Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hilda Van Stockum and Trinity College



While I was looking for the picture of our "Little Kings" for my last Christmas post (our last name means little king and so for the purpose my daughter counts as a king too, and indeed why not?) -- I found this picture I took at Trinity College in Dublin last summer. It was absolutely pouring rain that day in June, and they didn't let you so much as bring out a camera inside the college, but I did get this one outside shot.

Since I know Love2Learn Mom likes Hilda van Stockum (our family is combination Irish Dutch just like theirs and HVS's) I thought she and perhaps some others of my Catholic and/or Irish and/or literature-loving friends would like this photo. Unfortunately, I must have had trouble maneuvering my umbrella so I didn't get a complete good shot of the insignia on this bench, but I guess you can abstract the universal from the 2 particulars, at least a bit. And you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.




You can see a photo of the wedding of Spike Marlin, who is memorialized here on the bench in the photo, and Hilda Van Stockum, in 1932 at Trinity College, if you go here (and scroll down a bit)

This has nothing much to do with Hilda Van Stockum, but outside of Trinity College I also got this extraordinary building title:


I had to get a picture of that, though I didn't know at the time that it is the oldest charity in Dublin (I'm thinking they mean the oldest bourgeoisie/layman operated one, or the oldest one still in existence).

To tie in the charity building photo with Van Stockum, here is a St Nicholas Day Message by Hilda Van Stockum. She writes (about the advertising /consumerist rush at Christmas, I suppose):


In a sense, how we use our money determines not only our own lives but those of others too. If we wish for foolish, vulgar or ugly objects, and make others want them, a certain number of people will spend their lives making them. What we ask for, will be supplied. What we make, others will be induced to ask for. But is there no place in these transactions for a thought as to their usefulness, or moral value?

This is a very complex and difficult question. What one person considers good and necessary, may be despised by another. There are no hard and fast rules. But I do suggest that this side of the matter is worthy of attention.

I think we all have a responsibility, whether we like it or not. We will be answerable one day, I believe, for the way in which we spent our money, or caused others to spend it.


Hilda van Stockum died only last year in 2006, on All Saints Day.

One of her six children remembers her saying:

'If you aren't hungry for an apple, you aren't hungry at all!'


That makes me laugh, because my mother used to say exactly the same thing to us.

She also loved dressing up as St Nicholas for his feastday, according to another one of her children.

And she thought the world needs more Catholic philosophers (I am just reading Pope John Paul II's Fides et Ratio which makes the same point!)

Here is a cute story about her conversion (she was brought up by atheists and became a Catholic after her marriage).

St. Thomas Aquinas, G.K. Chesterton, Fulton Sheen, Ronald Knox. but it was Arnold Lunn's "Now I See" that finally brought Mother to the Catholic Church. She always said that when she closed the book it suddenly hit her: "I'm not thinking about being a Catholic, I am a Catholic!" With that she went out into the street and asked the first passer-by "Where is the nearest Catholic Church?" She went up to the rectory door, knocked, and said to the priest who opened it: "I'm a Catholic and I want to be baptized!" After a few enquiries he said: "You're a case for Fr X." It turned out that this was an elderly priest, a bit confused, but eager to make converts. After talking to Daddy, Mother went through the classes and the time came for her to be received into the Catholic Church. "What about the children?" she asked. And Daddy said "You better look after them". So we were all baptized together. The priest was a bit harassed with three children and Mother to baptize, and in the end he asked anxiously: "Have I done them all, or have I done one twice?"

1 comment:

Love2Learn Mom said...

How wonderful! Thanks for sharing that! :)