”FAILURE AND SUCCESS”

A passage from Neil McKenty’s book, The Inside Story.

”When I arrived in Kingston in August, I knew I was to teach English in the middle grade and history in the dreaded Grade Thirteen, the equivalent of first year college.  I had had no training in teaching and little in history, although I had taken a couple of undergraduate history courses at the University of Toronto during my philosophy years.

In the first week of September, the students, including sixty who would be boarders, descended upon us.  Not a few came from wealthy homes in South America and Toronto.  We had the impression that these rich parents wanted the Jesuits, famous for discipline, to take their children off their hands and make men of them.  I came to know these older boarders well because I was put in charge of their senior dormitory.  This dormitory with its military beds and red coverlets was where I had begun my own sojourn as Regi student just eight years earlier.

Being in charge meant a full day.  I rose at 5:30, showered and dressed, went down to chapel for a few short prayers, meditated for an hour, rang a bell and rousted up my thirty-odd charges.  I herded them to mass at 7:30, then had a quick breakfast with the Jesuits community.  My old recruiting friend, Father Joe Driscoll, was now assistant superior.  I taught a history class at 8:30, followed by a class in English, took a break for lunch an taught two more English class in the afternoon.  Recreation at 3:30 was sometimes spent with the students or watching football practice.  Regi was a good sports school and I enjoyed the games hard-fought with other regional teams.

Sometimes I presided over study hall at 5:00.  Supper was at 6:00, where I took my turn reading at the table.  In the evening, a short recreation was followed by a class preparation, litanies in the chapel at 9:00, then back up to the dormitory.  It was time to herd my charges into bed without bedlam or too much noise, or the rector, Father Clem Crusoe, would make inquiries.  Dorm lights were out at 9:45, after which I hoped a water fight or some other chicanery would not break out.  Then I retired to my room to hit the books for next day’s class and was in bed by 11:30 for six hours’ sleep before it all started again at 5:30.  Unfortunately I seldom slept for six hours, even with occasional sleeping pill.  Insomnia still weighed me down like a leaden backpack so that several times during my three years at Regi, I ended up in Hotel Dieu Hospital with the flu and high temperature, the result of my system signalling stress and fatigue.”

insidestory

The Inside Story is the gripping story of Neil McKenty’s struggle with loneliness and despair, and how he overcame both.  Spiritual journey that resonates with his honesty”

George Balcan, CJAD Radio, Montreal

available here: click here

 

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