29 December 2022

My Memories of John Senior

I was blessed to be able to call Mr Senior a friend. I had been his, Dennis Quinn's, and Franklyn 'Frank' Nellick's student at the University of Kansas (And they were always 'Mr' to their students, never 'Dr', tho' they all held doctorates!). It was after the heyday of the Pearson Integrated Humanities Program, which had been destroyed by the left-wing secular humanists in control of the University, but the three of them were still teaching courses in the College of Liberal Arts, based on the PIHP.

Even after my student days, Mr Senior and I stayed in contact. In fact, I consider him probably the most important personal contact on my path to Traditionalism. He was a daily Mass goer, as I strove to be, I knew that he preferred the TLM, but it wasn't available where we lived, so every morning, he was in the back pew of our Parish Church telling his beads. 

It is important to remember that, given his innate conservatism and his love for the Traditions of the Church, he could not have been happy with our Pastor, an OFMCap, who was 'kewl'. He had wreckovated a beautiful Church, moved our Blessed Lord from the Altar to an 'Adoration Chapel' not visible from the Nave, and who, despite being a hale and hearty racquetball player, sat in the 'Presider's Chair' whilst laypeople distributed Holy Communion. I once confessed to him before Mass, and by the time of Communion, because of the liturgical abuses he had committed, was so angry that I couldn't receive. I returned to confession after Mass and confessed my anger to him. Didn't seem to faze him. Oh, and just to prove his 'kewlness', he wrote a weekly column on rock music for the Diocesan newspaper. He later became Provincial of the Capucins in the region!

Anyway, you get the idea. Not exactly a Pastor who endeared himself to Mr Senior or to an incipient Trad like myself! But, John Senior was still at Mass every day.

Mr Senior was a convert, a fact of which I was ignorant until one day well after my student days. My wife was having a garage sale and wanted me to help her with it. The morning of the sale, I got a phone call from Mr Senior. Whilst we were friends, we were not 'exchanging phone calls' friends so I was a bit surprised. He said that his brother was in town, and he thought
 I might like to meet him. He invited me to lunch with them.

My wife was disappointed that I couldn't help with the sale, but she understood that this was an odd occurrence. I had absolutely no idea why Mr Senior would think I'd like to meet his brother, but an invitation from him was something special, so I accepted.

We lunched at a nice deli and when Mr Senior introduced his brother, I realised why he had invited me. His bother was Hereward Senior, a Professor at McGill University in Montreal, PQ, and a mover-and-shaker in the Monarchist League of Canada, of which I had been a member for some years. During our conversations, it came out that Hereward Senior was still an Anglican and that John was a convert. I also didn't know, and it was never brought up in our conversation, that he had run away from home to be a cowboy, a fact I learned only after he had passed away.

I remember 'on the fly' conversations around town as we ran into each other on our errands. They were usually about philosophy or 'Catholic politics'. At any rate, I had met Mr Senior just a few short years after my conversion, and it was his influence, and a lot of reading that turned me into a Trad, long before I ever found an available TLM.

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