Page 8 - Father Jimmy Tompkins of Reserve Mines
ISSUE : Issue 16
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/6/1
Joe Laben, Tompkinsville: He was such a pest up at the college. He criticized everything that was going on. He wanted to have a simple form of education. Every time someone would meet him there, some of the older priests, he'd pull a book out of his pocket and start reading to them. "What do you think of that?" "Well, well, you can't upset the applecart"--and they'd walk away. He was after the bishop. "Fel? lows down there are all going communist, they're starving--why don't we do something for them?" The bishop wouldn't move--then he did move • he sent Father Tompkins to Dover, a little place in Canso, the poorest parish in the diocese • he punished him. And the minute Father Tompkins got talking to CasJtlt Court l'esitaurant and Minstrel Lounge FULLY LISCENCED 9 AM to 12 PM Cape Breton Shopping Plaza the people, went down to the wharf • said, "There's too much bigotry here. There's no catholic way of catching fish, no protes- tamt way of catching fish • you're all in the same boat." Imagine. That quotation carried all over Canada. Got people think? ing. Fishermen all talked to one another. Then they built a lobster factory. Then they built a co-op store and had their own credit union. Prior to Dr. Jimmy, we were scared of priests. We had some very cross priests that would never bother with the people at all. They would give them hell and preach brimstone and the devil and a lot of super? stitious stuff. We were so inferior and af? raid. They preached fear of God rather than love of God • how God loves us and when we work and do things for each other, that that can be an act of prayer. That's the kind of religion Dr. Jimmy spoke. He told us this story about a community • they all woke up in the morning and their elbows were fused. And they sat down for breakfast and they filled their spoon and the food would go right over their heads. They didn't know what to do about it. So they called in the wise mano He sized the situation up and said, "Try feeding the fellow across from you." So he filled the plate and fed him and the guy across fed him back • and that's how they were fed, helping one another. Dr. Jimmy taught that Christ was a very simple man. He v;as a revolutionist. He wanted change. Nothing much happened here in Reserve Mines until the Extension Department through Dr. Coady amd Dr. Tompkins started a program of adult education for economic action. They started study clubs in all these mining communities around here. In Reserve we had about 15 study clubs organized. We started '* UMITEP ''' ' PLUMBING - HEATING & ELECTRICAL CONTVIACTORS ' • OIL BURNER SALES & SERVICE • AIR CONDITIONING & VENTILATING SYSTEMS • MAYfAG APPLIANCES FREE ESTIMATES TELEX 010-39213 885 ViaORIA ROAD SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA. CANADA
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