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Housing for the poor

The Key to a Better Life

Combining faith with commerce is complex and often criticised. Many Christians think that following the teachings of Christ means living in a “non-commercial” way. However, the use of profit from the commercial activity for charitable or worthwhile pursuits is a valid justification. The commerce in itself helps create jobs and security for families of all types. The pursuit of profit simply as an end rather than means may be less useful.

Housing Shortage

Currently, there is a significant housing shortage in the UK. This housing shortage has a variety of adverse impacts, primarily on less well off members of the community. High rents for good accommodation, growth of slum-like rental property, i.e. more reasonable rents but deplorable facilities, damp etc. This has also impacted the number of homeless people living either on the streets or in hostels.

Project St. Stephen’s Housing Complex

Some businessmen in the community are developing projects that merge commerce with good works. One such project in Newcastle is building accommodation to help the homeless. The project is aimed at providing high-quality flats for people who have fallen through the cracks. People suffering from addiction or mental illness make up the bulk of the homeless; these are the people the project is aimed at. Housing in a supportive and safe environment the project aims to give residents the assistance they need. Gradually the plan is this stepping stone will generate jobs and help people on their way.

How was it funded

The project started as a simple idea five years ago. Funding was sourced through the internet provider http://getmemymortgage.co.uk. Building work was undertaken by local volunteers supervised and coordinated by professional in their free time. This shows how the Christian community can pull together to help the more unfortunate members of the community.

The St. Stephen’s Housing project should be named and opened in September 2021.

Priest Says Modern Culture Devoid of Religion, Says Holy Water the Solution

A Catholic priest of a church in Lincoln, Ohio, has asked the city’s mayor if he could bless the city’s water supply in an attempt at re-spawning righteousness and religiosity to the townspeople. Basically, the priest has asked permission to climb atop Lincoln’s water tower and turn the entire 125,000 gallons into holy water, which would then be distributed to the city’s inhabitants.

Father Vincent has said, via telephone, that his plan would enable the people of Lincoln, Ohio to, “drink, bathe in, cook with, and water their lawns with holy water.” Is he afraid of heights? “Kind of, but something has to be done. Have you seen the violence, the hatred, and the sorrow on television? Have you seen a modern culture devoid of religion, devoid of Christ?” How have people perceived his posited plan? “Most of the folks in the congregation have supported me with open arms. They’ve assured me this is a step in the right direction. They are concerned with the direction the world is going, too.”

There are also those who oppose Father Vincent’s plan. Much controversy has erupted among the citizens of Lincoln. Kathy Heeding, a mom of three young boys, 12, 10, and 7, is “entirely in opposition to [Vincent’s] plan.” She explains, “Do you mean that we’re supposed to be drinking some kind of hocus-pocus water, just because some people believe in that? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything so crazy before. Can’t these people bless their own water after it comes out of the tap?”

Father Vincent isn’t intimidated

“The Pope has recently said that modern culture has lost religion and Christ. Can anyone honestly argue with that?” What does he hope will happen by blessing Lincoln’s water supply? “Peace. Sure, Lincoln, Ohio isn’t the problem, and it’s a tiny, tiny place on the map, but it will set precedence. If folks start getting bathed with holy water, and drink holy water, in their own homes, every day and night, I’m convinced they will be more loving and kind to their neighbors. Now imagine, what if every city in America did the same thing? What if every American, by, say, 2012, was getting holy water straight from the tap? Now picture the rest of the world.”

While Mayor Epstein has yet to make a decision on Father Vincent’s proposal, the parishioners at Vincent’s church, St. Benedict’s, have begun going door to door, promoting the plan, hoping to gather support to show the mayor.

Ordination of a Little Sister of the Poor: Jeanne Jugan

The ordination of a Little Sister of the Poor is likely not even a small blip on your radar. But this low profile servant of God is on the short line to receive the ultimate earthly honor her church can provide. Known best to God and those needy, aged people whom she served, Little Sister Jeanne Jugan is primed and ready to enter the Major Leagues of international sanctity when she is ordained this fall.

The story of Jeanne Jugan had for many years been buried pretty much in obscurity. Her work after all gained no huge headlines and she didn’t command lots of well healed supporters. What Jeanne did was to live the life she felt God called her to with the most devotion she could deliver.

She was born into a very humble family in a French fishing village in 1792, lost her father in a fishing accident when she was only 4 and, with her siblings, worked alongside her mother to provide a living for the family. When she reached marriageable age Jeanne turned away from a suitor because of her announced desire to serve God with her life.

Only after some considerable time did her true calling become clear. It began with the simple deed of welcoming a poor elderly blind woman in need into her home and giving her compassionate care. It wasn’t long before this single deed of Christian love took over her life. Jeanne Jugan led a few other similarly minded women to extend this kind of assistance to the needy members among the elderly community, certainly a portion of the population in early 19th century France that was not the first in line for government assistance. Serving God by serving others in need became the focus of Jeanne’s life and almost by accident she shared this calling with several other women forming the basis of a religious order. In this simple way, Jeanne Jugan gave herself over to the founding of what would come to be known as the “Little Sisters of the Poor”, a women’s religious order.

Only after some considerable time did her true calling become clear. It began with the simple deed of welcoming a poor elderly blind woman in need into her home and giving her compassionate care. It wasn’t long before this single deed of Christian love took over her life. Jeanne Jugan led a few other similarly minded women to extend this kind of assistance to the needy members among the elderly community, certainly a portion of the population in early 19th century France that was not the first in line for government assistance. Serving God by serving others in need became the focus of Jeanne’s life and almost by accident she shared this calling with several other women forming the basis of a religious order. In this simple way, Jeanne Jugan gave herself over to the founding of what would come to be known as the “Little Sisters of the Poor”, a women’s religious order.

Though not acknowledged as the foundress of the Little Sisters for many years, Jeanne Jugan worked shoulder to shoulder with aspiring sisters sharing her dedicated spirit and her internal calling without seeking recognition. Her daily labor on behalf of the elderly poor continued for some 27 years. Only after time was it revealed that indeed it was Jeanne who had taken the lead in the earliest days of the founding of Little Sisters of the Poor.

In 1982 the life and works of Jeanne Jugan were finally recognized by the Catholic Church hierarchy when Pope John Paul II declared Jeanne to be “Beatified”. This official declaration indicates that the church has begun to consider the possibility of naming Jeanne a “Saint” of the church. To receive the acclaim of sainthood requires a very thorough investigation of the formal case of any candidate for sainthood brought before the church officials for consideration.

On Oct. 11, 2009 Jeanne Jugan will be canonized a saint of the Church by Pope Benedict XVI. She has been accepted into this spiritually elite body of men and women called saints. Her life was filled with service and the organization which she founded continues to this day to serve the needs of the elderly poor around the world . In all there are more than 200 homes staffed by Little Sisters of the Poor all offering themselves in service to God by serving the needs of some of his most destitute creations. Thirty two of these special residences of loving care are located in the U. S.

Besides being canonized, Jeanne Jugan is recognized as patron saint among the elderly because she gave her life to help meet their special end of life needs. The message that flows from the life of Jeanne Jugan speaks to our world and to those who are more interested in reducing health costs than in ministering to the needs of our most need and helpless citizens. Jeanne Jugan in this way is truly a saint for the aged and for the ages.

The Scottish System

Mr Harold Storey has very kindly sent me this book plate of Lord Courtauld-Thompson. He says that the 1st and 4th quarterings are for Thomson. His father, surname Thomson was from Edinburgh and he assumes that the arms were granted in London since they don’t follow the Scottish pattern where everybody of the same surname is assumed to descend from the original Clan Chief who will have had a simple shield. This shield goes down the senior male heir, who will always be the Chief. All other members of the “family” are entitled to apply for a “differenced” version of the Chief’s shield. That shield will then pass to his eldest son (only), and so on. Younger sons (and so junior branches) have to apply for a differenced version of their father’s arms. So the farther away you are in blood from the chief, the more differenced your shield will be, but is should still be recognisable as a variation of the Chief’s shield.

If it ever existed, the original Thomson shield will have been a stag’s head with 2 or 3 small charges.

Thomson, Thoms and Macthomas


Mr Harold Storey has also sent me an article from “The Double Treasure”, the magazine of the Heraldry Society of Scotland No.17 (1995) entitled “Thomson, Thoms and Macthomas” written by John Hamilton Gaylor. In the article, Mr Gaylor states that the commonest versions of the name are Thomson and Thompson, and arms for eight of them were matriculated in the early years of the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, which opened in 1672. The coats show a consistent Thomson them – argent, a stag’s head cabossed either gules or proper, and on a chief either azure or gules various small charges – which was maintained in fifty one out of another fifty three matriculations down to 1973. The Thomsons, larger than many names in the number of their matriculations, therefore demonstrably comprise a clan, deficient only in never having had a chiefly line recognised by the Lord Lyon.

Mr Naylor goes on to state that the arms of Thoms and Thom are quite different….On armorial evidence we have … three distinct and independent groups, Thomson, Thoms and M’Combie – and assorted Thomases…. Another name derived from Thomas … was MacTavish. The only arms matriculated from the name down to 1973 were two coats, one of which was a differenced version of the other, showing them to be cadets of Campbell. The point of interest was that the basic gyronny coat of Campbell of Lochow was simply quartered with typical Thomas arms. It is said that MacTavishes regard themselves as a clan rather than as a sept of Campbell. If this is so, perhaps they should make common cause with the Thomsons, a name adopted by many MacTavishes on emigrating from the Highlands, and seek to establish a chief whose arms would be quite distinct from, and on the armorial evidence, more appropriate than those of a cadet of Mackintosh, from which the arms of MacThomas of Finegrand were to some extent derived.

Coats of Arms

The above Arms were used by my Great Grandfather, Thomas Roe Thompson, J.P. Born at 10 Dundas Street, Monkwearmouth in 1846, he moved with his parents in 1858 to South Wales where he went into business with his father Matthew Thompson.

I am not sure of the origins of the above Arms but they are remarkably similar to others used by Thompson families.
They are recorded in Burke’s General Armoury (1884):
Arms – Per fess ar and sa. a fess embattled counter-embattled between three falcons counterchanged, belled and jessled.

Crest – An arm embowed in armour quarterly or and az. holding in the gauntlet proper a broken lance.

They are said to be of Thomas Thompson of Bishopwearmouth but this may not be correct. In the Franks Collection (1904) in the British Museum, the arms of T. Thompson of Bishopwearmouth are quartering White, impaling Pemberton and quartering Jackson. The particular T. Thompson of Bishopwearmouth, County Durham married in 1814 Elizabeth daughter of Richard Pemberton (ref. 29292). Interestingly these arms use the same motto, “Dum Spiro Spero”. Also in the Franks Collection, there are arms belonging to Henry Ayscough Thompson which are almost identical to those above except that the broken lance is not on a slope (ref. 29271). These arms however carry the motto “Fracta non victa” which presumably means “broken but not beaten”.

There was a Thomas Thompson of Sunderland-near-the-Sea, gentleman, who in April 1762 had surrendered to him all copyhold premises held by the Rev. Henry Waistell and John Rosamon (Source: History and Antiquities of Sunderland etc. by Jeremiah William Summers 1858). The Burke Encyclopaedia of Heraldry also links the Arms to those of the Whites, the Pembertons and the Jacksons which concurs with the Franks Collection.

There was also a Thomas Thompson who married Elizabeth Chater, daughter of Dorothy Chater. This Thomas Thompson was apparently Elizabeth Chater’s first husband, her second being John Thompson, probably the father of John Thompson, my great great great grandfather, who was great grandfather of Thomas Roe Thompson.

Mr Harold Storey writes that for my Great Grandfather, Thomas Roe Thompson, to have been entitled to these arms, he would have to have descended from the original grantee of the arms. According to “Armorial Families” they were granted by Norroy King of Arms in 1559. There is a line in Burke down to the Meysey-Thompson baronets, but there could be others. The College of Arms may have more information. But what Harold seems to be showing is the use of a “differenced” version of a basic coat of arms by various families of the same name; in other words, the Scottish system, see below, in unofficial use by the reiving families along the borders. These families did behave rather like clans in other non-legal activities too!

Mr Stuart Thomson has written to me about his family Coat of Arms:
“My earliest known ancestor, Daniel Thomson born about 1676 in Kilmaurs, Ayr, died 1724 aged 48, in Kilmaurs, has a gravestone there with family details inscribed and a coat of arms whose provenance I have so far failed to establish.

I have no knowledge of heraldry so will describe it in lay terms

A shield surmounted by a helmet with close visor. within the shield a cross with crosslets that is to say a cross whose horizontal longest arm is at the bottom and two shorter arms above each themselves crosses with a small arm. Also within two stars above the top bar, two crescents above the bottom bar. below the shield a motto “nec timeo nec spero”, which I translate literally as “I neither hope nor fear”. The main verb comes last in Latin. I take it to mean “I expect nothing out of life and fear nothing”.

My father always referred to him as Sir Daniel but that could be because his father did and he had seen the gravestone and assumed his five times g grandfather must have been titled. They were farmers for many generations.

I would like to find an authoritative explanation of why a widow should have such a thing put on a gravestone if he were not entitled to it, which as far as the Lyon King of Arms Office in Edinburgh is concerned is the case. They have no record of it.”