Pioneer magazine

mag 250x150Now in its sixty-ninth year, Pioneer magazine is a favorite in many families. With articles on Spirituality, personalities, short stories, a crossword and games, there is something to appeal to everyone. Below find some of the recent articles and some of the highlights from the past.

The Providence of God

september 2011coverWe are told to believe in this - to trust in God who is totally looking after us. All our cares are being dealt with by him – our food, drink and clothing. JAMES KELLY SJ expands on the theme of relying on God to provide us with our daily bread.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses, as………..

july2011coverThis is a very serious request made to the Almighty. We are aware that we are sinners — as the Psalmist says: ‘My sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee alone, have I sinned' (Ps Sl.3, 4). And when we think about it, it is extraordinary that we can plead with God, who is so mighty and upright, to show us mercy and remove our sins. By sinning, we have let him down.

A Most Remarkable Conversion

june2011coverAlphonse Ratisbonne had no time for Christianity. He didn’t practise his Jewish faith and had become agnostic, but when his brother became a Catholic and then a priest, Alphonse developed a deep hatred of his brother and of Catholicism. That was until a vision of the Blessed Virgin turned his life upside-down. PATRICK P ROWAN recounts the journey of Ratisbonne, a most remarkable conversion.



We do not hear as much nowadays as we did in the past about people converting to the Catholic faith - or even about lapsed Catholics returning to the practising fold! Yet there may be a big number of these latter, but this generally happens quietly and is often not publicised, writes James Kelly, SJ.

Church and Secular Society in the USA

2011aprilcoverIt is often said that the contemporary world is increasingly secular and non-religious. When one looks at Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and several other countries, this generalisation seems roughly accurate. The USA seems different.

A Year for Praying Dangerously

Three priests were sitting in their presbytery’s garden one fine summer’s day discussing the relative merits of various body postures for prayer. It happened that a telephone repairman was in the garden too working on a line not far from where they sat. He couldn’t help but overhear their conversation.

Where We Were First Called Christians

PAUL HURLEY SVD, writes about the town, second only in importance to Jerusalem in the post-Resurrectional history of Christianity. In the region that was to become modern Turkey, Antioch features prominently in the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of Saint Paul.

GK Chesterton - The Genial Giant

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a giant in many ways. His six-feet-two inches and corpulent figure made him a physical giant but it was the extent and diversity of his writings that made him a giant in the field of literature and theology. He proved to be a great defender of the Catholic faith and crossed swords with the likes of George Bernard Shaw on theological matters yet they remained friends, and Shaw called him ‘a man of colossal genius’, writes PATRICK P ROWAN

The Lady with the Lamp

Florence Nightingale was born in 1820 in Florence,  ltaly, from where she got her name, but she grew up on her father’s estates in Derbyshire and Hampshire. From a wealthy Victorian background, when, at 23, she told her family that she wanted to be a nurse they were vigorously against the idea, nursing being then associated with working-class women. Her father: an anti—slavery campaigner; had taught her Greek, Latin, French, German and Italian, as well as philosophy and maths. In I851 he finally agreed to her becoming a nurse. She studied nursing at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserwerth-am-Rhein in Germany.

Oscar Wilde’s Deathbed Conversion: how it came about

That his two best plays are now on in London’s West End shows how perennial is the work of Oscar Wilde. His interest in the Catholic Church also goes back a long way. At Oxford he became friendly with another student, Sir David Hunter Blair, who became a Catholic too and, after joining the Benedictines, was made Abbot at Dunfermline Abbey. In his book, Victorian Days, he wrote of a very different Wilde from the caricature portrait of the playboy of the West End. What he remembered most vividly about him was his attractive personality, enhanced by his extraordinary conversational abilities and his appreciation of the classics. He asked Blair many questions which revealed “how genuine were his own sympathies with Catholicism.”

The Story of Worlds

The entire life of endogeic earthworms are spent underground, where they live, feed and multiply spending their 2-3 years of life within the top 50 cms (20 inches) of the mineralised soil layer.
Endo = in or internal     Geic = Earth

One day an inquisitive young endogeic earthworm, called Peter asked his father, Professor Underground, who had just been awarded the…

Boys Town

Edward Flanagan: The Irish Priest who Saved Thousands of Homeless Children

It is a sad fact of history that an Irish youth who emigrated to the United States and was ordained there, then went on to develop an ideal home for thousand of displaced American children, while Irish children were suffering hardship and abuse in institutional care in Ireland. That priest was Fr Edward Flanagan and the home he set up became known as ‘Boys’ Town’, writes Patrick P Rowan

Tradition and Priesthood

Pope Benedict XVI is frequently described in the media as “giving his backing to the tradition of celibacy in the priesthood”, to quote one newspaper. This description of the Pope’s position implies not only his support for the present legislation of obligatory celibacy for the Roman Catholic priesthood but also that he accepts that this legislation has a solid basis in Christian tradition. While scholarly discussion of the history and theology of this complex issue is best carried on in journals that specialise in these matters, aspects of the question are of general interest.

Monsignor Ronald Knox

Brilliant English Convert
Patrick P. Rowan

One evening in 1926, when mass communication was largely confined to print media and radio, there was a strange announcement on the BBC. A familiar voice announced that a revolution was spreading through London and that it had originated in Trafalgar Square, when a group demonstrating against unemployment had decided to march.

Is Being a Pioneer Easy?

Occasionally I have heard Pioneers say that keeping the pledge has taken very little out of them. They joined while still very young so they 'never knew the taste of drink'. As 'drink never meant anything to them' they never felt any inclination to take it. From this they seem to conclude that they deserve no significant credit for what they have done.


Blister beetles, and things that go bump in the night, may have you asking why God created things to be nasty. But did he? Do we too easily blame him for life’s suffering and evil? Worse still, do we doubt his existence because of them, asks Tom Cahill SVD