Friday, May 27, 2011

Catholic Tradition or Epic Fail ?

Following my previous blog about St Theresa's Convent, my sister text'd me to say that another venerable Catholic school, St Joseph's Institution, also has the same anomaly.

That got me wondering and so I looked up the Catholic Directory for Singapore.
Guess what I found?

Catholic schools and churches with the following names:
St Theresa's Convent
St Joseph's Convent
St Anthony's Convent
St Magdalene's Convent
St Patrick's School
St Anne's Church
St Joseph's Church
St Gabriel's School
Holy Innocent Girls' School
St Stephen' cetra..

Wow, what happened?
Most of the above names are schools where English is the language of instruction.

Maybe, it is a Catholic tradition to give possession of the school to its patron saint? I don't know.
Though I was born and raised a catholic, I didn't go to a catholic school so I wouldn't know if that's a school tradition, or an error perpetuated since the 1st Catholic school, St Joseph's, opened in 1852.

Anyway, not to dwell on this anomaly as I really don't know the background to it, I'd rather comment on the proper use of the 's in English grammer.

The best example for the proper placement of the apostrophe comes from the great poet Kingsley Amis when he was asked to demonstrate with a single sentence. He gave this....

  • Those things over there are my husband's. (Those things over there belong to my husband.)
  • Those things over there are my husbands'. (Those things over there belong to several husbands of mine.)
  • Those things over there are my husbands. (I'm married to those men over there.)

1 comment:

  1. You are quite right in your guess. The institutions under the saints, belong to those saints. Hence, "St. Joseph's Institution"... as in, the school belongs to St. Joseph.