« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
vices were held at respective hours on Sundays only, in the detachment ward in the morning or the convalescent hospital in the afternoon.
The Catholic services were daily in the Sisters' oratory •in the General Hospital, where the men could attend, and on Sundays in the chaplain's own room in the Barrack Hospital; when the summer came on and it became evident that the new wards which had been fitted up in the winter would never all be filled, one was given to the English chaplain, a room in the General Hospital to the Catholic, and another empty ward in the Barrack to the Presbyterian.
The ward used for the English service was the one fronting the Sultan's apartments. The roof was sloping and not very high ; it was very wide and would have made a fine ward. It was four times too large for its purpose, as the congregation only filled half one side.
DAILY MORNING PRAYERS.
Up to the time of Mr. Coney's arrival the services were only on Sundays (except Ash Wednesday and Good Friday). Soon after he became senior chaplain he established daily morning prayers; and the communion, which had been administered monthly, was now given every Sunday at 7.30 A.M.
The purveyor-in-chief had the ward furnished with church fittings, and some of the ladies aided to beautify it, and it looked very nice when finished, though of course rudely adorned. The altar rails were of plain deal, a red cloth covered the table, and the readingdesk was hung with the same colour. A few benches were arranged on each side, some with backs to them were also placed lower down for the invalids, and the wooden trestles of the empty beds formed seats for the rest of the congregation.
This congregation on Sunday made a singular scene. The different groups : a number of men on duty in their uniforms,
THE SUNDAY CONGREGATION.
then a mass of blue dressing-gowns and white night-caps, another of nurses in grey dresses, the ladies seated among them either in black or colours; on the other side the officers also in uniform, one or two officers' wives, and sometimes a few English strangers from the neighbouring village of Bebek, on the European side, the only Protestant service there being in the Protestant Armenian chapel, and the singing was so atrocious, they said, they preferred coming across to Koulali, where the singing was very good considering its difficulties. There being no instrument it was led by one of the ladies who had a singing-class twice a-week, which the convalescent patients and some of the sergeants and detachment men attended. They were very fond of coming to it, and took great pains to learn the chants and hymn tunes; those they had been accustomed to hear in the churches at home pleased them most.
The Presbyterian service was at the same hour as the English one. The members of this congregation were fewer than either the English or Catholic churches. Two of the ladies of our party and one of the nurses belonged to it. Many of the Presbyterian soldiers appeared to be earnest and religious
The chaplain was exceedingly active in visiting the sick members of his congregation.
The Catholic chapel was arranged with great taste, though of course with the greatest simplicity; the altar was raised on the divan, which fronted the windows. The room was furnished with benches, the middle space left for the men and officers, the sisters kneeling on each side. A few coloured prints hung on the wall; everything was very rough, but all the essentials of Catholic worship were there. The services were well attended by the men.
The two masses on Sundays (one at each hospital) were crowded;
THE CATHOLIC PRIEST,
the daily mass had a good gathering, and so had the Sunday benediction.
The chaplain for many months was Mr. Ronan; this priest was most zealous and devoted, beloved by his flock, and respected by all. The improvement among the Catholics in Koulali was very great. The soldiers had been much neglected, and many had yielded to temptation, contracted evil habits, and forgotten their religion, but the efforts made by the priests and nuns were blessed. Those who had lived long years in sin once more sought their Saviour—those whose last remembrance of prayers and sacraments had been in days gone by, in the shelter of their homes, now returned to the God of their youth.
Were these pages the fitting place many a tale might be told of such, but they are not. It will, however, interest Catholics to hear that the Sisters of Mercy had the satisfaction of knowing that no member of their church ever left the hospitals of Koulali with