McRae is the first superior general of the Scarboro Society. Monsignor Fraser is back in Canada, temporarily, after his safe refuge in Manila during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Several Scarboro priests survived Japanese internment in China during the war years. Other Scarboro members and Grey Sisters also returned safely to their postings in 1944 after having evacuated missions during the Japanese invasion.

In 1943 the Society began mission work in the Dominican Republic, the first of many new fields of service to come in Latin America, the West Indies and Asia.

Some representative headlines from 1945 editions: “Calling All Catholics” (text of a radio address by Fr. John McGoey); “Chinatown, My Chinatown” (“The colourful story of Vancouver’s Chinese Catholic parish” where Fr. Charles Murphy is pastor); “Letter From Internment” (delayed account from Frs. Michael Carey, Joseph Murphy and Thomas McQuaid, since released by their Japanese captors); “Dominican Days” (in which Fr. Frank Diemert shares some Latin American mission impressions); and “God Is Charity” (“The story of the Grey Sisters of Pembroke in China,” written by an unnamed sister).

Besides major articles, 1945 issues carried a variety of regular features, some of them perennials from previous years. Examples: The Bulletin Board, which reported the whereabouts of Scarboro personnel; The Little Flower’s Rose Garden, including a comic-strip telling of “The Miracle at Fatima” where the Blessed Virgin was said to have appeared to three poor Portuguese children in 1917; and Monsignor McGrath’s opinion column, From the Crow’s Nest. His booklet, “Fatima, Hope of the World”, an interpretation of the prayers for peace attributed to the Blessed Virgin, was advertised extensively in 1945 editions. Samplings from these pages:

  • From an unidentified religious who described the Grey Sisters’ nursing apostolate in Lishui, where they also operated a boarding and day school for Chinese girls: “Nursing the sick poor is the precious privilege of all missionary Sisters, and in Lishui it is our chief occupation. Early each morning the Sisters disperse to their different fields, some to the hospital dispensary where hundreds of patients flock daily; others to make the rounds of the city homes where bed-ridden patients anxiously await them; others again are off to an early start to the outlying villages.”
  • Scarboro appeal: “Lend Lease For Christ; Invest In Eternal Happiness”: “We are desperately in need of your help! After 25 years of sacrifice, suffering and toil in our prefecture of Lishui, Chekiang, our poor missionaries are homeless, our churches, schools and residences bomb-blasted ruins… We make this urgent appeal to all our friends in Canada and Newfoundland.”
  • From Fr. McGoey’s radio address to Edmonton youth: “It is safe to say that Christianity, for China or any other pagan country, is the key to progress, to the elevating of the people to a higher physical as well as higher spiritual life. It is this which will cultivate in these nations a way of thought similar to our own, and put them on a plane with other nations.”
  • Fr. R. Reeve described the stoic endurance he had observed among Chinese civilians during the conflict with Japan: “War, shortage of food, death, destruction, sickness, disease, and sorrow. There was something about these people that you couldn’t help but admire. They tried to smile in spite of everything.”
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