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Scalan's Difficulties

Scalan shared the other hardships of the Church also. In particular, it shared its poverty. The bishops were rarely able to give it the financial support that it needed and merited. Its resources were always meagre, and in the early days it got by on a shoe-string. Inevitably, these constraints set limits on what it could achieve.

Nor were Masters easily found to run it. The Mission was always short of priests, and within this small pool few were suited to meeting the College’s unique challenges. The Master was required to be Jack-of-all-Trades – at once priest, teacher, guardian of the house, bursar, spiritual director, overseer of the farm, and nurse. In the classroom he had to be something of a polymath, competent across the whole curriculum. And all this had to be done alone, without adult support or company. Not surprising, then, that finding a suitable man, and then getting him to stay, was no simple task, nor that though Scalan had some excellent Masters during its long history, a few fell short of the ideal.


When William Duthie arrived as Master in 1741 his was the tenth appointment in the seminary’s twenty-five years to date.

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