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Convent of the Holy Name

Registered Charity No. 250256


Sr Zamandla and Sr Malefu


Tuesday 21st July

An exciting morning for us as we welcomed our two African Sisters at the end of their long journey.
All went well with the flight and Michael, our administrator, was there on time to meet them, despite part of the motorway being closed.

A tea-break was first on the agenda, once they had arrived safely at the Convent, followed by a short service of welcome in the chapel.

We look forward to getting to know them in the next few weeks.

Sr. Zamandla from Zululand is on the left, Sr. Malefu from Lesotho on the right.

Recent Visits

On Friday last, it was a great privilege for 4 of our Sisters to join new Bishop Alison White (for many years our facilitator at pre-Chapter discussions and a dear friend of the Community) at her installation as the Bishop of Hull. Sisters Monica and Catherine assisted, with other Religious, in the distribution of the Sacrament and it was a great and joyful occasion. We assure her of our continued prayers and love.

Fr Cyprian, his wife, and people from the convent

It was good to have a visit on Monday - Wednesday this week from Fr. Cyprian and his wife. Fr. Cyprian is Chaplain to our Sisters in Zululand and, after visiting his link diocese of Durham, he spent time at the Convent, giving a homily at the Eucharist and conducting an interview-style talk with the Sisters in the afternoon.

Later on Wednesday a visit of a different kind took place when officers from the local Fire

Station came to familiarise themselves with the layout of our building.

Fire officers at the convent

A Visit to CHN's Former Home

The graveyard at Malvern

A visit to CHN’s former home in Malvern Link last week enabled Sister Julie to show Administrator Michael Futers where the Community had moved from when it came to Derby 25 years ago.

We visited the Convent graveyard, which had since last year been left to revert to nature. It is a lovely peaceful place with a variety of wild plants and mature trees enclosed with secure fencing. It was free from litter and home to several species of birds.

The Convent buildings obviously needed much attention, but did not look too dilapidated from the outside and several of the buildings next to the old laundry were occupied by tenants.

We look forward to hearing of a positive future for the buildings at some point in the future.





Due to the repairs taking place at Derby Cathedral, CHN's 150th Anniversary Service on 7th August will now take place at St. Mary's RC Church, Darley Lane, Derby, DE1 3AX.

As this church has a much smaller capacity, we are very sorry that we will not now be able to issue an open invitation to join us for the service, as was our original intention.

Malvern Link’s 150th Celebration – Sr. Jean Mary’s Report

St Matthias Church Malvern Link

We walked into a comfortable meeting room at the back of St. Matthias’ Church on Weds morning, and were greeted with a very welcome cup of coffee, and time to say “Hello” to the FHN members gathered there. Then we moved into a  light, re-ordered and re-furnished church for the Eucharist.  All this had been planned some months ago by the Malvern FHN group who wanted to mark the Community’s 150th in Malvern given that we had lived and ministered there for around 100 years.

Fr. Peter, the present incumbent welcomed us, and celebrated, the organist did us proud, and the congregation of FHN members was increased by the presence or one or two of today’s St.Matthias’ faithful, and also Margaret Eaton and Anna Rogers.  In addition, I met, at the door as we first went in two ladies who seemed a little unsure of whether they were in the right place or not. One seemed familiar to me, but I wasn’t sure in what context.  Then she introduced herself - it was Jan who used to work with Lucien Delorenzo, and came with him to various Trustees meetings.  She had read of this celebration in Malvern, and thought if she came along she might meet up with some old friends from the community, like former bursars.  She particularly hoped to see Elaine Mary.

We had a good chat, and I got her up to date with news of various sisters including Judith, Margaret, Elaine of course and Diana. She asked to be remembered to all of you. Altogether we were about 12  or 14, all were in good voice, so hymns went well, and everyone enjoyed meeting everyone else, and felt they had marked the occasion with some enthusiasm.

I passed on greetings from all at Derby, and said we looked forward to seeing them with us in August. Just for the record - the roll call included Vivien Norgrove,  Sylvia West,  Herma and Glynn Griffiths, Pat Williams, Nelleen Smith, and Greville Cross - who had planned and organized it.  Vivien was very lively in spite of having her neck in a  collar  (sounds like something from the psalms). She had had a fall, and an eventual X-ray revealed broken bones in her neck - I think she started by saying she had a broken neck, which sounded  very dramatic.  There were two other folk, from Lesotho Diocesan Association who live in the Link, Anthony Gann,and his wife.

I left some of the 150th books for the church, and also sold a few more to those who hadn’t had them. I reckon a good time was had by all and the weather was brilliant!


Sign: Caution - work in progress

As with all houses, there’s always a maintenance job list to work through at the Convent.

Today began the job of de-commissioning the smaller water tank, and re-lining the larger tank in order to protect us from the possibility of Legionnaire’s disease.

The job will take 4 days to complete plus a day in hand should any unforeseen problems be encountered and involve the water being turned off for a few hours on the first day, and lots of noise for the rest of the week but one of the workmen has just assured a Sister, “we’ll try to disturb you as little as possible”.

Fortunately the loos and bathrooms at the Guest Cottage are available for use today – we’re very lucky!

Silver Carer at the Convent

Denise congratulated by Charlie

Someone once asked jokingly, "You always make a presentation to those who leave, what about those who stay?"

Well today we were able to do just that as we celebrated the fact that Denise had started to work at the Convent as a carer 25 years ago and is still here today.... and plenty of tomorrows we hope.

Here she is being congratulated by Charlie who cooks the Sunday dinner every week and works at other times too, before being presented with a bouquet of flowers. In her response to a speech by Sr. Diana, we discovered she had another hidden talent............. after-dinner speaking!

A very happy occasion.


My Name Is?

The conversation at coffee time this morning got onto the subject of baptisms. One couple, having heard that the clergyman officiating was hard of hearing took the precaution of pinning her name onto her clothes so that there would be no mistake. When it came to the point when the vicar asked, "and what is the child to be named?" her mother replied, "'s pinned on 'er"! So she went through life with the moniker Spindonna! Has quite a ring to it!


150th anniversary Open Garden/Cream Tea Event – 9th May 2015

Bar Plants

Early preparations for this big event began in January when 9th May seemed a long way off.  A small group of sisters (Barbara, Jean Mary and Diana) and Fellowship members (Shirley, Evelyn and David) did some brain-storming and became the Planning Group.

Various ideas were thrown around and it was agreed we should ask friends and local churches to organise some stalls - to minimise our work load!  There were: cakes, tombola, books, white elephant, jewellery, cards, plants, raffle, children’s,  logs for sale, and Lottie’s ice cream van.

We are very grateful to all of our helpers for giving up their time and energy and also to members of Oakwood church who had helped us with publicity.

We had hoped to have the stalls on the lawn outside the Common Room - the big question all week was ‘What’s the weather forecast?’ and it seemed to vary for Saturday from day by day – Saturday morning dawned fairly bright but breezy and a bit chilly so we decided on Plan B – INDOORS - and the contingency went into action.

White Elephant

The day itself was an incredible experience and we raised an unbelievable £1374.89.  The place was packed out – there must have been at least 200 people (from babes in arms to 90+ year olds!) The Kitchen was a hive of activity as Cream Teas were ‘de rigueur’ – and better than a 4* hotel!! We ran out of scones (David had made 192!!) – and plates and knives -  Visitors (eg. Penny, a friend, who just happened to be passing through) were volunteered to lend a hand.

The car park on the field was full to overflowing and there was log-jam on the drive!

People enjoyed wandering round the garden which was at its best – our thanks to Graham, the gardener, who had worked very hard in preparation for the day.

I think we all retired to bed exhausted but feeling it was definitely worth the effort.

Sr. Diana CHN


JUDITH C.H.N. (Judith Hannah Meredith)

Sister Judith

Sister Judith died on 16th February 2015,  aged 94.   She was professed in the Community of the Holy Name on 31st August 1950 (the feast of St Aidan – and a love for the North East remained with her all her life). In those early days, when sisters often ‘gave up’ their baptismal name along with everything else, she was known  ‘in religion’ - for some obscure reason – as  Gillian (pronounced with a hard G).   She had worked in the civil service during the war years and came with many gifts and qualities.

Her 64+ years  of prayer and ministry took her to many places –  our branch houses in Birmingham, Brighton, Wellingborough, Chester, Torquay, Cardiff, West Malvern, Newcastle, Nottingham, Peterborough, Keswick and Oakham – to Newcastle University as chaplain and briefly to Lesotho.  She was involved in many parish missions over the years.

There were other times when Judith was based at the Convent initially in Malvern and later in Derby -  serving the community as housekeeper, choir-mistress,  infirmarian,  assistant superior and bursar – brilliantly overseeing our move from Malvern to Oakwood (1988-90).  Finally, aged 87, she became  pastoral sister to the frail and elderly members of the community, many younger than she was!

Judith was indeed multi-skilled and multi-talented;  she had  energy,  strong opinions and  political clout (some of us thought she should have been a politician!) and  a true sense of fairness and justice.  She was loyal and totally committed to the job in hand.   Her wisdom and integrity,  kindness, gentleness and  ongoing encouragement endeared her to us – and we will miss her immensely.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory.



Can you remember what you were doing 50 years before 20il March 2015 – the day of the eclipse?

Sister Charity can – for it was the day on which she made her Profession (took her vows) in the Community of the Holy Name.

We celebrate her faithfulness to those vows and give thanks for her mission work in many different places during those 50 years.

Sister Charity


The Spikes at Selfridges

Sister Diana CHN writes about a planned protest in Manchester City Centre

The spikes at Selfridges

There had been  press reports about  spikes installed by Selfridges in Manchester on a ledge at the side of their store in Manchester (only a few yards away from the Cathedral)  to prevent the homeless – and anyone else for that matter – sitting down there. A lot of people had said how outraged they felt about it.  An on-line petition was launched, attracted thousands of signatures and received coverage on national television.

A  group of clergy and others wished to make our opposition to this known in a clear but peaceful non-confrontational way. So a letter was sent to Selfridges expressing our concerns and a Sit Down was organised for  Thursday 26 Feb at 1.15 pm.

As Sr Jean and I made our way to the rendez-vous point outside the Cathedral we stopped to talk to Chris (Big Issue seller) and bought his last-but-one copy.  He was very excited – not only was he selling the Big Issue but he also featured in it – complaining about the spikes and about how badly he is treated by Selfridges, even though his appointed pitch is outside their store. !  But the chief cause of his excitement was that the spikes had been removed.

So, instead of Sitting Down, we went into Selfridges to deliver a letter thanking the management for acting so quickly and  removing the spikes.  We then went to Sit Down in triumph in ProperTea (Cathedral Café) for a cup of tea!

(Click here for the Manchester Evening News report on this)


Revised Cottage Deposits

At the suggestion of several guests, and with the approval of the Trustee Body, from 1st April 2015 all deposits on bookings for the guest cottage, whether for a group or an individual, will be equalised at £15 per person. Thank you.


Sister Judith RIP

It was a glorious sunny spring day - a gift on which to celebrate the life of our Sister Judith CHN and pray that she may rest in peace and that we, her sisters, family and friends, may be comforted as we mourn her death.

We all have our individual memories of Judith and the impact she had on our lives. In some ways she was a formidable woman with so many gifts and talents that she could turn her hand to everything that was asked of her. She was a matural leader and had much wisdom, knowledge, understanding and experience with a good dose of practical common sense thrown in for good measure. She was reliable, caring, kind and gentle and although she was a person of strong opinions, these were tempered by her sense of justice and fairness.

Above all and underpinning all Judith did was her deep love and faithfulness to her Lord. This love and care she poured out on all she met and she vslued and cherished each one. She will be greatly missed. RIP.


Into A Growing Fellowship

Jane with Sr Pauline Margaret

It was a great delight to admit Mrs Jane Wibberley into the Fellowship of the Holy Name during the lunchtime Eucharist on Tuesday 3rd March.

She has been attending one of the Julian Groups which meet at the Convent. She now joins her sister in the Fellowship.

She is pictured here with Sr Pauline Margaret in the convent chapel. She has committed herself to a Rule of Life and received an FHN cross to remind her of the promises she has made.




Celebrating Faithfulness

Sisters Marjorie Jean and Barbara

am F February was a day of celebrations for the Community. Sisters Marjorie Jean and Barbara gave thanks to God for his faithfulness to them, as they reached the 60il anniversary of their Professions. Sister Marjorie Jean worked in Liberia as a young sister and was one of the pioneer sisters of the Community’s work in Lesotho, travelling around the country to find sales outlets for the woven goods of the Leribe Craft Centre which worked with disabled young women.

Sister Barbara has spent much of her time on missions in various parts of the country and, over the years, has lived in many of the mission and branch houses, as well as spending time with our Zululand sisters.

They both received a special blessing at the lunchtime Eucharist and rejoiced in God’s continuing call to them as we sang, “I, the Lord of sea and sky.”


Later we celebrated God’s faithfulness to another member of the Community, Sister Joy, as we received her body into chapel, in preparation for her funeral the following day. Sister Joy was a good, kind person with a wealth of life experience, always the same, very supportive to each one. A dependable being, always ready with a listening ear and a wicked sense of humour which she kept right up until the end: telling the anaesthetist that if she died she would not come back to haunt him and singing “O Mr Porter” while waiting to go down to the operating theatre. She leaves a big hole in our lives.


A Generous Afternoon in Peterborough

A few roses!

Friday afternoon I turned out as usual wrapped up to the eyes in order to spend a cold afternoon in the City centre talking and praying with the people of Peterborough.  The team, who come from all different churches and backgrounds met as usual in St John’s Church for a short time of prayer and a working out of what exactly we were going to do.  Often we  give something  to people – a stone, sometimes painted sometimes not; some chocolate or sweets, a card with a bible verse on it, but this day we had nothing to give.  Chris the team leader explained that we had gone over budget that month so we would have to make do, so the decision was made to split into two teams with one team staying on the square offering free hugs.  This is a surprisingly popular enterprise – so many people want a hug!  The other team would set off on a ‘prayer walk’ around the city.  We would rotate at the midpoint so we all kept moving to keep us warm!

Three of us set off to the local high rise car park where there had been a number of suicides in recent months.  We had prayed here before Christmas and since then no one – praise God – had succumbed.  We thought we might go and ‘refresh’ the prayer.  It was very cold up there – a bright but very cold windy day and we stood together and prayer for around ten minutes and all three of us were glad to have done it – prayer is a powerful thing and we hope that God will protect any who go up there.

We swapped over with the team on the square and began to hand out hugs!  Not long after we had started we were approached by the man who sells flowers and plants on the square regularly – he had some roses over; did we want them to give away?   Yes, we’d be glad to, thinking it would be a handful.  Chris went off to his stall and he gave us a huge box full of red roses, at least 50.  We were so grateful for his generosity; we were convinced that God had been aware of our lack of resource! We had a fine time handing out the roses to people, talking with them when they asked why we were giving roses away and sending them away with a smile on their faces.

A young woman approached us and asked if we were the ones who had been handing out keys a couple of months before.  We had been using the keys to illustrate that Christ is the key to the door of heaven.  She told us with tears in her eyes that the key and what it stood for had made such a difference to her life that it had been a turning point for her and she still carried the key around with her. 

In St John’s at the end of the afternoon the whole team had been energised by our work that day.  God’s grace had been poured out.  The prayer on the car park, the generosity of the flower man, the grace given to the young woman (we so often pray with people and have no idea of outcomes).  Every so often a day comes along where God seems more present than usual and his work more obvious.  Friday was such a day, when we all were blessed to work for God and for God to work through us.  May we be blessed with many more!

Sister Catherine CHN


Commemorative Magazine

A special commemorative edition of CHN's regular magazine has been published this year - running to 40 pages, it gives an abbreviated history of CHN's life and witness and is liberally illustrated with photographs from the Community's archives. It includes sections on:

Sister Pauline Margaret, the Provincial Superior, says in her introduction, 'the constant in this brochure is 'Christ the same, yesterday, today and for ever.' The present is about the presence of Jesus in our daily lives, through thick and thin, clarity and fog, confidence and confusion, joy and pain. Reflecting on the past can help us to hold on to that reality."

Much of the text of the magazine is extracted from the original manuscript of 'Portrait of a Community' written by Sister Constance CHN (RIP) and published in 1972. This manuscript was heavily edited at that time and the Comunity hopes to publish a revised and updated version of the complete manuscript later this year under the title, 'What's in a Name?'

Copies of the Commemorative Magazine may be collected from the Convent of the Holy Name, Morley Road, Oakwood, Derby DE21 4QZ at a cost of £3  or ordered from, by ringing 01332 671716 (option 1) or by post. Postage & packing costs £1.20 per copy.


2015 Celebrations

New Year Celebrations

This year on 30th June it will be 150 years since the first Sister was professed in St Peter’s Church Vauxhall, and the Community of the Holy Name came into being.

In 2015 it will be 25 years since the Community moved to Derby, from its previous home in Malvern Link.

Several celebrations are planned to take place during the course of the year

The year got off to a good start with a New Year’s Coffee and log fire to which our neighbours were invited.

A magazine outlining the history and work of the Community has been published – cost £3.
Available from the Convent or by post.

A revised and updated version of the complete history under the title ‘What’s in a Name?’ will be published during the course of the year.


Zululand News

It was good to receive a fax from our Sisters in CHN's Zululand Province, outlining some of their recent activities.

We pray for them as they celebrate their main Feast of the Holy Name on 1st January, as they enjoy midsummer weather, and in their discussions and Chapter in the following few days, and pray too for the esotho Province of CHN as they meet together.



September – December 2014

Over the past 3 - 4 months we have been involved in the following –

We both went to the opening service (in St Anne’s church, Manchester city centre)  for the Labour Party Conference  -  which happened to be happening in Manchester so we were ‘in situ’.  The  speaker was Ruth Valerio from A Rocha.   At the end of  the service we had possibly  3 minutes in the presence of an up-beat (at that point)  Ed Milliband and we then got caught up in the Global People’s Climate March and were photographed holding Anti-Fracking banners.   Jean attended a fringe event at the local Quakers’ meeting house the following day which focussed on the question – Does Politics need the support of faith groups (Muslims, Hindus, Christians)?  Not sure what conclusion they reached.

We are both members of the St Chrysostom’s Justice and Peace Group, which meets monthly.  Recent discussions have included

Jean Mary continues her involvement with Amnesty International.  She is the is local co-ordinator for the Burma Campaign and is involved in other group actions, including the Stop Torture Campaign (Amnesty’s  main campaign for 2014), work for Afghan Women’s Rights and Write for Rights (letter writing campaign which has superseded the former Christmas Greetings campaign).

Diana (and Barbara) attended a meeting convened by Bishop Alastair in Derby Church House during which he expressed concerns about Human Trafficking and people who are ending up on the streets of Derby as a result.  Bp A cited  the work of RC communities in this area,  particularly in London and was planting seeds for the implementation of some project/ support group in the Derby diocese.   There is to be a follow-up meeting at the Convent in December.

The Medaille Trust has a hostel for people who have been trafficked  - near  St Chrysostom’s church here in Manchester.  Occasionally residents appear in church and Diana has spent time at their house with a group of  3 very diverse women (from Latvia, Sierra Leone and Ghana) at an art group - and we have plans to visit with Mary, Joseph and Puzzle the donkey in Advent.

We both took part in a Holocaust Study Day at the Menorah Synagogue in Altrincham,  arranged by the council of Christians and Jews – lots of input and a good contribution to inter-faith relations.

Diana attended  a day conference Faith in Health, organised by Faith in Action and concerned with issues of health and community.   There was an opening address by Daniel Singleton, CEO of Faith Action (which is a partner of the Dept of Health) who focussed on the role of churches/religious groups  in social action – food banks, counselling etc. – as most faith groups have a duty to the poor, the widow and orphan.  Workshops included

We both took part Manchester Cathedral’s one day event ‘Energy to Invest?’ – which was to celebrate a ‘greener cathedral’ after the installation of under-floor heating (and very efficient it is too) – and to renew the call for care for all in creation. 

Are we hospice workers to a dying planet.................


Midwives to birth a new creation???

We have both signed various on-line petitions and lobbied our MP, who happens to be Gerald Kauffman and is usually in line with our thinking! 

We also try to take note of ecological concerns which are aired in the press and other media, the latest being

We regularly buy the Big Issue and engage with the vendor(s) whenever possible.


You are Invited

To coffee on 1st January 2015 from 10 am to 11.30 am at the Convent of the Holy Name, Morley Road, Oakwood, Derby.

2015 is a special year for us as it marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of our Community and this is the beginning of our celebrations.

There will be a Sung Eucharist at 12 noon to which you are welcome.

Going, going, gone!

After re-cycling as much of the furnishings and contents of our house on Tredegar Drive this week, (see last week’s news), there still remained those items which were beyond recycling: broken bits and pieces and obsolete light fittings etc, kept for years in the rafters of the garage, in case they came in – of course they never did!!

A skip arrived, was filled (in the rain, naturally!) and departed quickly.

The skip being taken

Now we are ready to welcome the retired couple who will be renting the property. Sisters have enjoyed use of the house for holidays and retreats, alongsiders have welcomed the chance to live with the Community and have a bolt-hole here and the house has also been used for guests.

Accommodation is still available at the Convent Guest Cottage – ideal for individuals or small groups (see leaflet on home page for details of facilities).


It's a Gift

CHN has recently taken the decision to let out the house behind the Guest Cottage and so this has been a month of packing up and disposing of its contents. Our rule states that Community houses should be simply furnished and in the spirit of our vow of poverty we try not to accumulate possessions. Therefore, having taken what will be used in the convent, we have had the opportunity to give things away.

Local charity shops have received smaller items and the majority of the furniture ie. that which meets current fire safety standards has been given to Salcare, a project in Heanor which supplies help for those in need in that area, including a furniture warehouse selling items at low cost, advice sessions and other services.

 Stored in the garage were four bikes and these have gone to Bikeback – a project in prison where the inmates strip down and rebuild the bikes and sell them cheaply at places like universities, thus reducing landfill and encouraging more people to cycle. This also enables the men to gain a City and Guilds in Bicycle Maintenance.


Golden Days

Sisters Lisbeth and Vivienne Joy

It was a great joy to celebrate with Sisters Lisbeth and Vivienne Joy last Thursday on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of making their Profession under vows in CHN.

Sister Vivienne Joy had been able to spend a few days with her brother at the Convent the previous week and sister Lisbeth’s sister and brother-in-law came from Sweden for a short holiday encompassing the anniversary day itself.

The two golden girls received a special blessing at the end of the Thursday midday Eucharist and we sang the hymn ‘O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder’, which has a tune sung in Sweden.

How great thou art, how great thou art!!


No to Fracking

Sisters Jean Mary and Diana

Sisters Jean Mary and Diana from the Community's Longsight house last Sunday attended the Service of Prayer for the Beginning of the Labour Party Conference held at St Ann's Church in Manchester City Centre.

As they approached Piccadilly Square after the service they came across a peaceful, but busy protest and were asked whether they agreed with fracking. On replying in the negative they were asked to carry this banner and were soon the focus of the camera's attention.


Fellowship Day September 2014

This annual gathering of those members of the Fellowship who were fit enough to travel was held on 6th September at the Convent.

This year our speaker spoke of her experience as a prison chaplain, and of working with those on the margins of society in a variety of circumstances. Her passionate message that we are all one in Christ - all with our part to play in building up the body of Christ, was challenging and led to further discussion over the lunch which followed.

The Fellowship Meeting after lunch enabled up-to-date news of the Community to be shared, as well as a report of the current activities of the Fellowship and a chance to share news of members who had not been able to attend this year.

A short period of quiet reflection preceded the celebration of the Eucharist, during which Sisters and FHN members were able to re-dedicate themslves to the service of God, in the power of the spirit, to the glory of the Holy Name of Jesus.


2014 Magazine

This year's magazine is still available to download.