One of the most important things about our little Congregation is that it has contemplative roots, being able to trace its ancestry from Dublin to Galway and then to Prouille. Thus we are devoted to the Divine Office. When we moved to our new convent hope arose that we might be able to get choir stalls. A lovely farmer and his wife, Joe and Pamela Ryder, gave us a big load of beautiful macrocarpa wood, personally milled by Joe, but how to get it made into choir stalls. A builder friend costed out the making of choir stalls and it came out at about $2,000 for each stall, and we wanted fourteen! We had received a grant from the St Joseph Trust but only for $3,000. How to bridge the gap between $3,000 and 14 x $2,000?
We put thought and prayer into it and came up with a name! Chris Kuypers, one of the real founders of the parish and all his life a tireless worker for Tradition. Would he consider coming out of retirement for one last, ill-paid, job. Mr Kuypers did come out of retirement and he recruited his grandson, a young man who had just left school and was waiting to start a building apprenticeship.
In an amazingly short time Mr Kuypers rang up to say that he had finished the Choir-stalls. He and M. Guy Legrega, a Dominican Tertiary recently come to the parish from New Caledonia, brought them up to the Convent on two trailers. As an additional surprise M. Legrega had made metal crosses to go at the back of the stalls. He had seen crosses on the photographs of the stalls at St Dominic’s Priory in Dunedin and wanted us to have them too. Mrs Nicola Wansink, mother of our two postulants, had taken careful measurements and clear photographs of the original stalls in the Dunedin chapel and had supplied these as a pattern. (The chapel is now owned by the Dunedin Cathedral Parish.)
The stalls are substantially constructed and glow with the beauty of the wood. We are very pleased with them and we feel that they add to the dignity and solemnity of the Divine Office, and to the beauty of our Chapel.