Ring the Bells

A fundraising dinner was held in 1967 to raise money to pay for our centennial bells, which had actually been blessed by Cardinal Flahiff in October 1966, and were first officially pealed over CBC at midnight on the eve of January 1st 1967 for Canada's centennial.

They strike on the quarter hour, with the Angelus at noon and six in the evening. The four bells range in weight from 140 to 690 kilos and stand in a tower which rises almost thirty metres above the ground level. At the time of construction, this was the highest point on the University campus. Regulations required that two small red lights be installed as aircraft warnings.

The bellnote of the largest sounds G, the next C, then D, and the smallest sounds E. Their diameters range from 104 cm. to 62 cm. According to tradition each bell has a name in order from largest to smallest: Christ the King; Our Lady of Wisdom, the patron saint of studies; St. Ignatius, in memory of the founder of the Jesuit Order; and St. Paul. The bells were cast in Holland by Schulmerich-Eijsbouts Ltd. and are controlled electronically.

On Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, St. Paul’s College held a ceremony to dedicate the Belltower in memory of Fr. Joseph V. Driscoll, SJ.

Fr. Driscoll,SJ (1916-2003) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Experiencing and responding positively to a call to be a Jesuit priest he entered the novitiate in Guelph, ON immediately after completing high school. As a young Jesuit, he taught at Regiopolis College in Kingston, ON and was ordained a priest in 1946.

From 1954 - 1958 Fr. Driscoll was Director of the Jean Mance School of Nursing at the Hotel Dièu Hospital in Kingston, ON. From 1959 until his death, Fr. Driscoll devoted his time, talent and spirit to the people of Manitoba. He served in a variety of capacities including university chaplain, fund-raiser for St. Paul’s High School and St. Paul’s College and a member of the Board of Directors of the St. Boniface Hospital School of Nursing and St. Paul’s College Foundation Inc.

Fr. Driscoll, SJ, was appointed pastor of St. John Brebeuf Parish in Winnipeg, MB and was Rector of both St. Paul’s High School and St. Paul’s College. He was actively involved in both the College and the High School, including assignments as alumni chaplain to both and archivist to the High School. Active until the end of his life, he brought to all those who knew him a personal integrity and commitment to the Catholic Church and to other faith communities.

At the ceremony the bells were blessed by Archbishop V. James Weisgerber and memories of Fr. Driscoll, SJ, were shared by many including Msgr. D. Ward Jamieson, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg and Dr. Denis Bracken, Rector of St. Paul’s College.

The bells of the tower were repaired by support from the St. Paul’s College class of 1972 and the Sir Thomas Cropo Foundation.

 Ring the Angelus on our bells!