Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Lady's Convent School... Loughborough welcomed Auntie this morning to present prizes won in the Catholic Young Writer project, run by the Catholic Writers' Guild and the Catholic Union of Great Britain.   Joint winners this year were two delightful young ladies, twins Cara and Iona McNeill, pupils at Our Lady's Convent School.

It meant an early start for Auntie...kind friend Amanda Hill, who earlier helped with the administration of the Project, had offered to give me a lift to Loughborough and collected me at 5.30am, and with a brief stop for breakfast we arrived in good time for the school's Morning Assembly in the beautiful chapel. A lovely school, with a happy and confident feel to it, clear about the Christian values it seeks to transmit. It was real pleasure to talk to the girls, to present  the trophy and prizes, and to meet the parents of the winners and runners-up. A family atmosphere. We all chatted over coffee and pastries, and Amanda and I were made to feel so welcome and  were given a tour of the school (fabulous 19th century buildings, links with Ambrose de Lisle, Pugin, etc)  before I addressed an RE class tackling the Scriptures and ethical issues. It was beautiful and moving to hear a strong affirmation of the value of every human life from a teacher, sharing a personal story. It was a delight to talk about great issues in an atmosphere or respect and reverence for God, for marriage, for human life and for faith. It was grand to be with an RE teacher who relishes teaching the Scriptures and engaging young minds in philosophy and discussion of large and interesting ideas...

A happy morning. We had planned, before travelling back to London, to visit  Mount St Bernard Abbey nearby, and when we mentioned this, the headmistress arranged for us to be given a packed lunch to enjoy as a we  chose sandwiches and drinks from the (excellent!) school refectory and went off  in a holiday mood. Mount St Bernards is a magnificent Cistercian Abbey, in the most glorious countryside, and the monks - a good-sized community from the sound of them - were singing the midday office as we arrived, the great Abbey bell having tolled out to announce the timing. We prayed with them in the Abbey church - a fine building, with a great central altar and a sense of strength and of prayers soaring up to God - and later walked up to the Calvary shrine on the rugged pathway, and then enjoyed our picnic...

1 comment:

Pearl of Tyburn said...

Auntie Joanna!

This is hysterically coincidental! Iona and Cara McNeill are the granddaughters of Carol McNeill from Dysart, Fife, Scotland, who I befriended while doing research on Major John Pitcairn, an 18th c. British officer who was born in that town. You see, she works for the historical society there. Okay, this just goes to show it's a small UK after all....;-)

God Bless,