Blazing the Trail in the Solomons
by Rev. Emmet McHardy
Edited by Eileen Duggan
Dominion Publishing Company, 1935 [First Edition], black and white photographic plates, photographic frontispiece, hardcover
Good Condition, some edge and shelf wear, some rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, previous price in black on front cover, age toned pages, no inscriptions (see photographs)
“Emmet McHardy, from Pihama in Taranaki, was the product of an old highland clan and Catholic Irish stock. After secondary schooling at St Patrick's College, Wellington, he joined the Society of Mary, and studied for the priesthood at Greenmeadows. We are told that he was constantly cheerful, with a debonair spirituality.
After ordination in 1928, he volunteered for an overseas mission assignment to the Northern Solomons. But three years of energetic service was cut short by ill health. On his return to New Zealand he declared, "Well, here am I a failure had a bad innings, gastric malaria got mixed up with a bit of pneumonia and a lung affected by TB. Eighty years later, we give him credit for that brief but vital innings.
Bishop Wade of Bougainville said that it would be difficult to find anywhere a man more fitted by nature for foreign missionary work. Cool, constant and cheerful, he had just the manner to win people and hold them.
God gave him to the mission for a very short period, but in that time he accomplished wonders. There was sorrow when he left, and loud sighs when told that God had called Father Emmet. A confrere remarked that he was truly a cross-cultural missionary. Asked to explain, he replied, "Have you not noticed that it makes no difference to him where you come from, or who you are?" Just to have merited that casual remark shows that Emmet McHardy's life was a success.
Every letter to his parents and family was alive with enthusiasm for his work in Tunuru. A selection of those long, type-written letters were of interest to a larger audience when excerpts were printed in the religious press on a few occasions. Later, Eileen Duggan, New Zealand's best known Catholic writer at the time, edited the letters in a volume with the arresting title, "Blazing the Trail in the Solomons". She affirmed that Emmet's strongest argument was a pleasant smile.” - www.columban.org.au