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Sunningdale Avenue

February 2017

Some youngsters from the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre have come to prepare the vegetable plot and to sow bean seeds and tomatoes seeds.

Sister Martha celebrates being 100 years young

February 22nd  2017

You are 100 year old

Means 100 years of blessings

From Our Lord Jesus Christ.

You live life to the fullest.

You have lost your youth

But your heart is gold

Nothing is more important than

All the wonderful things that you did.

Someday you'll meet Our Greatest Father,

He'll embrace you in His loving arms

And will thank you for being a good follower

Of His commandments. Poem by Alon Calinao Dy 

Sister Martha Hickey IJS 

Celebrates her 100th Birthday  

February 22nd 2017

This is the day that the Lord has made;

We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Sister Florence O' Sullivan IJS

February 2017

Sr.Florence peacefully died in Millstreet Ireland on 19th February 2017 at the age of 88 years old. She was a missionary, spending time in Malaysia, Singapore and Nigeria. After returning to Ireland she spent 34 years in various education missions. She had a great love of nature and all creation. 

The following was read out at her funeral.

' I think Sr. Florence's wish for all of us today is:

"When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom filed room:

Why cry for a soul set free"

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.

Tadpoles arrive 

March 2017

The wonder of creation. The small pond in the Sunningdale Avenue garden now has several clumps of frog spawn. What is interesting the spawn is 5 weeks later than last year.

Sunningdale Avenue

March  2017

Spring has arrived and the hens are very happy to at last be able to scratch in the garden. Its been a long winter for them, especially being enclosed owing to the Avian Flu. They have now come into lay and the local community are benefiting from delicious fresh eggs.

Spring comes to the Sunningdale Avenue. Community

The Prayer of the Frog

March 2017

'Brother Bruno was disturbed by the croaking of frogs. He shouted out " Quiet I am at my prayers"  Being a saint he was instantly obeyed. An inner voice said 'Maybe  God is pleased with the croaking of the frog". With this in mind Bruno then gave the order, Sing!" Bruno's heart then became in harmony with the universe and for the first time in his life he understood what it means to pray ." Adapted from the Prayer of the Frog Anthony de Mello

Sunningdale Avenue

March  2017

There is now a broody Bantam hen sitting on eggs. All being well we will have chicks hatched out for Easter.

Spring comes to the Sunningdale Avenue. Community

March 2017

'They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils." William Wordsworth

Sun shines at the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre

March 2017

The dog and horse in the stable lay

The Sun shines where it may

Tranquility and peace fill the air

And stable life becomes a prayer

 Sunningdale Avenue Community

Blazes & Brigades is shown on BBCFour

Sister Mary Joy is in the programme as she was Britain's first female fire fighter.

April 14th 2017

Easter comes to the Sunningdale Avenue Community

April 16th 2017

To be given an Easter egg is a symbol of hope and of new life. It is likened to the tomb of Jesus Christ. The hatching out of a chick from the egg, symbolises new life which we celebrate at Easter

Easter comes to the Sunningdale Avenue Community

April 16th 2017

God's love is like a mother hen: who hides under her wings.

St Chad's Sanctuary

April  2017

A scared and tired father

A woman pregnant and in pain

An uncertain future for an unborn child

Who'll face anger, exclusion and disdain

behind a census of statistics

We still hide the human face

Of a desperation that dares to dream

That begs of another, grace.

But that one who said he had nothing

There's nothing here left to give

Was it in putting a face to a number he knew

You deserved not just to survive but to live?

And when he stretched an open hand

Did God's kingdom touch this earth?

And is this still an incarnation moment

When we dare believe in the other's worth?

When we smile 'come in and welcome'

To those whose lives are tattered and torn

In these the tiniest glimmers of hope

-Each day anew the Messiah is born.

Poem by Stephanie Neville Volunteer at the St Chad's Sanctuary

Sr. Louise Roche

April 24th  2017

Peacefully died at St Joseph's Convent, Model Farm Road Ireland. 

She became a postulant in 1947 and made final vows in Paris in 1954

Sr. Louise will be greatly missed by her family, community and many friends.

'Darkness into Light' in Killarney

May 6th  2017

Sisters Rosemary & Maria walked in Darkness into Light as part of a global movement to raise awareness and funds for the prevention of suicide and self harm. This year there were participants from 150 centres throughout the world who joined in the 5 km walk. The funds will enable Pieta House, the Centre for the Prevention of Self-Harm or Suicide, to provide life-giving support to those living in the shadows.

Sister Margaret Walsh receives 'Life Time Achievement Award'

25th July 2017

This prestigious award was presented in recognition of many years of dedicated service to the 'Hope Community', Wolverhampton, 'Brushstrokes' and her on going work at 'The Sanctuary' in Birmingham.

The presenter Phil Brennion, Chair of the British International, stated that he hoped this would not represent the culmination of her achievements but would inspire her to look ahead to other challenging projects. 

Congratulations Margaret, Where will you take us next?

Sister Margaret Walsh receives 'Life Time Achievement Award'

July 27th  2017

On 27th July 2017 Sisters Margaret attended The Community Inspirational Award Ceremony in Birmingham.

There were 2 categories " Public Services" and "Community". Sister Margaret was short listed for the Life Time Achievement Award and during the ceremony she was presented with this well deserved award.

Annual Summer Retreat in Ballyferriter

July  2017

In July, IJ sisters and friends gathered in Ballyferriter, Co Kerry, from England, Scotland and Ireland for what has become an annual event in this place of haunting mystical beauty. This year we revisited "The Gospel of John" reading it as the gospel in which Jesus most clearly reveals the inner Life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, how The Word and the Spirit in Creation since "the beginning " and how we are invited, and enabled, to live, even now, in communion with the One who loves us eternally. For many of us, this was perhaps the first time we read this Gospel from beginning to end. Seeing it as a whole brought many fresh life giving insights. We had the added joy of being together in one place with the possibility of hiking, swimming, cycling or walking, surrounded by unpolluted air and beauty. Sister Georgina IJ

Cormac, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor

12th September  2017

It is with sadness that we all heard of the death of His Eminence Cormac, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor. Over numerous years the Cardinal has been a friend to many of the sisters. We have worked with him, played with him and prayed with him. He had a great sense of humour and was indeed a man of deep prayer and love for his priestly duties.

May he now rest in peace and be enjoying all the pleasures of heaven.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Sister Gertie Lalor enjoying and celebrating her 80th Birthday.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Sister Mary de Courcey Mac Donnell celebrates her birthday and with youthful energy she blows out her 80th birthday candle!

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

The smiles say it all. Three Sisters peacefully relaxing together. Sisters Beatrice and Agatha Ahern with Rosario McAuliffe

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Sisters Martha Hickey who is seated and Sister Clare O'Callaghan enjoying a joke on Martha's 100th birthday.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Sister Ita Higgins and Sister Elizabeth Browne

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Birthday bells for Carmel McMahon

and Elizabeth Browne who celebrates being 90 years young.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Here are two great buddies sharing some time together. Sister Mary Cotter and Sister Mary Carmody.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Sister Catherine Golden seen here relaxing on her 94th Birthday.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

The smiling face of Sister Gertie Lalor with Mary O'Connor.

St Joseph's Community

 September  2017

Jubilee Celebrations are always a good time to meet and catch up.

We see here Gathered together Sisters Catherine O' Sullivan, Mairéad O' Sullivan and Fidelma Hogan.

The photos below share a glimpse of community life, birthdays and jubilees at St Joseph's Cork.

Millstreet Community

 October  2017

Congratulations to our 4 Diamond Jubilarians who celebrate together an incredible total of 240 years as Infant Jesus Sisters.

Mary O'Connell, Pauline O'Dwyer, Rosario McAulife and Frances Dwane. 

A special celebration was held at the Millstreet Community at Springford Hall. Co. Cork

Hope Community Wolverhampton

 October  2017

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant presented the award to Sue Allen.

 A message was read out from Her Majesty the Queen which said 

'Hope was being honoured for "addressing loneliness and isolation, and supporting vulnerable people experiencing difficulties and disadvantage in life."

In this photograph we see the two smiling faces of Sister Margaret Walsh Founder of the Hope Community and Sue Allen the Project Manager.

Hope Community Wolverhampton

 October  2017

Congratulations to Sister Margaret and all at the Hope Community Heath Town, for receiving the prestigious Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. An extremely well deserved award for all the consistent hard work carried out for many years.

Sunningdale Avenue Community 

 October  2017

Sister Mary-Joy is made a Fellow of the Riding for the Disabled Association. Mary Joy is seen here with Paralympic medalist Sophie Christiansen.

Sunningdale Avenue Community 

 October  2017

Sister Mary-Joy is invited to the Women of the Year Luncheon. Seen here with Dany Cotton Commissioner of London Fire Brigade.

 January 2018

If you would like to visit our international website please click on the link above.

Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre 

January 2018

In the New Year Queens' honours  it was announced that Sr. Mary Joy has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work with disadvantaged and disabled children.

Two very special centenarians

January 2018

Sister Martha who will be 101 this year and Sister Eleanor has just celebrated her 100th birthday. 

In addition these two incredible ladies will also later this year be celebrating 80 years of religious life. 

Many congratulations and a sincere thank you for their dedicated years of service as Sisters of the Infant Jesus.

From the Advent bulb to the New Year flowering 

January 2018

Part of the action for our IJ Advent calendar was to plant a traditional Amaryllis bulb. Here we see a stunning four bloom Amaryllis. The flower is like the four points of the compass, pointing out to the world.  As an international congregation this flowers is a symbol of the different global directions where our sisters may be found. 

Thank you to Sr. Marie for sending  in.

New icon of Blessed Nicolas Barré recently commissioned by the French Province and given to the participants at the Council of the Institute 2018

March 2018

To view the icon and use the image/picture as you wish, click on this link: then click on L’Homme and click on Iconographie Scroll down and you will find the new icon (pictured below) among other pictures of paintings and sculptures of Fr Barré. As the icon is the property of the Infant Jesus Sisters, you will not be infringing copyright by using it.

The province of France would appreciate being able to put images from other countries on this website which is dedicated to Nicolas Barré.

Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation on Holiness “Gaudete et Exsultate” to Be Published Monday

April 2018

Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate (‘Rejoice and Be Glad’), with the subtitle “On the call to holiness in the contemporary world,” will be presented on Monday in the Vatican.

In a statement, the Holy See Press Office announced that the document will be presented in the Press Office on April 9, 2018, by Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome, Bishop Angelo De Donatis, Paola Bignardi, former president of Catholic Action Italy, and Italian journalist Gianni Valente.

This Exhortation marks Francis’ third, after his Evangelii Gaudium (‘The Joy of the Gospel’) in 2013, and Amoris Laetitia ( ‘The Joy of Love’) in 2016.

May 2018

Jubilee Celebrations held at St Joseph's  Cork. It was a joyful day with a wonderful liturgy, delicious food with time shared with each other and to top it the weather was perfect.

Sister Fidelma's 'Limerick' sums up the day of celebrations and our mission so succinctly 

June 2018

There was once an IJ Congregation

That knew how to make celebration

By caring and sharing

With courage and daring

They infected the whole of Creation!

General Chapter 2019

June 2019

​General Chapter 2019

Opening Address 16th June 2019 

A very warm welcome to you all to this beautiful city of Rome, the eternal city, Italy’s global and cosmopolitan capital encompassing nearly 3,000 years of art, architecture and culture.

The General Chapter 2019 has begun with our Opening Mass and the commitment of each one of the participants. It takes place every six years and is a very significant event in the life of the Institute.

We are gathered here as an international and intercultural group, coming from four continents and representing many different backgrounds and experiences, but with a shared charism and history. This is a truly remarkable gathering, supported by the prayer of the whole Institute and our many friends and colleagues. Each one here has a unique and vital contribution to make. So, let us celebrate who we are and enter into the work of the General Chapter by being creatively present, lovingly engaged and courageously active.

The Book of the Institute (no. 96) makes it very clear that the main purpose of a General Chapter is to be an instrument of renewal for the Institute and an opportunity to reflect on and articulate the charism in fresh and compelling ways:

“The General Chapter is a collegial assembly which represents the Institute in its unity and diversity. It provides a special opportunity for conversion when, under the action of the Holy Spirit, the whole Institute reviews its life and renews the dynamism of its charism within the Church, while at the same time seeking to preserve its spiritual heritage. It draws up definite objectives so that the Institute may better accomplish its mission in the present day world.”

The Chapter is a ‘faith-event’, which means that faith permeates all that happens from the first day of preparation to the end of the Chapter. This faith is exercised through discernment. The discernment process requires a spirit of inner freedom in each one of us and a high level of trust in one another. Each person is invited to be attentive to what is happening within herself and to trust that God will speak to her through others also.

This time in the life of the Institute is God’s time for us. It is the space where all that has gone before us reaches its peak, and all that is in front of us begins to reveal its possibilities. Through our faith we also know that it is the time to recognise God’s incarnate Word with us, the Spirit breathing in and through us.

Pope Francis gave a talk recently where he said that the future has a name, and the name of the future is Hope! We are called to hope in the vision of God for the future. We are religious women called to communion, consecrated women called to the discipleship of Jesus, to be sacraments of the presence of God in our world. We hope with the prophet Jeremiah, “Yes, I know the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for peace not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”(Jer.29:11). This vision of hope for the challenges and suffering of the present to become a future filled with life requires that we enter deeply into the mystery of our consecrated lives. We will journey to the promise of hope by remaining steadfast in our faith and in our identity as women religious and as Infant Jesus sisters.

Our vision of hope is embedded deep in the heart of our charism. We are a people with a vision, a vision of the love and compassion of God for all creation. As Infant Jesus sisters in our provinces, vice-provinces and districts, whether we are young or old, many or few, we are witnesses to compassion. Our prophetic vision is in our hearts, hands, and feet. The places we walk, the people we encounter and the way we accompany them, and how we pray, tell the story of compassion as we follow Jesus.

The choice of theme for the Chapter, ‘Listen! I am sending you on a new path’ is the result of a process of reflection, sharing and collaboration that involved the whole Institute. It was finalised at the Council of the Institute last year in Kuala Lumpur. It is the fruit of an attentive look at today’s world with its needs and calls. What is important is the call of God to Listen! to the voice of the Spirit at all times - before, during and after every decision and every action we take. This is what discernment is all about. There are many choices to be made in our lives and we need discerning hearts.

We have inherited a great tradition from Nicolas Barré, Mother Mathilde, our first sisters, our first missionaries, and all of those Infant Jesus sisters who have gone before us, many of whom we have known personally, whom we have loved and who have inspired us. We can all remember those sisters who have been an influence either on our vocation as IJs or at special moments in our lives. We thank God for them all. Let us hold them in our hearts and know that they are with us as we journey and search for the new path on which God wants to send us at this time in our history.

The quest for the future must begin by remembering. To understand the future we need to take time to remember. We need to enter into the mystery of our memory, even though it is sometimes selective, sometimes painful, and sometimes hidden. We need to tell and retell the stories that made us: our pioneer stories, our founding stories, our stories of renewal and conflict; we will find the seeds of our hope there.

We tell stories to know who we are! Can we be brave enough to retell our stories of compassion and courage? When we trust in our own stories, in our voices as women, when we stand in our faith with the gift of hope, we will join all those quiet women and men who are gently, simply, lovingly restoring creation, restoring peace and restoring human dignity.

We need the gift of compassion found in the stories that have inspired our courage as consecrated women over the centuries. These stories began long ago with Jesus and the women he encountered. Women who teach us to treat women like Jesus did, respectfully and lovingly. Women who teach us to take counsel, like Jesus did from Mary, his mother, who advised him at the wedding in Cana. Women who teach us to find wisdom in women, like the Samaritan woman at the well, and to accept the challenges of the Syrophoenician woman, just as Jesus did. Women who call us to notice suffering like Jesus did when the woman with the haemorrhage touched him. As women of hope and compassion, let us embrace the call to love, trust, and challenge the women and men who journey with us.

As we live this time together at the General Chapter, the times of prayer, the silence and the discernment process will call us to an inner exploration of what the Spirit is awakening in us. Let us look to the past with gratitude and let us live the present moment with passion so that we can move forward with hope.

May we have a very fruitful General Chapter and may it bring abundant life to each one of us and to all our sisters and lay friends who are with us on this new and exciting journey.

On April 23rd 2019, Sister Catherine Golden I.J peacefully died at St Josephs's Model Farm Road Ireland.

July 2019

Time and place no more exist,

And all fixed objects pale;

Elaborate preparations too give way

As God invades the soul,

depriving her of power to speak and act,

flooding her with his holy presence.

Her customary need to act suspended,

she no longer tries or needs

to play an active role.

She feels her inner self expand

in utter freedom, love and peace.

(Spiritual Canticle 16) Nicolas Barré

Pope Francis' message

calling the whole

Church to revive and

renew the Churchʼs

missionary commitment

October 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the month of October 2019, I have asked that the whole Church revive her missionary awareness and commitment as we commemorate the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV (30 November 1919). Its farsighted and prophetic vision of the apostolate has made me realize once again the importance of renewing the Church’s missionary commitment and giving fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again.

The title of the present Message is the same as that of October’s Missionary Month: Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World. Celebrating this month will help us first to rediscover the missionary dimension of our faith in Jesus Christ, a faith graciously bestowed on us in baptism. Our filial relationship with God is not something simply private, but always in relation to the Church. Through our communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we, together with so many of our other brothers and sisters, are born to new life. This divine life is not a product for sale – we do not practise proselytism – but a treasure to be given, communicated and proclaimed: that is the meaning of mission. We received this gift freely and we share it freely (cf. Mt10:8), without excluding anyone. God wills that all people be saved by coming to know the truth and experiencing his mercy through the ministry of the Church, the universal sacrament of salvation (cf. 1 Tim 2:4; Lumen Gentium, 48).

The Church is on mission in the world. Faith in Jesus Christ enables us to see all things in their proper perspective, as we view the world with God’s own eyes and heart. Hope opens us up to the eternal horizons of the divine life that we share. Charity, of which we have a foretaste in the sacraments and in fraternal love, impels us to go forth to the ends of the earth

(cf. Mic 5:4; Mt28:19; Acts 1:8; Rom 10:18). A Church that presses forward to the farthest frontiers requires a constant and ongoing missionary conversion. How many saints, how many men and women of faith, witness to the fact that this unlimited openness, this going forth in mercy, is indeed possible and realistic, for it is driven by love and its deepest meaning as gift, sacrifice and gratuitousness (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-21)! The man who preaches God must be a man of God (cf. Maximum Illud).

This missionary mandate touches us personally: I am a mission, always; you are a mission, always; every baptized man and woman is a mission. People in love never stand still: they are drawn out of themselves; they are attracted and attract others in turn; they give themselves to others and build relationships that are life-giving. As far as God’s love is concerned, no one is useless or insignificant. Each of us is a mission to the world, for each of us is the fruit of God’s love. Even if parents can betray their love by lies, hatred and infidelity, God never takes back his gift of life. From eternity he has destined each of his children to share in his divine and eternal life (cf. Eph 1:3-6).

This life is bestowed on us in baptism, which grants us the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, the conqueror of sin and death. Baptism gives us rebirth in God’s own image and likeness, and makes us members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. In this sense, baptism is truly necessary for salvation for it ensures that we are always and everywhere sons and daughters in the house of the Father, and never orphans, strangers or slaves. What in the Christian is a sacramental reality – whose fulfillment is found in the Eucharist – remains the vocation and destiny of every man and woman in search of conversion and salvation. For baptism fulfils the promise of the gift of God that makes everyone a son or daughter in the Son. We are children of our natural parents, but in baptism we receive the origin of all fatherhood and true motherhood: no one can have God for a Father who does not have the Church for a mother (cf. Saint Cyprian, De Cath. Eccl., 6).

Our mission, then, is rooted in the fatherhood of God and the motherhood of the Church. The mandate given by the Risen Jesus at Easter is inherent in Baptism: as the Father has sent me, so I send you, filled with the Holy Spirit, for the reconciliation of the world (cf. Jn 20:19-23; Mt 28:16-20). This mission is part of our identity as Christians; it makes us responsible for enabling all men and women to realize their vocation to be adoptive children of the Father, to recognize their personal dignity and to appreciate the intrinsic worth of every human life, from conception until natural death. Today’s rampant secularism, when it becomes an aggressive cultural rejection of God’s active fatherhood in our history, is an obstacle to authentic human fraternity, which finds expression in reciprocal respect for the life of each person. Without the God of Jesus Christ, every difference is reduced to a baneful threat, making impossible any real fraternal acceptance and fruitful unity within the human race.

The universality of the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ led Benedict XV to call for an end to all forms of nationalism and ethnocentrism, or the merging of the preaching of the Gospel with the economic and military interests of the colonial powers. In his Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, the Pope noted that the Church’s universal mission requires setting aside exclusivist ideas of membership in one’s own country and ethnic group. The opening of the culture and the community to the salvific newness of Jesus Christ requires leaving behind every kind of undue ethnic and ecclesial

introversion. Today too, the Church needs men and women who, by virtue of their baptism, respond generously to the call to leave behind home, family, country, language and local Church, and to be sent forth to the nations, to a world not yet transformed by the sacraments of Jesus Christ and his holy Church. By proclaiming God’s word, bearing witness to the Gospel and celebrating the life of the Spirit, they summon to conversion, baptize and offer Christian salvation, with respect for the freedom of each person and in dialogue with the cultures and religions of the peoples to whom they are sent. The missio ad gentes, which is always necessary for the Church, thus contributes in a fundamental way to the process of ongoing conversion in all Christians. Faith in the Easter event of Jesus; the ecclesial mission received in baptism; the geographic and cultural detachment from oneself and one’s own home; the need for salvation from sin and liberation from personal and social evil: all these demand the mission that reaches to the very ends of the earth.

The providential coincidence of this centenary year with the celebration of

the Special Synod on the Churches in the Amazonallows me to emphaze how the mission entrusted to us by Jesus with the gift of his Spirit is also timely and necessary for those lands and their peoples. A renewed Pentecost opens wide the doors of the Church, in order that no culture remain closed in on itself and no people cut off from the universal communion of the faith. No one ought to remain closed in self-absorption, in the self-referentiality of his or her own ethnic and religious affiliation. The Easter event of Jesus breaks through the narrow limits of worlds, religions and cultures, calling them to grow in respect for the dignity of men and women, and towards a deeper conversion to the truth of the Risen Lord who gives authentic life to all.

Here I am reminded of the words of Pope Benedict XVI at the beginning of the meeting of Latin American Bishops at Aparecida, Brazil, in 2007. I would like to repeat these words and make them my own: “Yet what did the acceptance of the Christian faith mean for the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean? For them, it meant knowing and welcoming Christ, the unknown God whom their ancestors were seeking, without realizing it, in their rich religious traditions. Christ is the Saviour for whom they were silently longing. It also meant that they received, in the waters of Baptism, the divine life that made them children of God by adoption; moreover, they received the Holy Spirit who came to make their cultures fruitful, purifying them and developing the numerous seeds that the incarnate Word had planted in them, thereby guiding them along the paths of the Gospel... The Word of God, in becoming flesh in Jesus Christ, also became history and culture. The utopia of going back to breathe life into the pre-Columbian religions, separating them from Christ and from the universal Church, would not be a step forward: indeed, it would be a step back. In reality, it would be a retreat towards a stage in history anchored in the past” (Address at the Inaugural Session, 13 May

2007: Insegnamenti III, 1 [2007], 855-856).

We entrust the Church’s mission to Mary our Mother. In union with her Son, from the moment of the Incarnation the Blessed Virgin set out on her pilgrim way. She was fully involved in the mission of Jesus, a mission that became her own at the foot of the Cross: the mission of cooperating, as Mother of the Church, in bringing new sons and daughters of God to birth in the Spirit and in faith.

I would like to conclude with a brief word about the Pontifical Mission Societies, already proposed in Maximum Illud as a missionary resource. The Pontifical Mission Societies serve the Church’s universality as a global network of support for the Pope in his missionary commitment by prayer, the soul of mission, and charitable offerings from Christians throughout the world. Their donations assist the Pope in the evangelization efforts of particular Churches (the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith), in the formation of local clergy (the Pontifical Society of Saint Peter the Apostle), in raising missionary awareness in children (Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood) and in encouraging the missionary dimension of Christian faith (Pontifical Missionary Union). In renewing my support for these Societies, I trust that the extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 will contribute to the renewal of their missionary service to my ministry.

To men and women missionaries, and to all those who, by virtue of their baptism, share in any way in the mission of the Church, I send my heartfelt blessing.

From the Vatican, 9 June 2019, Solemnity of Pentecost


Happy Feast of St Francis 4th October

October 2019

It is quite extraordinary to remember that St Francis was blind and not very well when he composed the Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

Laudato Si!

Happy Feast Day  Nicolas Barré 21st October

October 2019

398 years old today!!! A gift the world including ourselves are still unwrapping! As we celebrate perhaps we can mull over possible ways we might be able to celebrate Nicolas' 400th birthday!

 22nd October Sister Margaret Walsh receives an Honorary Degree

October 2019

Sr Margaret Walsh has been an Infant Jesus Sister for over 50 years and it was while teaching in a comprehensive school in Crewe that she heard God’s call to live and work in the inner city and in 1984 was led to Wolverhampton. Margaret and her team of Sisters and lay people regularly visited the tenants on the Heath Town estate. They soon found those most in need and were able to help by listening and working with them. Some years later, a centre for family activities was set up on the estate and the Hope Community continues to thrive. After spending some time on Sabbatical in India, Sr Margaret moved to Smethwick in Sandwell and, with a growing team of volunteers, she set up the Brushstrokes Community Project in 1999. Again, the aim was to support the most vulnerable. While visiting families she met asylum seekers and soon felt that they were the most deprived and isolated in the neighbourhood. Many of the Project’s activities became designed around their needs.

When the Brushstrokes Community Project was well established, Sr Margaret became aware of a growing need in Birmingham city, especially among asylum seekers who had become homeless and destitute. St Chad’s Cathedral was approached for help and the Salvation Army was also happy to be involved. St Chad’s Sanctuary was established in February 2010 and is now a recognised city centre project offering a multi-faith and multi-cultural place of welcome, support and practical help for asylum seekers and refugees.

Sr Margaret is still the full time, voluntary manager at St Chad’s Sanctuary with over 100 volunteers and a small core group of staff. Visiting Erasmus students from all over Europe have been welcomed on placements and many students from Newman University have been inspired by involvement, and continued working on a voluntary basis after their assessment ended. Sr Margaret remains on the management of the Hope Community and Brushstrokes and she is also a trustee with Birmingham Churches Together.

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred by Newman University on Sr Margaret Walsh for her visionary and inspirational work over many years to help those who find themselves marginalised in society.

Thank you Margaret for all you are and do. We hope everyone will be inspired through this award and the work it represents to say...and do... as today's psalm says:

Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will.

 27th October Lucian Freud's unknown horse sketch

October 2019

Lucian Freud, the nun … and a disgruntled horse

Sister Mary Joy recalls her unlikely friendship with the artist as equine sketch goes to auction

Dalya Alberge

Sat 26 Oct 2019 14.28 BST First published on Sat 26 Oct 2019 13.05 BST

A previously unknown Lucian Freud sketch is to go under the hammer after a Roman Catholic sister who struck up an unlikely friendship with the painter finally decided to part with it for the good of her ponies.

The unfinished drawing on canvas has for years been in the possession of Sister Mary Joy Langdon, who runs the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre in west London, which Freud visited regularly, combining his passions for drawing, painting and riding.

When he turned up for the first time in 2002, having by then been one of the world’s most famous artists for decades, the nun failed to recognise him and mistook him for an enthusiastic amateur just starting out. She handed him a beginner’s book on how to paint horses, which was soon returned.

“I hadn’t a clue who he was,” she told the Observer. “I said, ‘This is a simple book on how to draw horses, maybe you would like to look at it.’ Lucian carefully turned over each page. Then he handed it back to me in a very gentlemanly fashion, thanked me and said, ‘It’s very good.’”

Freud became a regular at the centre over time. “What he valued was that nobody knew who he was. He’d come in the morning. I had several students with special needs in the yard on courses. They hadn’t a clue who he was. So that was freedom for him,” said Sister Mary Joy.

To raise funds for the charity, which she founded 30 years ago, she has now decided to part with a picture of a Welsh cob called Goldie, a stunning chestnut with flaxen mane and tail. It is estimated to fetch between £40,000 and £60,000 at auction.

Sister Mary Joy was surprised when Freud selected the horse: “I wouldn’t have wanted to spend hours with Goldie. She liked her own space and would tell you, ‘I’m not particularly keen on you.’ I really wanted him to go to Sioux, a skewbald mare with a lovely personality.” After a few days, Freud realised that he also “didn’t warm” to Goldie, she recalled. “That’s when he chose Sioux. He did two paintings of her.”

Freud died in 2011, aged 88, with his output in later years marked by a number of equine portraits. It is rare for works by him to have not been seen, so any discovery is significant.

“I love the Sketch of Goldie for what it reveals about Lucian’s process – a canvas worked up in charcoal and then rubbed over with paint rags to give it form and energy,” said Krassi Kuneva, from Chiswick Auctions in west London, which will offer the drawing up in its sale of modern and postwar British art on 3 December.

“It’s got the physicality of a painting but the delicacy of a drawing, an unusual combination, especially for him. The very distinctive cropping of the muzzle and front hoofs add an intensity.”

Asked why Freud gave the work to her, Sister Mary Joy said: “Lucian told me that, if he didn’t like a painting, he would destroy it. He just left it in my office. I never took it out, never showed it to anybody.” She added: “He said to me that, all the time he was doing [a painting], it was part of him. But once it was completed, it then meant nothing to him.”

The pair’s friendship was close: they spoke about his gambling problems, said Sister Mary Joy, as well as religion: “He was from a Jewish background. He well knew that I was a Roman Catholic religious sister. He believed you are what you are, not what you come from.”

Freud used to bring Sioux carrots and apples, and would ride her without a saddle and riding hat, much to Sister Mary Joy’s alarm. He quietly donated money to the centre, in envelopes marked “For Sioux”.

Sketch of Goldie will be unveiled to the public at the pony centre on 23 November, from 1pm.


30th November Congratulations and thank you to Margaret and all involved with the Brushstrokes Project as they celebrated and gave thanks for 20 years of living the gift of the charism in the Service of so many.

November 1019


When Christmas Day is still a day in the stable

By Bernadette Kehoe

December 2019

“He taught us a lot about friendship and all the things you can accomplish as a team.”

Pentecost 2017