Fr. Paul Lester Stenhouse, MSC (1935–2019), passed away of cancer recently. I initially learned about him through the good offices of his dear friend, a contributor to his publications and fellow Aussie, Wanda Skowronska, who was kind enough to share some stories about him. She also encouraged our cooperation.
Fr. Stenhouse was truly a Christian universalist in the best sense, firmly believing that we are all children of God. Thus, he made friends easily and they came in all shapes and hues. His milieu in Australia was extremely colorful in all sorts of ways. It included Pierre Rykmans, an Orientalist; Father Matthew of the Coptic Orthodox church; and Father Peter Guy, who prays the Mass in the Graeco-Byzantine Catholic rite, as well as in the Novus Ordo and Tridentine Latin rites. Father John F. McMahon, MSC, dubbed his friend “a priest for all seasons.” Fr. Stenhouse helped immigrants, journalists, scholars, and even musicians. He was a Catholic priest of the world, without losing his bearings by descending into the morass of cosmopolitism.