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2013/14 CHN NEWS is at the printers.
Will be available to read on this site shortly.
A Religious Community in Namibia
This day had been long awaited by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in Namibia. It was the day on which their new Community was formally accepted – the day of their Profession, when they would take their Vows (make their promises). This was also the day of Christ the King for their parish, and the day of 146 confirmation candidates.
Sr Gertrude (CHN), under whose auspices the girls had been nurtured, had spent many long days in preparing for all this, including the making of their new veils and ‘the white piece that goes underneath it’. Earlier in the preparations some of the Sisters from her community in Leribe, Lesotho had arrived to help her and eventually there were 5 of them. Later 3 brothers and a priest also arrived from a community in Lesotho. Caring for all these visitors was quite a lot for Sr G with all the other activity going on so she was very glad that some came to stay at St Mary’s.
Waiting for them at St Mary’s, Odibo, Br Daniel and Mother Zelma had arrived; having flown flew to Windhoek, they then hired a car to drive the nearly 800 km north. Jenny from Hope Africa arrived on Friday evening. On Sunday the 4 of us drove to the check point on the tar road where Bishop Petrus picked us up in his bakkie.
The service was expected to start at 9am but it was only half an hour late as there really was so much to organise at the last minute. There was a very large crowd waiting when we arrived and many more were still to come. Lukas Katenda gave the sermon which had the same message for both sets of candidates. The Sisters on the commitments they were to make and the candidates and the promises they were going to make and were expected to keep. Lukas uses a lot of body language when he preaches and that in itself is sure to keep people awake. That lasted 45 minutes.
Then came the promises of the sisters, and the blessing of their new veils and girdles; this took another hour.
This was followed by the confirming of the 146 candidates, and the administration of communion to 670 communicants. In all, the whole service took 6 hours. The visitors had not exactly been looking forward to such a long service, but found all that was going on quite enjoyable.
At the end of the service the sisters were brought a pile of gifts and there was much joy and jubilation. Finally we went over to the dining room for a very welcome lunch.
as reported by Nancy Robson from Namibia
A Shovelful of Interfaith Coals
Bonfire night at St. John’s Rectory, Longsight, Manchester.
Preparations for a bonfire night party began with a trip to Bury Market the week before.
We had been informed that black peas, well cooked and well seasoned with salt and vinegar are a “must “ for bonfire parties in the north west. Bury Market is the mecca for black peas, and also for bonfire lollies, another “must”.
It was in fact a good excuse to go to Bury market, which has almost a world-wide reputation among street markets. The visit was definitely worth it, mouth watering stalls abounded - sporting cakes - including Eccles cakes of course, and also Chorley cakes, a new one on me, but as tasty as the better known Eccles cakes, fresh meat stalls and very tempting fish stalls, and of course vegetables. I for one will be going there again!
After that trip it was rounding up the troops to get the fire laid – and carefully covered with polythene against the rain, and sorting out fireworks.
Here in Manchester it rained pretty steadily throughout the day, and I was wondering how you keep folk happy, huddled inside the garage, watching a spluttering fire bravely keeping going in the pouring rain. We didn’t have to worry, as the evening took over the skies cleared, and thanks to a shovelful of interfaith coals from our muslim neigbours, whose fire was blazing away as we tried to light ours, we too had a good blaze roaring away.
Once persuaded that black peas are a treat not to be missed, everyone, or nearly everyone gave them a try, and they went down a treat - the great advantage is they retain their heat, and continue to act as a warmer right to the end. Bonfire lollies kept any children quiet - they are lolly shaped treacle toffee, take a long time to disappear, and put a scunner on too much conversation.
Our visitors were a real mix of neighbours, church congregation and friends from further afield. Fireworks did their “thing”, banging and sparkling as advertised, and once ours were finished we had the benefit of those further afield as they shot high enough in the air to brighten up Longsight. It had been a very good evening, and as people trickled away, we managed to put everything in the garage and shut the door until the next day. More rain just as we were finishing ensured the fire could be left - by the next morning it was a pile of ash, which, in time, will find its way onto the garden.
Sr. Jean Mary CHN
September has been a month of welcoming various groups of guests to the Convent.
On the 3rd it was a joy to welcome the priest of the parish from which Severin came, and also one of her friends, to her service of Admission to the Novitiate (Clothing), the moment at which she moves from being a Postulant (seeker) to being a full member of the community. During this time she will live in the spirit of the vows of poverty (simplicity), celibacy, and obedience, have time to explore prayer, experience different ways of outreach and mission, both at the Convent and in one of the Branch Houses, and pursue her studies, as she continues to discern God’s path for her. Please join with us in praying for her as she makes this journey. She is pictured here, (on the right) wearing her new habit, with Sr. Pauline Margaret, the Provincial Superior.
Between 4th– 6th September, members of the Fellowship of the Holy Name (FHN) attended their annual retreat, which led into the Fellowship Day on Saturday 7th. Members gathered from 10.30 a.m. onwards to meet old friends, and make new ones, over tea and coffee, and at 11.30 a.m. Mr Terry Bennett (our neighbour, who kindly plays the piano for us sometimes, and an organist at a local church) gave a talk about the workings of an organ, illustrated by music. He had his audience gripped, bringing in a small working model of an organ, and pipes of various materials, shapes and sizes. Several members commented afterwards, that they had never before given a second thought to how much skill and craftsmanship was involved in producing the accompaniment taken for granted in most churches, and would hear it in a different light on Sunday morning. Not for nothing is the organ known as ‘The King of Instruments’! A light lunch led into the afternoon meeting, when Sr. Pauline gave an update on Community news, and Sr. Julie gave a report about the Fellowship, and how it tries to encourage members, bound to the Community within the circle of intercessory prayer, to explore ways of drawing closer to God, and to each other, and to support each of us in the diverse expressions of our calling. The Eucharist at 3 p.m. took the theme of ‘Commitment’, and was an occasion of solemnity undergirded by joy.
Guests continued to stay at the Cottage for retreat and rest, or to visit sisters, and then on 29th September neighbours living in nearby streets, and members of local churches were invited to an Open Garden Day, a day when the weather was glorious and tea could be taken on the patio.
The Chapel provided a quiet place for those who wished to pause there, while the refectory was filled with noise as every seat was taken for tea and home-made biscuits. Visitors were able to wander around at will, with sisters and Fellowship members on hand to answer their questions, or provide a listening ear.
Talk Day 2013
Each year during August, the Community gathers together for a time of informal chat, news reports and pre-Chapter discussions, or 'Talk Days', as they are more commonly known.
This is followed by our Annual General Chapter Meeting, where formal decisions are made about those issues which affect the whole Community.
This year we were fortunate to have with us, our sisters who live independently, and were thus able to take this photo of the whole Community (minus Sr. Ruth - who is bedridden, and Sr. Monica who was with our Community in Africa).
News of Sr. Monica's visit, once she has returned, and had time to reflect on her experiences there.
The Story of Uncle Po
It was good to offer hospitality during July to Emmy from Hong Kong, who had come over to England in order to attend a friend’s ordination.
During her stay, she noticed a scroll of the beatitudes, written in Chinese calligraphy, which had been given to us by a guest from Hong Kong, who had stayed with us prior to his consecration as a bishop, and she homed in on the signature of the artist, inscribed on some of the panels.
Translated into English, it read ‘Uncle Po’, and she was able to tell us a little of his story.
Uncle Po, or Lam Po, a killer from Hong Kong had twice been condemned to die, once for his original crimes, and again for a further charge of murder committed whilst in prison. However, the abolition of the death penalty meant that his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. The many Triad gangs who ruled the roost attempted to sign him up, but he stood firm against them, despite the ill-treatment this brought. However, he reached breaking point on hearing that his wife had been badly beaten, and that his three children were left in the house, alone and vulnerable. He lunged at the prisoner who had been threatening him, and he died of his wounds.
After the second sentence had been passed, he was ordered to be transferred to the Siu Lam Psychiatric Centre, though he had not been pronounced insane, where he was bound by hemp ropes which immobilised him for the greater part of the day.
In order to occupy the time when he was unrestrained, he took up calligraphy, being taught by one of the other prisoners, but the long hours of restraint led eventually to despair.
On the point of committing suicide, he caught sight of a bible on the shelf opposite the door he was intending to run into head-first, was drawn to its contents, and experienced a sense of peace and hope that he could turn his life around. His complete conversion to Christianity took place over many years, but when he was transferred back to prison in 1992, after a review had found no evidence of insanity, he decided to donate all the money he earned working in prison to a child who needed to go to Australia for costly surgery. He had read about the boy’s plight in the newspaper - a month later, his own name was splashed across the papers, and two years later he was granted an amnesty and released.
He now spends time speaking of his experience to Christian groups and earns his living from his rented home-cum-studio, copying passages from the Gospels. His work it is, which hangs below the refectory crucifix.
Installation of the New Provincial Superior
Despite the wintry weather, Wednesday 23rd January dawned bright and sunny. Even the 24 hour delay to the arrival of key personnel, i.e. the new provincial superior for one, did not detract from the day and Bishop John arrived in good time for a quick run through of the installation procedure.
The service was very special and Sister Pauline says she has some lovely memories of the day which she will treasure for a long time. Snow began to fall during the service and continued through lunch but we heard from those who came by car that they got home safely.
After lunch in the sitting room:- Bishop John with “the line of succession.”
From left to right; Provincial Superiors, in order of service:- Sister Mary Patricia,
Sister Jean Mary, Sister Monica Jane and Sister Pauline Margaret.
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Major celebrations for 50th anniversary of CHN in Leribe, Lesotho - October 5, 2012
Preparing food in the library.
Food preparations well underway!
Some of the Sisters, the band and choir at the anniversary service.
After the feast the band led everyone in dancing and singing. Caught on camera: Bishop Adam, some of the Sisters and friends of the Community follow the band.
Some of the ladies demonstrate their prowess in traditional celebratory dancing.
Friends help the Community clear up after the celebrations Sunday morning. Many pots to wash!
Community of the Holy Name, Lesotho, on the front stoop with some of the Sisters from CHN Zululand who came to the anniversary celebrations.
On October 4th Sr Jean Mary made a flying visit to Leribe, Lesotho to represent the UK province of CHN at our fellow sisters great celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Community's life, work and fellowship in Lesotho. She arrived in Leribe on Friday 5th October and immediately began to take photos for us and to help the sisters prepare for Saturday's feast and eucharist.
It was a wonderful turnout of friends, associates, family and people we have known and worked with for the past 50 years. Much rejoicing and celebrating occurred much of Saturday. Sunday was the clean up operation par excellence and Monday saw Sr Jean Mary on her way back to the UK.
Photos of the day's events involving school children from St Saviour's junior choir, clergy, both bishops, the local communities in which CHN works and lives, dancers and a very lively brass band and many more(!) are on the right.
There will be an election of a new Provincial Superior for Lesotho in December.