My Diamond Jubilee Celebration
I still can’t believe that sixty years have gone by since I took my first steps as a Daughter of Charity in Mill Hill in 1956. The Queen had only been on the throne three years; the Beatles had never even been heard of; and videos, computers and tapes were non-existent!
All this went through my head in the weeks before the big day, March 15th 2016, the feast of St. Louise de Marillac, our Foundress who means so much to me.
A couple of weeks before the celebration I spent a weekend at a Retreat Centre in Blundelsands just to look back over my exciting life as a Daughter of Charity, to thank God for all his blessings and to ask his forgiveness for the times I hadn’t lived up to what he was calling me to. It was a very peaceful and blessed time.
The day before the feast, we had a special Evening Prayer in the Community where together, the seven of us were able to praise and thank God for those 60 years. After that, I shot off to the centre of Liverpool to meet my sister Judith and her friend for a special meal. I shared with them the amazing booklet of cartoons of my life which our Sister Fran had produced in secret as I unwittingly let slip anecdotes from of old! (That’s what you are prone to do at my venerable age.)
The next day, Sisters began to arrive in good time from Southport for the Mass which we had in our chapel in Christopher Grange. Three of these Sisters had been members of our community here until last year and one of them, Sr. Anne Lambe had been my Postulant Mistress all those years ago, just before I went to the Seminary to begin my life as a D.C. The Residents of our Care Home and all the regulars who come for Mass each day; members of our Prayer Group, as well as my sister and her friend had the chance to join in the celebration of the feast of St. Louise. It was a truly joyful Mass celebrated by Fr. Kevin McLoughlin, my Spiritual Director, with beautiful Intercessions where we remembered family, friends and Sisters both here and in Ethiopia who had all played a part in my happy life as a Daughter of Charity. For me, one of the highlights was when we said the prayer “Take Lord, receive” from St. Ignatius where I put the rest of my life, short or long, into the hands of God. Fr. Kevin reminded us that God really appreciated the lives we had tried to live for Him and was full of gratitude to us - a new and wonderful insight!
After coffee and a chat in the Community Room, we went up to a nearby facility for the blind and partially sighted where they very kindly put on a lovely meal for seventeen of us. This was followed by a get-together in the Community Room where there were plenty of reminiscences of events during those 60 years. The Sisters had had a beautiful cake made to mark the occasion and we all enjoyed it with our cup of tea. As I said “Goodbye” to my sister and her friend, and later, as we finished with Evening Prayer of St. Louise, I felt full of joy, happiness and gratitude for all those who had made it such a wonderful day.
Sr Patricia Harrison