Pere was a remarkable man that impacted many lives. For instance, he made a significant difference in the life of Ezra Ncwana’62 . Pere invited Ezra to attend Notre Dame free of charge so he could escape the ravages of apartheid in South Africa. Ezra has many fond memories of Pere but there is one memory in particular that he recently shared with us.
How Père Subtly Taught Some People Not To Discriminate.
Père was notoriously politically anti Socialist. He openly opposed the proposed introduction of the universal pre-paid medical care plan of the Tommy Douglas provincial government. Of course, the doctors who also vehemently opposed the plan were delighted with the support of as important a figure as Father Murray. Consequently, they invited him to a private dinner at the home of one of their top guns in Regina where he would give an inspirational talk of support. Père decided to offer me a ride into the city with the understanding that I would go to the doctor’s house around 9:00 p.m. that evening in order to get a ride back to the college.
When I got to the doctor’s house I discovered that the gathering was still in progress though they had already dined. I rang the doorbell and the owner of the house came to the door, and seeing my face looked unwelcomingly puzzled at me, wanting to know what I wanted there. I told him I had come to meet Father Murray in order to return to the college with him as I was one of his students. He ordered me to wait in the veranda while he conveyed the message to Father Murray. I could hear him speaking rather loudly about the strange fellow at the door who claimed to be a student at Notre Dame. Père wanted to know if he looked African. When told he was a black man, I could hear Père volubly tell the doctor, “invite him in.” As soon as I stepped into the living room amongst all those very important Saskatchewan physicians, Père proudly introduced me as an outstanding African from South Africa. Shortly, a number of those men all at once wanted to converse with me, including the home owner who then related to me that he had had recent telephone conversations with friends in South Africa, pointing out how costly each call had been. Suddenly, I was considered important enough even to be offered refreshments. Father Murray had demonstrated in a succinct, unobtrusive yet very penetrating and practical manner the powerful lesson of the Apostle Paul as articulated in Romans 2:11 (NIV) For God does not show favoritism and Romans 15:7 (English Standard Version).
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. That was part of Father Murray’s philosophy of life.
Ezra Ncwana - ND Arts student