I came from a devoted catholic family where Sunday Mass was very much a part of our lives. St. John’s church will always have a very special place in my heart because it is where I was baptised, made my First Communion and received the sacrament of Confirmation.
At the age of 25 I left my job as a teacher and became a lay missionary for 2 years in the USA. After that, I returned to England, took up teaching for a short spell and then joined Sion Community (a Catholic community for evangelisation made up of lay and religious) for 7 years. Although these “missionary” experiences were very enriching and I was very happy, there was a yearning in my heart for something more-I felt God was calling me to something else!!
The convent of the FMSJ, Franciscan Missionaries of St. Joseph, whose foundress of course is Alice Ingham from Rochdale, was a place I frequently visited in my younger adult days. The Sisters here were very down-to-earth and friendly, always giving me a great welcome. I was given a book to read called” From Light to Darkness” (A book about the life of Alice Ingham). I increasingly felt more and more drawn to Alice’s band of merry ladies and the Sussex Street convent felt like “home from home”.
Finally, at the age of 39, I decided to take the plunge. I am what’s known as a late vocation.
My first overseas appointment as an FMSJ was in Kenya for 3 years, where I worked as a teacher with poor children in a primary school and then in a secondary school.
On the 30th of September 2007 I made my Final Profession in St. John’s Church. It was a very joyful and moving celebration that was shared with priests, a deacon, family, many friends and the FMSJ.
Sister Joan O’Gorman is here receiving my vows. She was our Congregational Leader at the time.
For the last 14 years I have been working in Ecuador as a Parish Sister. I am involved with catechism, Eucharistic services, visiting the sick and teaching English. We receive donations to help with housing, medical and educational needs, food parcels and the setting up of small income generating activities for families with limited resources.
Mateo, to my right, has just received his First Communion. Sr. Rosemary (FMSJ), Fr. Martin and I accompanied him and his family on this joyful occasion.
A saying from Alice Ingham, Mother Foundress:
“Blessed be God, how wonderful are His ways.”