Box 03-215 TO REV. CALVIN MCQUESTEN'S FORMER CLASSMATES from Rev. Calvin McQuesten
Dec 28 1950
To: Rev. Calvin McQuesten's former classmates
My dear fellows,
After Jim Menzie's splendid record of achievement, my own story will seem very humdrum and humble.
After graduation I was for a short time assistant to Dr. MacQueen [McQueen] in First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton. Then came brief pastorates at Bracebridge, Muskoka, and Buckingham, Quebec. About the middle of the First World War, I returned to the family home in Hamilton and became interested in the Sanatorium here. To many people, even ministers, a Sanatorium for the treatment of Tuberculosis is just "another hospital." As a matter of fact it is very different. Patients do not come into it for a few days or weeks with the expectation of shortly returning to their own homes again and resuming their former occupations. Their stay with us is seldom less than six months with no assurance that they will ever be able to do strenuous work again. It is a heartbreaking situation in which these people find themselves, facing broken lives and broken homes. Surely if ever people needed the consolation that is in Christ Jesus these people do. Yet no Church has ever seemed to quite realize the distressfulness of their condition.
For several years I carried on on a voluntary basis, feeling that God had definitely called me to this special work. And there was always room for me in the family home with my mother, sisters and brother (the former Minister of Highways).
When the Union was consummated, the United Church allowed me a stipend of $1000 a year. I was giving my whole time to the work and I kept hoping that in time it would be recognized as a full time job with at least the minimum stipend.
Instead of this, when the depression came, I was reduced to $900. And although in the last few years this was gradually increased to $1400, it has never been financially possible for me to marry, something which I have never ceased to regret. But I have contained to feel definitely called to this special work and, God help me, I could do no other. Moreover, I do not think that any minister ever received a richer reward in gratitude than I have from these dear people. And I feel that this work which God has enabled me to do through all these year has been well worthwhile.
Then last spring a break came. Rev. A.E. Sanderson, a retired minister who for 25 years had done a magnificent job as chaplain of the three city hospital became too feeble to carry on.
No other retired man was available. So Presbytery's Home Mission Committee without consulting me as to the feasibility of the scheme or even notifying me of their intention, engaged a young man, Rev. John A. Breckenridge to act as chaplain for the three large city hospitals and the Sanatorium which is the largest in the British Empire with more than seven hundred patients.
It is an utterly impossible task for any one man. And I feel more the curtailment of the services rendered to these dear people than I do the fact that my own services were abruptly dispensed with at a months notice. I cannot tell you how deeply touched I was by the heartfelt expressions of appreciation that came to me when my retirement was announced.
Of course I still enjoy the comfort of continuing to visit these dear people nearly every day.
Your humble classmate
Rev. Calvin McQuesten