Letter from the Headmaster

Rev. John Brucciani, September 2018

Dear Friends of St. Michael’s School,


The summer months have been very busy, but it has been busyness of a different sort. The quiet tidiness of the Hampshire countryside offers a welcome change to the noisy and sometimes mischievous exuberance of girls and boys spilling out of cars and vans each morning and racing, chatting, laughing and scrambling to class. However, due to many renovation projects over the summer, the campus has remained busy, at least for the workers and the community. It takes an entire summer holiday to prepare for a new school year.

As announced in the last Operation Philomena Newsletter, St. Michael’s has undertaken a project of substantial renovation to its interiors. The bathrooms have been stripped to the bare walls and installed afresh with better quality units and fittings. Leaking showers, and problems of damp and mould are now resolved.

The dormitories and private student rooms have received new carpets and fresh paint. We have removed and replaced the broken furniture (there are some wonderful second-hand bargains to be had), repaired the torn curtains and made the building more welcoming and homelier. I have a mind to move the priests into student accommodation, and the students into the priests’ accommodation. That would be right justice, but a little harsh on the students.

We have also painted the refectory and installed cladding on the lower walls, strong enough to withstand a hundred pairs of hands that somehow wipe themselves all over the wall after consuming a sticky desert. We continue to replace the often broken and energy inefficient lighting with the new LED technology. We have replaced a section of the chapel roof, which has been leaking for the past six months. Finally, we have installed a dozen fire doors here and there, and continue the never-ending scrabble to stay abreast of health and safety regulations. St. Michael’s remains abuzz with activity all year round!

None of this would be possible without the wonderful support that you have shown. Since our newsletter last June, we have received 256 donations totalling £31,087 (including the regular monthly donations). There was one large donation of £10,000, and many others, ranging from £10 to £1,000. In total, since the launch of Operation Philomena in December 2017, we have received £77,002! This is wonderful news, not only for the much-needed support it brings, but also because we asked St. Philomena (and continue to do so) to provide £10,000/month. Shame on me to have wondered if this great patron would honour our request.

The grace of your generosity comes at a crucial time for St. Michael’s. Having undergone two major Ofsted inspections, we prepare for a third that has been announced for October–November. The inspections highlighted the dilapidated state of the boarders’ living quarters, and other areas of the campus, which is why we have been so hard at work to bring the school up to the ever-increasing standards of security and “child welfare”, as it is called.

We continue to rely on your faithful support. As our world becomes more secular, our little school provides a shelter for children to preserve their innocence, nourish their faith and strengthen their virtue. Please continue to pray for us and to support us with alms. St. Philomena will bless all those who rally to any cause she adopts. She has certainly adopted St. Michael’s School and its families, many of whom require financial aid in order to gain a place at the school. They rely on us, and we rely on you. Please remember us often.

Every First Friday mass is offered for all friends and benefactors. Few or many, each benefactor receives as many graces as if the mass was offered for you alone. Alms-giving is a good investment, with heavenly returns and retirement benefits that last an eternity.

With our grateful and fervent prayers,

Rev. John Brucciani, Headmaster

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