Don Giuseppe Tirello racconta i suoi ricordi riguardanti le attività in Inghilterra, con particolare riferimento all'avvio della presenza ad Up Holland, nel Lancashire.
At the age of 13 years Joseph Tirello was sent near Carrara (famous for its marble) to continue his studies. During the journey he stopped in Genoa for four days and whilst strolling round the harbour, young Joseph was approached by an English sailor who asked for some information. Joseph could not reply of course and from that very moment onwards he had a great desire to go to England to learn the English Language. It was twenty years later before his desire came to fruition. Fr. Bidone was a well known Confrere in the S.D.P., having been in England since 1949. He was looking for helpers to establish the Society of Don Orione in London.
What joy for Joseph now a Priest, when Fr. Bidone approached him in Velletri near Rome and asked him if he would follow him to London and help him with this task. Three months later on December 22 nd , Fr. Joseph was being met at Victoria Station in London by Fr. Bidone. A one year course in the English Language quickly followed at the Victoria College in London where he was awarded the Cambridge Certificate. No surprise that Fr. Joseph could master our language so quickly. He was already fluent in the French Language and when he was told that everyone in England spoke French he was on Cloud 9. He soon came down to earth though when he found out the truth!
A few years later in 1958 Fr. Bidone advertised in the Universe for help in opening a second home for elderly people. Fortunately at this time a very wealthy refined Victorian Lady - Miss Cecilia Cooper who was previously a member of the Church of England but had recently converted to Roman Catholicism read the advert and invited Fr. Bidone, Fr. Joseph and Fr. Manfredi for a meal; in a dingy cottage on an island in the River Thames. At the conclusion of the meal Fr. Joseph was asked if he would like anything more to eat, but not yet being fully conversant with the language of English table manners he replied "No- I'm full!" to which Miss Cooper retorted, "it is not polite to say that! You must say, I've had enough thank you!" At this meal Miss Cecilia Cooper donated her beautiful second home to the S.D.P. and so Hampton Wick, near Kingston upon Thames was born. The story now moves to the other beautiful home - "The Farmhouse", in Roby Mill.
After six years in Hampton Wick on the 16 th July 1960 Fr. Bidone sent Fr. Joseph to Roby Mill - Walthew Green Farm (a near derelict building dating from l680). Providentially all faith denominations knew that the Farmhouse had been empty for some time and they offered help to refurbish it. The Sisters in the nearby Carmelite Convent were themselves refurbishing their own Chapel and they gave all heir good furniture to the Farmhouse. Meanwhile Religious Life still continued in Roby Mill.
FARM TAKE-OVER BEGINS TODAY
A new seminary costing £ 120,000 is to be build at Upholland near Wigan, by the Sons of Divine Providence. It will be the Order's first foundation for vocations in Britain. Sixty-three acres of grassland close to the Liverpool diocesan seminary of St. Joseph's, Upholland, have been purchased for the new building at the fantastically low price of ?3,400. This price includes a 17 th- century farmhouse.
Today the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, eight postulants will move in to the farmhouse to begin their priestly studies. They have been busily renovating it as a temporary residence for the past three weeks. A stable on the farm is being converted into a chapel. The altar for the chapel has been given by the Carmelites at Upholland; it has quite a history attached to it, for it has been in use at the Carmel for over 40 years, and during that time no less than four archbishops have celebrated Mass on it (Archbishop Whiteside, Archbishop Downey, Archbishop Godfrey, and Archbishop Heenan).
Work on the new £ 120,000 seminary will begin next February. When completed, in August, there will be accommodation for 50 students. Up till now, students offering themselves to the Sons of Divine Providence in Britain have had to sent aboard or put on the long finger.
On Tuesday, noon, Cardinal Godfrey sent the following message to Fr. Paul Bidone, superior of the Sons of Divine Providence at Hampton Wick, Kingston-on-Thames: "May God bless the Little work of Divine Providence, and may He prosper and bring to success the efforts of the Congregation of Don Orione to build a new seminary in Lancashire".
FIRST SEMINARY IN BRITAIN FOR DON ORIONE'S ORDER
Fr. Joseph was in charge of twelve students who used to cycle to St. Joseph's Seminary in Upholland to study. Six years later Fr. Joseph returned to London and he was succeeded by Fr. Angelo Quadrini. Fr. Bidone needed help and Fr. Joseph helped him for a further three years. Unfortunately our cold, sometimes inhospitable climate did not suit Fr. Joseph who had been born and lived in a hot country and so Fr. Joseph returned to Rome in 1969 and was put in charge of the Don Orione Centre in Monte Mario (a place well known to recent pilgrims from Roby Mill who dared to climb the very high golden Madonnina Statue overlooking Rome one night and then to learn that it was blown down in a gale one week later)!! In 1978 the Monte Mario area of Rome became a very political area.
The Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped a few hundred yards away from the Don Orione Centre and later killed. Fr. Joseph wanted a quieter place in which to live and work. So from 1978-81 he went to live in a mountain house in the Appennines.
Don Orione had stayed there for one month to help with the rescue in the 1915 earthquake. This was the second earthquake during the life time of Don Orione, the first being in 1908 on 28 th December when one hundred and thirty thousand people died in Messina in Sicily. Many orphan boys were "rescued" by Don Orione and some of them followed him, by becoming members of the Society of Don Orione.
Next Fr. Joseph was sent to Herculeum (Ercolano) near Naples in Vesuvius Country. Fr. Joseph opened a Day Centre there on the Provincial Road to Vesuvius only half a mile away from the coast with a wonderful view of the Bay of Naples. This House Centre Training School (opened by Archbishop Ursi in 1981) is open from 9 am-4pm and is now attended by boys and girls from 8-18 years of age, although originally its was boys only. Fr. Joseph had the job of collecting children from the surrounding areas in a minibus in the mornings and overseeing their return home safely after school was over. This lasted for about three years until in 1984 Fr. Terzi the Superior General invited him to go to Zarqa in Jordan on 16 th September to open a New Vocational Training Centre for young Palestinian men both Muslim and Christian. The second language spoken here was English, the area having been twenty years under the British Protectorate. This was the first Don Orione Centre in Jordan. The two year courses offer engineering and woodwork. Good News from here as the School has been upgraded to a technical College. Once again the climate did not suit Fr. Joseph.
This time it was too hot and so after ten years he returned once again to Italy and later to London and Lancashire. Whilst Fr. John Perrotta was Regional Superior based in London, the Farmhouse in Roby Mill was extensively refurbished to house the S.D.P. by Frank Hoy a local builder and also a friend of the Sons of Divine Providence. In 2002 Fr. John came to Roby Mill as Superior. Many good, loyal friends of the S.D.P. have been made and Fr. John's Garden Fete on the May Bank Holiday Monday has become famous nationwide as has the First Friday Mass and Meetings afterwards also the Retreats held in the Farmhouse. Fr. John has revived several traditions such as the May and Corpus Christ Processions and recently The Rosary Rally. Perhaps one lasting memory which supporters of these events will not forget will be Fr. John's Homemade Soup. -Absolutely delicious! Meanwhile Fr. Joseph is alive and kicking and has just celebrated his 89 th Birthday - not obvious when you meet him. So could any family, friends or inhabitants back in 1921 in the tiny village of Agliano near Turin in North Italy, ever have envisaged that this poor little newborn baby boy in the same village where 35 years earlier another poor young teenager (later Saint Luigi Orione) his father, grandfather and uncle were cobbling the streets and squares of Agliano, would grow up to bring such aid and comfort to so many people the world over. It is amazing to think that today Fr. Joseph is still following in the footsteps of St. Luigi Orione and is truly " walking with saints ".
WALKING WITH SAINTS
Walking with Saints? Is that possible in this day and age? Well, for one person still alive and active day by day in our community of Roby Mill, nr. Wigan, apparently that is so. The Saint in question? St. Luigi Orione of course, a name that is so familiar with our Roby Mill worshippers, Newsletter readers and all our friends not only nationwide but also world wide . And who has the honour of having not only known, studied and worked with St. Luigi Orione but has trudged the streets of Italy with this Saint who was born near Tortona in the north of Italy in 1872? The person so blessed with this honour is Fr. Joseph Tirello, a Son of Divine Providence, a Society founded by Don Orione. Fr. Joseph was born in Agliano, a little village near Turin in Northern Italy in 1921. His family were Vintners but there was no secure future living in this village as weather constantly destroyed the grapes and NO GRAPES - NO WINE! After attending his village Primary School, Fr. Joseph attended Secondary School in Tortona where at 12 years of age he had the good fortune to meet Don Luigi Orione.
Don Orione knew Fr. Joseph's village well because at the age of 13 years in 1885, Luigi was working with his father, grandfather and uncle cobbling the streets and market square. Luigi slept in a stable there but constantly went to church to pray that he would be allowed to become a priest (in those days it was very difficult for poor people to become priests) in order that he would be able to relieve and improve the lot of poor people. Don Orione had a powerful personality and had two very penetrating eyes. He suggested to Fr. Joseph that he should work for the needy and the poor and said "Come with me and we'll do the same job!" And in 1933 that was exactly the decision which Fr. Joseph Tirello made. From 1934-37 Don Orione went to work in Buenos Aires in Argentina after which he returned to Italy. Now at the age of 16years Fr. Joseph went to the Noviciate House at Bra near Turin and on the 7 th November 1937 he was personally received along with 50 other Confreres by Don Orione. He took the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience as a member of the Society of Don Orione.
Sadly on 12 th March 1940, Don Orione passed away. He did not forget his protègèe however. He left a Letter of Instruction that Fr. Joseph and several other Confreres were to finish their studies in Rome at the Gregorian University. So in 1943 Fr. Joseph went to Rome, a three day journey due to the war and in 1947 Fr. Joseph Tirello was ordained Priest in Rome beginning his ministry mostly in Seminaries for students in and around Rome. In the next Newsletter you can read about the Ministry of Fr. Joseph Tirello in England and how the beautiful "Farmhouse in Walthew Green, Roby Mill" came into being.
A BAFFLING "DAY OUT"
It was Fr. J's hand that found the ticket which caused T and C to be transported on a mysterious journey. It all started at the Farm House on one wet and windy morning. We had just finished our eleven o'clock drinks and had been waved off by Fathers J and P. We were climbing into our transport, a Formula 1 car to be driven by D and navigated by E. "We'll follow plan A" said D to E. "Not so" said E "It will depend on the weather" "It could be B or even plan C we'll have to see the weather. Whether or not it certainly gets better". Plan B it is then "they both agreed and swerving the car along some narrow but charming lanes we arrived at the village of Morris. It was now time for lunch so D parked the car adjacent to a cafe appropriately called The Mallard.
By now we were creating our own private "lake district'. The food was scrumptious so much so that D who seemed familiar with the owner sampled a variety of soups before deciding that she didn't like any and settled for cheese on toast, followed by ice cream for four and that was just for D! Meanwhile T and C tucked in heartily to all that there was-after all they weren't paying the bill! Entertainment was provided after lunch by some colorful characters dressed in silks and bells who seemed content to dance their time away, occasionally cudgelling each other with large sticks. During this period T&C had managed to win prizes in the Village Hall which was the focal point for the Primary School Fair. Winning on the Bottle Tombola was a doddle for C after experiences at Roby Mill. D&E now decided it was time to put plan C for "Church" into action or was it plan D for ?Don't know?"
It must have been plan C as we found ourselves in an ancient church building and were required to find a Vinegar Bible -vinegar should have been spelt vineyard- and a tomb stone which instanced the death of a child on the 30 th Feb. 1782- must have been a double leap year. This didn't prove any problem to T who was enthralled by the Japanese Choir gathered in the sanctuary, preparing for an evening concert. So we said "tai chi" to the Vicar and left to start plan E for "excitement", which was quickly abandoned as a result of another heavy downpour although we did manage to photograph four of the runners complete with umbrellas in the saddling enclosure. So it was back to plan D for "Danger!" This involved racing the car along some old runways belonging to a second world war Air Force site whilst admiring the local countryside as it flashed by until we came to a halt at a private residence which once again D seemed to know quite well. There I am happy to say we put plan E for "Eat" into action. A meal fit for a queen, prepared and served by D&E. We then snoozed and watched TV until it was time to depart for home. I think we must have taken off on one of the runways, so quickly did we arrive back at the Farm House to be greeted by Fr. J with mugs of hot coffee. It was midnight and time for plan S for "Sleep" T&C wish to say "goodnight" and to thank D&E for a super day out.
Not only was this a baffling yet super day out for T and C but it is also baffling as to whom D and E are. We will get to the bottom of this mystery somehow, so if you read the December Newsletter, these mysterious persons will we hope be revealed.
Article from C.H. Reporter : FARM TAKE-OVER BIGINS TODAY.
"A seminary costing 120,000 dolars to be build at Up Holland near Wigan, by the sons of divine providence. It will be the orders first foundation for vocations in Britain.
Sixty acres of grass land close to the Liverpool diocesan seminary of St. joseph Up Holland have been purchased for the new building at the fantastically low price of 3,400. This price includes 17 th century farm house.
Today on feast of our lady the snows eight postulants will move in to the farm house to begin their priestly studies. They have been busily renovating it as a temporary residence for the past three weeks. Stable on the farm is been converted in to a chapel. The alter for the chapel is been given by the Carmelites at up Holland it has quite a history attached to it. For it has been in use at the Carmel for over 40 years, and during that time no less than four archbishops have celebrated Mass on it (Archbishop Whiteside, Archbishop Downey, Archbishop Godfrey, and Archbishop Heenan).
Work on the new ?120,000 seminary will begin next February. When completed, in August, three will be accommodation for 50 students. Up till now, students offering themselves to the Sons of Divine Providence in Britain have had to sent () or put on the long fing.
On Tuesday, noon, Cardinal Godfrey sent the following message to Fr. Paul Bidone, superior of the Sons of Divine Providence at HamptonWick, Kingston-on-Thames: ?May God bless the Little work of Divine Providence, and may he prosper and bring to success the efforts of the Congregation of Don Orione to build a new seminary in Lancashire".