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Page 73 - Fr. Charles Murphy and Hong Kong

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1993/1/1 (511 reads)

Fr. Charles Murphy and Hong Kong From Conversations between Fr. Murphy and Ed Binns The newspapers called Fr. Charles P. Murphy the "Hero of Hong Kong." He finds that distasteful. He was a mis? sionary in China when Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on Christmas Day, 1941. He was exchanged for Japanese prisoners at the end of the war. Ed Binns talked with him several times. The following is from their conversa? tions, and from photos and news clip? pings in Fr. Murphy's albums. Fr. Charles Murphy: I was born on August the 18th, 1912, on Marconi Street in Glace Bay. Marconi Street is just one street below Union Street, near the old station. And I was born there. (Ed Binns: Did you know, when you were young in Glace Bay and growing up, did you have it in your mind that you were going to become a priest?) I always wanted to be a priest.... When I was a youngster, I had a little silver cup--it was an egg cup--and that was my chalice. And I knew everything about the Eucharist. That it was a recep? tacle for God. And it had to be looked af? ter and kept in order at all times. My mother, God love her, she was a seam? stress and a dressmaker, and I used to watch her sewing. And I learned how to sew myself. And I was the only one that she'd --she had a Singer sewing machine, and at that time Dad was working for the Singer Sewing Machine Company, travelling around. He was in Newfoundland, and he was over in Port Morien, getting people interested in the Singer sewing machine. So I would watch my mother sewing, and I picked up--I could do anything that she could do. Just by observation. And she was very fussy and very particular about her sewing machine. She wouldn't let anybody touch it. I was the only one that she would let thread the needles, change the bobbins--anything that had to do with sewing, I watched her. (Was it a large family?) Seven of us; 4 boys and 3 girls.... I was in the middle. I'm the fourth boy. I'm the only one liv? ing now. I guess I'm a perfectionist, because when I see the girls here working. I'm very quick to pick them up and tell them that that's wrong, and I'll show them how to do it. Maybe I'm a bit queer in that way. But, funnily, (my sister) Kathleen (who worked at the hospital in the steel plant) was a perfect nurse, anybody. She'd do anything for I was 15 years old when I went to the sem? inary- -Scarborough Foreign Missions. In Fr. Charles Murphy in China, October 1939
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