Chris Nowakowski, Commerce '60
The following is a letter I wrote to the Padre in June, shortly after the 2010 reunion of the 60's graduating class. I had no idea that this would be my testimonial to him, but it is that ... and much more. I hope you enjoy.
I'm prompted to write to you because of the recent Reunion of the 1960's graduating class (yes, they allowed me to attend!) As you know, these are wonderful weekends, full of old friends, old sights and old memories. Bruce Alexander and I spent it together with our wives.
Inevitably, talk amongst us turned to those people who left the most lasting memories and impact on our lives. Many were on the list eg. Corry, Royce, Tindall etc. etc. But one name came across everyone's lips; 'the Pad'. No-one, absolutely no-one, impacted the students of Queens in the fundamental and life-long manner that you did. Time and again stories of your sound advice, or just an arm around a shoulder helped students manage to struggle through, or indeed, even stay on at Queens.
As we discussed when we met at your home in Ottawa a few years ago, we are from different side of the religious street. Obviously you are a man of profound faith - you may recall that I am a man of dubious agnosticism. Maybe that is what drew us together for the many, many conversations we had all around the campus over three years.
You may recall that I flunked out. That was in '58. I did manage to get a B.Com from Carleton in '60. An ex-girlfriend of mine from Ottawa ran all the way from Ban Righ to your office, to tell you. Just two days later I received a book from you entitled 'Mere Christianity' by C.S. Lewis. Not quite my cup of tea, but nonetheless I read it from cover to cover - and took from it some lasting lessons for life. And this was at a time when my life was just beginning! As I said above Padre, you impacted more students that anyone else at Queens.
I can't wait to visit the no-doubt-soon-to-be-built non denominational Memorial Chapel at Queens, dedicated to Padre Laverty!
May God continue to bless you and your wife.
With much love,
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