This is the text of the tribute to Sister Margaret given at her funeral on 29th January 2016 by Sister Joan.
Margaret was born in Ireland in1930 and left her home town in Gort, County Galway 20 years later in order to follow her desire to become a Religious Sister. This desire became a reality when she made her First Profession in 1952 with The Sisters of St Gildas in France. On her return to England she studied for a teaching diploma and taught for several years in our schools in Somerset and London.
In the early 60,s Margaret embraced Vatican 2 wholeheartedly. She heard the cry of the poor and that famous quote from Gaudiem et Spes.
“The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the followers of Christ as well. Nothing that is genuinely human fails to find an echo in their hearts.”
From then on Margaret’s, spirituality was being fully human and being involved in humanity and finding God there.
So she asked to leave teaching in our private schools and studied to become a social worker and when qualified she worked first in Birmingham and later joined the Crusade of Rescue in the Westminster Diocese. This entailed a great deal of travelling all over London and the Home Counties helping young pregnant women who were alone and facing difficult decisions. This work also involved working with young couples wanting to adopt children.
On retirement Margaret became more actively involved in the parish as a member of the parish and the deanery team. She worked on the RCIA programme. She had groups of young mothers, who having dropped off their children to school met together to share the Scriptures in view of helping their children grow in faith. Margaret enjoyed going into the Infant school to read with the young children. She was also very committed in the Justice and Peace Movement and represented the congregation at diocesan level. One of her great joys was the Padre-Pio group which she continued to organize until quite recently.
Remember this was her retirement but she still had so much energy to give, so she enrolled in a course to qualify for massage with the principal intention of ministering to people who did not have the means to avail of this service. So she went along to Crisis at Christmas for some years where she washed and massaged the feet of many homeless people. Margaret was unstoppable.
Of course we must not forget her great love of animals, cats, dogs, you name them ,she loved them, and could often be seen walking the dogs of our neighbours. She knew them all by name.
During her long life Margaret had such a good influence on so many people and I am sure that many of you here today will have your own memories of her and your own reasons for gratitude. She had so many gifts and was always so willing to share them.
I would like to end with a quote from Matthew 25 v 34 -36 because these words were the reality of Margaret’s daily living.
“I was hungry and you fed me. Thirsty and you gave me a drink.
I was a stranger and you received me in your home.
Naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you took care of me.”
Jesus has truly said to her
“Come Margaret, welcome home my good and faithful friend”
Here are a selection of photos from the recent charity concert in aid of Seeds
A total of £570.16 was raised towards Seeds, our new parish provision for learning disabled adults so a huge thank you to everyone who contributed. We were very grateful to violinists Duo Klier and their pupils of St.Gilda’s School, St Gilda’s school choir and director, Tom Fowkes, and everyone who made the evening such a success. Sue Hessel, Mary Halliday and Kayte Brimacombe
Photos copyright Kayte Brimacombe.
Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size image
Blood flows like a river from your side,
Your human body was always too weak.
Yet the pain that it’s causing is agonizingly real,
Another wave every time that you speak.
Yet you do nothing.
Thorns pierce through the skin on your head,
All you hear is their mockery and threats.
Your eyelids are drooping, your head hung low,
Yet still you have no regrets.
So you do nothing.
Your arms are now aching, worse than before,
And your vision is blurred by your tears.
But you know that this suffering will come to an end,
So you cast away your worries and fears.
And you do nothing.
Below you they’re hooked by the numbers on a dice,
Gambling away your pride.
You’re left on top of a hill – entertainment for all,
And there’s nowhere to run to and hide.
Still you do nothing.
The seconds become minutes, which drag into hours,
And you long for an end to your pain.
But there’s no one to help you, no one at all,
So in the open you must remain.
You do nothing.
Your name is Jesus, King ofthe Jews,
Saviour of those who failed to save you.
And so you die, on a cross made of hate,
To be with God and unlock heaven’s gates.
By Mia Griso Dryer (12)
We would like to thank all our friends with and without learning disabilities who joined us at our recent Saturday afternoon at St Peter in Chains school hall on 17th January. There was a joyful atmosphere, lots of people came and we appreciated all the help from local people as well as St Joseph’s Pastoral Centre. We are hoping it will have helped us on our way to forming a L’Arche community in the parish. Here are a selection of Kayte’s photographs of our afternoon together.
Sue Hessel, Mary Halliday, Kayte Brimacombe
Click on the photos to see them properly and then click on the right or left hand side of them to see the next or previous one.
(Photographs copyright Kayte Brimacombe 2015 All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced/published)
“Although grounded in the Christian tradition, L’Arche Communities welcome people of all faiths and none: our vision is a world where all belong.”
“the L’Arche mission is of an inclusive community with a vision and culture of shared lives between people with and without learning disabilities. What makes L’Arche different is the attention we pay to building relationships and a sense of belonging.”
Sue Hessel, Mary Halliday and Kayte Brimacombe wish to thank everyone who came and contributed to the parish event for learning disabled people, their families, friends and people who want to help, on Tuesday, 11th November. Speakers were John Sargent, the National Leader for L’Arche UK, and Richard Keagan Bull of L’Arche Lambeth. Guests included John Coleby, Director of St. Joseph’s Pastoral Centre.
There was a great turnout and it was a beautiful, very moving evening. We sang and prayed; Richard Halliday performed two dances with his teacher, Esther. There was music by Vince and his band, and a poem composed by Jo Roach “For my Daughter” was read. Lots of people contributed food and drink and we raised over £200.
And a foundation stone was gently laid…
(all images copyright Kayte Brimacombe 2014. All rights reserved)
St Peter’s as it was
When we asked parishioners for their recollections or old pictures of the inside of the church, we did not know what, if anything, we would get. A number of parishioners loaned us pictures from the 1980s which showed things much as they are today. However this week Winnie Elkins, an ex-parishioner whose family were involved in the founding of the parish, loaned Fr Sean some old postcards showing the interior of the church.
Unfortunately there are no dates on the cards but the company producing them appears to have been around in the 1930s. Though the pictures are grainy, they show there were once paintings on the arch above the Sanctuary as well as on the wall behind the altar and, it appears, on the side wall above the tiling in St Joseph’s Chapel. There is also a picture of the altar that was once found in the Lady Chapel. The pictures of the High altar and Nave show the arrangement of the Sanctuary and altar rails as well as the pulpit.
With modern technology we have been able to scan the pictures and you can view them by clicking on the thumbnail images below.
When we finalise plans for the Sanctuary, we will see if anything remains under the wallpaper and paint!
With many thanks to Winnie and the other parishioners who have helped us with our research.
From the Westminster diocese website:
In his latest Pastoral Letter to Catholics in the Diocese of Westminster The Most Revd Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster is to ask every parish and community to refresh its reverence and love for the Blessed Sacrament and its practice of receiving Holy Communion.
You can listen to the Pastoral Letter by clicking here and the full text is available at the bottom of this webpage.
In the Pastoral Letter, which will be read out at the 214 parishes in the diocese on the weekend of 9 – 10 July 2011, Archbishop Nichols notes the usual practice of receiving Holy Communion and the choices which each recipient is at liberty to make.
“The usual practice in our parishes is for the Sacred Host to be received on the hand, standing, and – when practical and prudent to do so reverently- for the Precious Blood to be received from the Chalice, also whilst standing. This practice of standing is now confirmed in the Liturgical Norm for England and Wales, just recently approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome.”
“This Norm together with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal also provide choices which each recipient is at liberty to make: to receive the Sacred Host in the hand or on the tongue, either standing or kneeling. Each way has its symbolic and spiritual meaning helping us to be profoundly aware of whom it is that we receive and the unity of faith we share.”
In the Pastoral Letter, Archbishop Nichols also reminds Catholics of the need to observe a Eucharistic fast and to seek forgiveness of sins.
“It is important that we also prepare well to receive Holy Communion. We observe a Eucharistic fast, of at least one hour. We seek forgiveness of our sins, through the penitential prayers of the Mass and through the Sacrament of Penance, especially whenever we are conscious of grave sin.”