Father Gondringer

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Father Gondringer’s Jubilee

From “The Tablet”, page 25, 28 March 1931

THE EARTHQUAKE – A letter to Father Moran, S.M., of Rome, Dr. David Kennedy, Provincial of the New Zealand Marists, has made the following Report on the earthquake of February 3 :- BOULCOTT STREET, WELLINGTON, Feb. 8, 1931.

The Scholastics were all at Greenmeadows for their annual Retreat which was held at that time because ten of them had to make an eight days’ Retreat in preparation for their perpetual Profession on February 11, and it was thought advisable to let all the Scholastics make their annual Retreat at the same time. Fathers Martin, Woodbury and Boyle were also making their Retreat, with Father Aubry and Father Gondringer, who were not able to go to the Wellington Retreat. Father Kimbell was preaching the Retreat, which began the previous evening, February 2. The preacher had finished the ten o’clock meditation and had gone out. Fathers Martin, Aubry and Woodbury had also gone to their rooms. All the others were still in the chapel making their meditation. About ten minutes to eleven the earthquake came, very suddenly and violently, without any warning in the way of sound or a gentle shake at first, as usually happens.

Fathers Gondringer and Boyle who were near the door got up and rushed out as soon as they felt the shake; they had reached the vestibule at the entrance of the chapel, when the top of the end wall of the chapel fell on them, killing Father Gondringer instantly. Father Boyle lived for a few minutes and called for help, but no one could reach him in time. The lower half of the same wall fell inwards and killed six of the Scholastics. The seventh, finding the way blocked, turned to go out through the Sacristy, when a portion of the roof fell on him and killed him instantly. Three other Scholastics were badly injured, two seriously and one with a broken ankle. The other Scholastics who remained in the stalls and crouched under the seats escaped, some with minor injuries and a few without a scratch. The roof over the sanctuary also fell in, and most of the Scholastics made their way out in that direction over the ruins. The altar was completely covered, and so far it has not been possible to remove the Blessed Sacrament.


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  • Father Gondringer
  • Father Moran
  • Dr David Kennedy
  • Father Martin
  • Father Woodbury
  • Father Boyle
  • Father Aubry
  • Father Kimbell

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