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Leeson Street century

leeson_02It is a hundred years since the Jesuit community in what is now Newman House moved round the corner to 35 Lower Leeson Street; they would later acquire Numbers 36 and 37. The centenary is an occasion for refurbishing parts of the houses: the walls of the snackery have been insulated and painted, and the windows draft-proofed; the hallway painted and plastered, and a whole area from the chapel down to the dining room renovated to its shining best. Number 37 needs to be rewired, but the house is caught between the fulminations of Health and Safety people, who call it a fire hazard, and the procrastinations of conservation officialdom, which moves at an 18th-century pace. Read more. The community has set up a modest scholarship for a student of communications. The patronal feast on 31 July will see a festive Mass in University Church, followed by a reception in Newman House.  It is touching to see the love and care with which the designers in the Messenger Office are preparing the centenary book, which promises to be a treasure of history, art and reflection.  Watch out for it. Besides writing a page each on their life and work, all the brethren have been interviewed on camera by Pat Coyle, to set up an audio-visual archive of the community on its hundredth birthday.