Your Columban story - Australia


As part of the Centenary, we are asking you to send your Columban Story. The story of how you became connected or got to know the Columbans or how a Columban priest or one of our publications influenced and inspired you or your family.

Below are a few of those stories you have sent us.



"I first encountered the Far East in our home and when, as a young schoolboy, I used to deliver the church newspapers to our parishioners. The Far East was a font of information about the world outside Australia. I remember reading accounts of man-eating tigers in India and stories about far- away lands. Also, being a schoolboy, Mickey Daley's Diary was essential reading.


"This little note ringing in the New Year is to say thank you for producing the calendar. Your Calendar has served well. In addition to keeping track of the days it has been used to make Christmas and birthday cards sent to loved ones. 

The calendar was kindly provided by the Chaplaincy, God bless them. Many of residents here have called past to ask about days and dates to meet their needs. 

While not much can be done just now to support your good cause, other than enjoy your wonderful calendar. There will come a time when support in kind or otherwise will be provided. The favour will be returned."


My Columban Story - Early 1940s - St Patrick’s – Port Fairy

"Jackie-mite box sat on Sister’s table. Into it went our pennies and L. pennies. These monies went for “black babies” in our time! 

Next: Reading Mickey Daly’s Diary throughout and after school days.

Far East Calendars were 2/= I sold 60 to P F people during the 40s.

Today 2017: For years a zealous parishioner and benefactor Henk Wirren stood at the church door on Sundays and would sell 60 calendars and packs of cards."


"I am writing to tell you my Columban story.  I was a boarder at St Joseph’s College at Lochinvar from the time I was 12 until I was 15 – 1947-1949.  Sister Raymond was a promoter, and I started receiving The Far East when I left school at 15.  

Two of my girls, Helen and Valmai had their First Communion photos published in The Far East.  Helen was born in 1959 and Valmai 1960.  We had 6 children. 

We learnt a lot about the missions and the missionary priests from The Far East, and Mickey Daly’s diary was a favourite also.  

I am 83 now, and still get “The Far East.” 

Wishing you every blessing and success in the future."


"I shall share a few memories of The Far East.  I was in my parent’s home I used to read Michael Daly’s Diary most likely in the 50s. We lived at Bittern and attended a little church in Balnarring. 

When I left home I lost track till the early 80s. Over the years the type of articles have changed, but still very enjoyable a different view of many parts of the world."


"From my childhood I remember mum receiving her “Far East” and commenting on the stories in it.  The magazine was an integral part of our household.  

Soon after she died the yearly reminder to renew arrived and I was going to return the form saying she had died.  Then I thought “maybe it would be nice to get it this year in her memory.  That was 35 years ago and I really love to read the stories of our Catholic world. 

I have used your articles on Fukushima as a base for an environmental article at my Writers’ Group.  I share the magazine with two ladies from our Rosary Group.  One lady is particularly interested in stories about China as her husband’s great uncle (St Cesidio Giacomantonio OFM) was martyred there in the Boxer Rebellion.  He was canonised with others in 2000. 

ThanksFar East.


I am an 84 year oldlong time subscriber of The Far East.  I was first introduced to it when I attended St Joseph’s School in Wauchope, NSW.  My two older sisters and I drove a horse and sulky to school, approx. six miles each way.  When I was in primary school, Sister had us deliver The Far East to a lady on a neighbouring farm.  It was when I was at school that we had a visit from Fr Philip Crosbie.  I have his book “Pencilling Prisoner” which he wrote of his war experiences. Incidentally, my sister, as a teenager, sang at the wedding of Fr Trevor Trotter’s parents.


I am writing to tell you that I have been receiving The Far East for many years as did my grandmother before me.  My oldest cousins used to read to me about “Mickie Daly’s Diary” which we all thought was very amusing.

My grandmother, Jane McGrath (nee Douglas) was the sister of George Douglas, Fr Francis Douglas’ father.  The auntie Jane mentioned in the book “With No regrets.” He used to visit her whenever he was in Sydney.  My mother Mary Footer (nee McGrath) thought the world of him and used to tell me many stories of his visits.

I have a photo of him taken on his day of ordination which is in a very prominent position he sent it to my grandmother after his ordination.  Everyone who comes to visit me are taken by the beautiful photo and they all want to know his story. I never met him, I was seven years old when he was martyred, but he is my mentor, I pray to him and ask him to pray for me.  I pray for Columban Missionaries every day.

Many thanks for your beautiful magazine.


As a child I remember we kids used to help deliver the “Far East” to people in Rotorua, NZ.  The Lord blessed our family when my eldest brother became a Columban priest who spent 56 years in Japan.

It was in 1949 that I had a dream telling me to break off my engagement with a boy from Wellington and to enter a Missionary order outside NZ.  The dream was to strong I couldn’t put it aside.  I did think of the Columbans but advise their Novitiate was too far away.  I think it was in England.  The Franciscans in Auckland, where I was working then gave me two addresses in Australia to write to so I chose a Missionary Franciscan Order in Brisbane – a choice I’ve never regretted.  It has been a wonderful life.  I had three different visits to my brother in Japan, the last one being for 3 months – a truly amazing experience.


I am writing to tell you my Columban story. I was a boarder at St Joseph’s College, Lochinvar from 1947-1949 until I was 15. Sr Raymond was a promoter of The Far East which I started receiving when I left school at 15.

Two of my girls, Helen and Valmai had their First Communion photos published in The Far East. 

Helen was born in 1959 and Valmai 1960. We had six children. We learnt a lot about the missions and the missionary priests from The Far East, and Mickey Daly’s diary was a favourite also. I am 83 now, and still get “The Far East.” Wishing you every blessing and success in the future.


After demobilisation from the Navy in 1946 I commenced working at a Navy Office. A fellow employee was a lovely lady called Rose Mullany. Rose used to speak to me about her brother, Luke, a Columban priest whom I note was Regional Director 1932-1944.

When my father was a teacher in Cobden he had lodgings with the Baker family and in duemy parents and I were invited to Leo’s ordination and first Mass. Our connection with Fr Leo has continued to this day.

My father was a regular subscriber to the Far East and I enjoyed reading about the exploits of the missionaries in China and, of course, the adventures of Mickey Daly


My name is Jack, grandson of a pioneering North Italian family from Povato close to the Swiss border. I am 93 years plus. I retired to Stanthorpe in South East Queensland from Brisbane in 2000 after 50 years in the city. I was married for 62 years with my beautiful wife who passed away in 2014 at 91 years of age. 

I first read The Far East in Our Lady of Dolours Church around the 1980s and have never missed an issue.  

My strong Catholic faith is from my parents, wife and now at St Joseph’s Church here at Stanthorpe.


I was given my first Far East when I was 8 or 9 years of age (1949/1950) as a reward for not talking when sister was absent from the classroom. I probably only read Mickey Daly's Diary but as time went on I started to read the whole magazine.

I was a dedicated 'mite box' collector but if I remember correctly there was a bit of high finance involved, ie. borrow and repay with interest. 

I still thoroughly enjoy each copy of The Far East and have the greatest admiration for the work the Columban Fathers, Sisters and associates are involved in for the most marginalised in society.


Comments (0)

Write a comment

Required fields are marked *

Allowed tags: <b><i><br>Add a new comment:*