The real world of the Left Hand of God

The Sanctuary | Salesian College

Salesian College

The main Salesian dormitory known, in The Left Hand of God and in real life, as The Barn.  It slept about eighty people.

Inside theBarn. This doesn’t really give a sense of the immense size of the place as the photo is taken from half way down the dormitory and foreshortens the width considerably.

These two lovelies, both about fifteen, might persuade the sceptics about the physically intimidating nature of some teenagers. Compared to two of my friends in particular they look rather sweet. Though a couple of years before my time they were apparently taught boxing by a priest nicknamed ‘Killer’

The ambulacrum or ambo where we sheltered from the weather. There were almost no inside spaces to go during the day as the dormitories were locked.

This is the Refectory or ‘ref’ where the boys ate their terrible food. The eagle-eyed may notice that the tables are carefully laid and with tablecloths and that this hardly speaks of the privation I’ve complained about. This photo was taken before it became a school when it was a house of studiesfor priests only.

Note that we ate our meals under a lifesized image of a man being tortured to death. The notion of The Hanged Redeemer – a character whose obvious good nature was simply ignored bythe Redeemers – is an example of the strange-making I write about in the Essays section. By changing the method of execution I wanted to try and make it clear what an odd image of Jesus it was: he is not someone whose philosphy is dominated by death and suffering as central aspects of living the good life. What would he have thought about the point of making children eat their meals under an image of such horror?