Celebrating 180 Years — Somers Town, London, England —
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
I was delighted to join with our community at Somers Town to celebrate 180 years since Marie Madeleine came to London. Several of us had come from Gumley House FCJ and it was wonderful to join in prayer and in thanksgiving with friends and colleagues who had gathered for the occasion.
The Chapel was full: there were sisters from other local communities, staff from the school and several priests, including Father Jim the parish priest.
It was a special pleasure to welcome MarieJoxe and her mother who were there on a short visit: it was Mariejoxe who, earlier in the year had initiated and led a 'new' London pilgrimage – following Marie Madeleine on one of her missionary journeys as she set out to make her second London foundation at Gumley House.
In our prayer, we gave thanks for the many Christian ministries that had been carried out from this house over the years. In addition to education at both primary and secondary levels, there were ministries of Hospitality (so dear to Marie Madeleine), Prison Chaplaincy, Nursing, Care of HIV patients, Counselling, Retreats, Parish service in Liturgy, Music and Catechesis and many others. Our prayer included a period of quiet in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and was full of gentleness and joy. For me it was a great happiness to reflect on the many gifts that God had given to our sisters and the wonderful work that they had been called to do for the greater glory of God and in the service of the Gospel. Needless to say we finished with some delicious refreshments and discovered – not for the first time – that there are some good cooks as well as some excellent caterers among our sisters in our Somers Town community!
Earlier on Friday, 19th December, Maria FIdelis School celebrated Founder's Day at Westminster Cathedral with a Mass of Thanksgiving. Celebrations began with a dramatic presentation by the drama group, Rise, of Marie Madeleine d'Houët's arrival in Somers Town in 1830. During the celebration, the head teacher Mrs Pauline Williams was presented with a papal medal. See photographs on Flickr. Ad multos annos!