Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, an Australian community, in a worldwide religious congregation.
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We work to discover through advocacy, healing and reconciliation, God's presence in our world.
We are to be on earth the heart of God. God has no other heart but ours.
- Published: Wednesday, 17 September 2014 15:45
LIFE STORY: PAUL STENHOUSE MSC
From the Annals archives (found on this website in the Media and Publications section with the link to the site of articles)
Fr. PAUL STENHOUSE MSC, Ph.D, Editor of Annals Australasia
About the Editor
by John F. McMahon, M.S.C., B.A. (Syd.), B.Litt. (Oxon.)
In his twenty-five years of priesthood Father Paul Stenhouse might well be called 'A Priest for all Seasons'.
Although never attached to a parish there are few works that a priest is expected to do that have managed to escape his attention at some time or other.
This very versatile priest was born in Casino, N.S.W., grew up in Camden and had a local education that was greatly influenced by his mother with her many gifts of mind and spirit.
As a teenager he was employed as a machinist, compositor and linotypist on the Camden News, Campbelltown News and the Picton Post and at the same time produced the Warragamba Times as an extra chore.
He decided to become a priest when he was 17 years of age and went to St. Mary's Towers, Douglas Park for his last two years of secondary schooling where he passed his Leaving Certificate with Honours in English in 1955.
He began the long years of seminary study at Croydon in Melbourne and was ordained to the priesthood in July 1963.
His first appointment as a priest was in the area where he had had some experience already - journalism. In 1966 he was appointed Editor of the Annals of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart a monthly magazine that first appeared in 1889 and has been published by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ever since.
In the previous year he had been made Business Manager and Annals took on a new lease of life.
If one tried to put the finger on just what was different about the new Annals it might be said that it took the lead in the Catechetical Renewal in the Church of the 1960's and in the post-Vatican attempts to improve communications, and to hand on to others the new ways of passing on the faith. The catechetical Supplements that were published each month by Paul Stenhouse and his team of catechists and teachers were in the vanguard of the Church's outreach to youth in the early 1970's.
In 1968 Paul Stenhouse was made a member of the Provincial Council of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. In this year he also began a Bachelor of Arts course at the University of Sydney, majoring in Modern Hebrew and Arabic and graduating with Honours in 1972.
His Honours thesis was entitled "A Critical Edition of the historical sections of the Samaritan Hebrew Hilukh" and led to further studies in Arabic and Samaritan and he began an Honours M.A. at Sydney University translating and commenting on the Arabic "History of the Samaritans" of Abu'l-Fath.
The manuscript for this history proved to be so corrupt that a new edition was found to be necessary, and his proposed M.A. thesis was upgraded to a Ph.D. - consisting of a critical edition of the thirty or so manuscripts still available to the mediaeval Arabic text.
Paul Stenhouse left Annals in 1976 and was enrolled in St. Catherine's College at Oxford for the D.Phil course. He stopped off in Rome at the General House of the M.S.C. The Father General (now Bishop) E.J. Cuskelly asked him to be his private Secretary and Guestmaster to the General House. This position he held until 1979 when he went to Sarejevo and Dubrovnik in Jugoslavia to write the thesis for his Ph.D.: "A Critical Edition of the Kitab al-Tarikh of Abu'l-Fath." He abandoned the course at Oxford in 1976.
After finishing writing his thesis in Dubrovnik in 1980 Paul Stenhouse returned to Australia and resumed the editorship of the Annals in April 1981.
In his absence Annals had been managed and edited by a succession of people who had tried energetically to increase its circulation.
With Paul Stenhouse back at the helm again his distinctive flair soon became apparent in the magazine as it appeared each month.
He introduced a very relevant and helpful series of articles on Religious fundamentalism, for instance as well as a new series on current affairs called "Sidelights" and another on social and family problems by Nance Millar, called "Christian Counsel." Along with the very striking artwork of Hal English and historical articles by Dr James Waldersee and others, the Editorials and articles on just about any subject of interest to the modern Catholic reader, saw the Annals approach the celebration of its Centenary in December 1989 with confidence.
And yet its Editor found time to present yet another academic work this time to the University of New England: a Biography of his Argentinian-born great-grandfather "John Farrell: Poet, Journalist and Social Reformer, (1851-1904)" for which he was awarded an Honours M.A. in April of this present year.
Although his academic record is impressive, those who know Paul Stenhouse best are the last to think of him as an academic. He has not done much teaching - some at Sydney University in Biblical Studies and a little at St. Paul's Seminary Kensington in Sacred Scripture - from time to time he has been invited to address internationally-known scholars of the College de France (he was elected a Member some years ago) at meetings of the Institut d'Etudes Samaritaines. He gave a lecture in 1986 in Paris on "The Reliability of the Chronicle of Abu'l-Fath and the dating of Baba Rabba." Earlier this year he delivered a paper at the First International Conference of Samaritan Scholars at the University of Tel Aviv to a select group of scholars from all parts of the world.
But this sort of personal relationship and communication, while time-consuming, is as nothing compared with the countless hours spent with people whom he has helped in so many ways: fellow journalists in press, radio, television and film; musicians, especially jazz musicians; students; newly- arrived migrants; Chinese, Indonesian, Lebanese, Vietnamese: prominent figures as well as people not at all well known. Their only claim on him was the fact that they needed help or cooperation of some sort: the kind of help that they might expect from a truly Catholic priest.
From "Annals Australia" June 1988
Of course, OVER twenty-five years has passed since the above was written; Fr. Stenhouse celebrated the 40th anniversary of his priesthood in 2003. (F.J.L.)
Furthermore, the following addition is from Understanding Islam:
PAUL STENHOUSE, MSC PhD has recently completed, for the first time, a translation from Arabic into English of the 16th century Futuh al-Habasha, 'The Conquest of Abyssinia,' by Shihab al-Din Ahmad bin 'Abdu 'l Qader bin Salem bin Uthman. Notes to the translation have been provided by Professor Richard Pankhurst in Addis Ababa. This text is a key to understanding current events in the Horn of Africa. It gives an eye-witness account of jihads waged by Muslims against Ethiopian Christians in the early part of the sixteenth century. It is available through Amazon.