However, there is much more to learn about our Fr. de Verteuil.
He is a man of great talent and we are truly blessed to have him as a part of our school’s community.
So let’s look at some information we may not have known about him…
Father Michael Anthony de Verteuil was born on May 7, 1932.
He received a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts degree) in English and History from the University College, Dublin, Ireland.
He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1962.
Fr. DeVerteuil taught at St. Mary's College (CIC) from 1963-1992. His term at St Mary’s was interrupted briefly from 1966-68 when he served as vice-principal at Fatima College.
He is an avid researcher and author of many works on the history of Trinidad and Tobago and has published 37…yes, 37 books! Most of them are on Trinidad’s history!!
Fr. de Verteuil received the Trinidad and Tobago national award, Humming Bird medal (Gold) in 1993 and an Honorary LLD degree from the University of the West Indies in 2004… both for his work as an educator, author/historian and his commitment to the church and service to his fellow human beings.
In addition to the many Masses where he is the celebrant, he also conducts masses at Trinity TV.
He is truly one of our national treasures!!
His books have dealt with a wide range of topics, but many of them are about the island's French Creole community, to which he belongs by birth.
He has also published books on the Corsicans, the Irish, the Germans and the Jews – explaining how they got here, what they did and how they contributed to the national fabric of Trinidad and Tobago.
In a recent interview fact, Fr de Verteuil excitedly talks about his latest work (his 38th book), titled “The Great Eight”, about the magnificent houses around the Queen’s Park Savannah, to be released in May, around his 83rd birthday.
Here are some parts of that interview, where Fr. de Verteuil speaks more about his life and his views about Lent:
Q. What message would you like to give to T&T? What does Easter mean to you?
A: Enjoy Lent—experience the happiness of getting closer to God. Easter means “resurrection,” putting aside my sins and failures of the past and with the help of Jesus, beginning a new life of generosity, compassion and joy.
Q. Who were the people who have influenced you the most?
A. My parents and my older twin brother, Eric, who all provided in their own special ways a constant incentive as well as a sense of togetherness.
Q. What does it mean to be Catholic?
A. A follower of Christ, a member of a church community which is open to all and follows the successor of St Peter.
Q. Tell us about your inspiration to join the priesthood...at what age did you have your calling?
A. I stayed an extra year at St Mary’s to study A-Level Science in view of entering Bangor University, Wales, to do a degree in Forestry and during the course of that year, I became convinced—after much prayer and deliberation—that God wanted me to be a priest in the Holy Ghost Fathers. I left the next year for the Novitiate in Quebec, Canada. I was then 20 years old and working with an accounting firm.
Q. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
A. From age ten months to 20 years I spent all my life in Trinidad. I was born in London where my father, a doctor, was doing a postgraduate degree. My mother was then aged 46 and in poor health and was diagnosed with a tumour of the womb, which later turned out to be twins! (Two more not tumour, according to my brother Eric).
Q. What educational institutions did you attend?
A. I was home schooled and then spent 11 years at St Mary's College from prep to Upper Six; then the Novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers, Lac-au-Saumon, Quebec, Canada; then Kimmage Manor Scholasticate, Dublin, Ireland; and finally University College, Dublin, Ireland.
Teaching at St Mary’s College…
I taught A-Level English literature, history, geography and religion. Still teach Upper and Lower Six religion. At St Mary's I was involved in playing and coaching hockey and tennis for the college, organising camps, field trips and retreats, concerts, wrote and produced three 'Modifications' of Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas. At one time or another was dean of Form Four, Five, Six, and games master. Oh, and principal from 1978-1992.
Q. What is your greatest fear in life?
A. That something I did or didn't do may cause discouragement to others or lead them astray.
Q. What would you say is your greatest virtue?
A. Keeping cool.
Q. What daily motto do you live by?
A. God is good.
Q. Describe yourself in two words—one beginning with A, the other with D?
A. Actually, Nasser, my twin brother, Eric, always reminds me that my full name is Michael Anthony De Verteuil, so my initials are really MAD, which I’m sure he would say is the appropriate answer (laughing).