Monday, August 03, 2015

...after a lovely weekend in tha Thames Valley...

....train to Paddington, with a group from the Evangelium conference, still talking about St John Paul the Great, and various current evangelistic efforts in Britain, and more...and more...

Vast crowds  at Paddington, pouring off the trains and into the Tube etc, so I decided to walk instead. Hyde Park used to be famous for Speakers' Corner, where anyone could stand and excercise the right of free speech....long ago I used to be a regular speaker there, That was back in the 1970s.  It's all so different now. It felt strange as an English woman walking across, wearing a casual summer outfit,  the evening breeze in my hair...I was an oddity. All around and across the stretches of the lawns were groups  and groups of Islamic ladies all havily veiled  and in black, drinking tea and chatting, the younger ones all on mobile phones...most were fully masked although a few had their faces showing and wore full islamic dress but with coloured veils or scarves. Children ran about and further over were groups of Islamic men chatting. London, 2015.



Sunday, August 02, 2015

...and for summer reading...

...here is the latest issue of The Portal magazine, with some verses by Auntie in it...

Archbishop Bernard Longley......

... Archbishop of Birmingham, was a special guest at the Evangelium Conference in the glorious surroundings of the Oratory School, Woodcote, this weekend. There was a big concelebrated Mass in the chapel with beautiful singing, and then he joined us all for lunch...

It was a great pleasure to chat to him - we first met years ago when he was a seminarian, studying at St John's seminary, Wonersh, where a friend took me for lunch. It was Eastertide, and I remember the three of us singing the Regina Caeli, walking in the seminary grounds....

The Evangelium conference was a triumph: among the highlights a splendid lecture by Dr Roger Scruton, and a lively panel discussing apologetics, with Fathers Marcus Holden and Andrew Pinsent, and Sister Hyacinthe DeFos du Rau of the Dominican Sisters.

Being part of all this was a great privilege, and especially to be invited to give the final lecture on St John Paul and the Theology of the Body.  This was an attentive and receptive audience, a real joy to engage with them all.

As the weekend finally drew to its close, and lots of thanks-yous were being said, the finale was three hearty cheers for Frs Andrew and Marcus, all done with enormous enthusiasm, the Belloc Theatre reverberating with the noise. Then a joyful thanksgiving Benediction in the school chapel....

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Off to the EVANGELIUM conference...

...this weekend,  It is held annually at The Oratory School, near Reading. I am speaking on St John paul the Great and the Theology of the Body.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Scotland...

...and a cheery welcome in Glasgow from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life,  doing wonderful work  and at the heart of a great team of young people, including seminarians.  These young men will be off to the Scots College in Rome later this year: a sign of hope for the Church of tomorrow.

 Lively talk over mugs of tea surrounded by stacks and stacks of all sorts of donated goods, clothes, babyware and more, given by Glaswegians  who have long  made the Sisters' work their own.

Main reason for the whole trip, however, was a meeting of the Editorial Board of FAITH magazine...you will see the results of our efforts when the next edition of the magazine comes out in Sept.

Fabulous, fabulous drive through the Borders, glorious hills, everything fresh and green, a joy after hot sticky London.

This morning, prayer with the Sisters in the chapel of their house in Glsagow, and then Mass in the beautiful  Cathedral, a grand start to the day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Freedom...

...and our duties, rights and obligations. And fear, and so on. Read here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tennis shoes...

...in immaculate condition, soles barely marred, thick white laces neatly strung through the eyelets. Waiting at the back of the cupboard as I rummaged for suitable footwear for the John Paul II Walk to Walsingham.  I tried them on, walked about the house. They were too flat, no rise at all in the heel. Still, perhaps the right thing to do would be to wear them today and walk about a bit in them?   Found a comfortable pair of socks, the ones airlines give you on overnight flights. As I left the house I just knew I was one of those little-old-ladies-in-tennis-shoes who attend Catholic events looking fervent...oh dear.

I'd taken along some other shoes, just in case. It didn't take me long to remove the tennis shoes and place them in a useful receptacle designed for things you do not want and cannot use. Put on my comfortable brown leather shoes with good heels and felt much better. Pity about the purple sox.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

For all who have been asking me...

...about the next series of London Catholic History Walks:

MONDAY September 21st, meet 6.30pm on the steps of Westminster Cathedral (after the 5.30pm Mass). A walk on a Royal theme, taking in St James' Park.


SATURDAY OCTOBER 3rd, the "Two Cathedrals" Blessed Sacrament Procession. Starts 1.30pm WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL,  goes through London, crossing Lambeth Bridge and finishing at St George's Cathedral, Southwark. COME AND WITNESS TO THE FAITH IN LONDON! 

Tuesday October 6th, meet 1.00pm - after the 12.30pm Mass - at St George's Cathedral, Southwark. A look around the Cathedral and the surrounding area.


Tuesday October 27th, 5.30pm - NOTE TIME -  meet at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, O'Meara Street, London Bridge, for a walk along the Thames.

Because I love rain...

...I relished our final day with the Dominican Sisters in the New Forest...everything cool and fresh with heavenly views. The chapel is beautiful: built in a medieval style, its strong wide wooden beams held firmly in place with wooden pegs instead of nails, it has full-length clear glass windows that seem to invite all the beauty of the surrounding meadows to be part of our worship too. The sisters will soon need some more choir-stalls as the community is growing steadily.  The singing is lovely. The sisters are extraordinarily busy, organising youth events, running catechetical programmes across the Poirtsmouth diocese, and active at every major Catholuc gathering for young people in Britain...but their lives centre around the call of the bell that summons them to prayer.

We were given hearty meals, had long and wonderful talks - and much laughter - with the sisters, enjoyed books, walks, the garden, prayer, and silence. It was a weekend to cherish.

If you want to meet the Sisters, one of the best ways would be to join them - and some 30 or more cheerful pilgrims - on the John Paul II Walk for the New Evangelisation, which takes place in a couple of weeks time. Info from that link I've given.