MESSAGES RECEIVED ... 2004—2005
Hi to the ladies in the Philippines! I want to send my warm regards because I still think of you often. It has been almost ten years since I lived with you in Manila. I want to express my deep thanks for your guidance during the time I was budding into a woman myself. I often think back to my experience with you in 1996 as a key time in my life that allowed me to question and grow in ways that are continuing to influence my path now. Thank You and I still think of you often. Sincerely,
It was amazing to see such a great website and brought back fond memories of my time at Holt Hill Convent Grammar School in Birkenhead (England). I was there from 1968 to 1975 and my sister, Marie started two years before me. Our headmistress was Sister Marie Clare Holland. She was an absolute dynamo of energy. I can always remember that as younger students we became very confused when a dynamic maths teacher also called Sister Marie Claire arrived when I was about 14. She was a brilliant maths teacher and turned the entire maths department into a huge success. I remember some of the younger students were determined that since Sister Marie Clare the headmistress and Sister Marie Claire the maths teacher had the same name that it was a mother daughter relationship (which they thought was really sweet ). It was impossible for us older girls to get them to believe that it simply wasn't possible. I was so sorry to see that beautiful building demolished when I visited from Australia in 2000 but very glad that so many pictures of it appear in a book called Old Birkenhead. The nuns did such fabulous work there and were very inspiring as goalorientated women in a pre feminist era.
Noreen Nelson (nee Cadigan)
I came across your very sophisticated website by accident when looking for pictures of a nun for a school project. I was really impressed. Your ministry seems to have changed a great deal since my school days. I went to St. Margarets Convent in Paisley (Scotland) from 1967-1973. My name was Mary McAuley. I still keep coming across many former pupils in my profession as a teacher. Whilst browsing your site, I came across a photo of Rita Mcloughlin. I am not sure if it is the Sister Rita who taught me French 30+ years ago. I only know how she looks with a wimple! If it is, then hello. You will be pleased to know that I obtained a degree in French - so all the hard work paid off! Kind regards.
Hello. Thank-you for the opportunity to keep in touch with the F.C.J. community and how it is faring in today's world. Though I attended St. Mary's High School in Combermere, Ontario, Canada, for only two years, the sense of having a spiritual home is always with me. My mother (Dora Winifred McLeod, nee Jones) was also taught by the F.C.J nuns, on scholarship, in the East End of London, England She told me of the magnificent wooden doors at the entrance. Unfortunately the school was bombed during the Second World War. Still, her love of learning which was fostered so successfully by your community has passed to me, and now on to my children.
Heather Dudzinski (McLeod)
Dear Sisters, I have chanced upon your website and was delighted to explore it thoroughly, looking upon photos of my old school for only one year (FCJ College, Benella, Australia) though I knew the sisters there for much longer as we lived in Arundel Street for 3 years and attended the Church where my father was instrumental in building the outside piety stall. I remember going to Mass in the Chapel with the sisters and have fond memories of Sister Mary John (I believe) who taught me needlework and would love to know if she may be still alive. Also I remember another sister who used to ride her bike everywhere with her black poodle, I think her name might have been Sr. Marie Clare. I live on the Redcliffe Peninsula in Queensland and have 5 children of my own so I have been sharing all my lovely memories with them! I was in grade 7 in the year 1983. I remember that my art teacher at the time was very fond of me and my artwork, and I am now a pastel portrait artist as well as a full time mum! God bless. www.users.bigpond.com/jackgracie
Anne Cramer (Williams)
Bonjour tout le monde. Je vous ecris dès l’Espagne, Iles Canaries. J´ai été a La Chassotte (FCJ), Fribourg, Suisse, quatre ans, vers 1965... Je serai à Paris le 13 Avril 2005 alors j’espere rencontrer beaucoup d’anciennes La Chassotte. (
Nora Ley Díaz
To our friends in the FCJ community: My maternal grandmother, mother, mother-in-law sisters and wife were all educated by the FCJ's at Lark Hill Convent, Preston (England); my mother also taught there. I therefore owe the order a great debt of gratitude. I myself have special memories of Sisters Helen, Gabriel, Katherine and Mary-Joseph. It was great to stumble across the website and to see the picture of Sr. Helen. The last time I saw her was just 11 or-so years ago, before Janet and I got married. It would be lovely to hear from her again. We now have four children: Ruth (10), Edward (8), Helen (4) and Catherine (2). It was a great loss when, inevitably, the FCJ's finally left Preston and thank you, thank you, for all you have given us. You are in our thoughts and prayers. With love.
Peter Towers, England
Hi to a great order of ladies. I had the good fortune of attending St. Mary's in Combermere (Canada) in the late 50's and 60's. We are having a reunion this July. It will be great to see former classmates and hopefully some of our teachers. I can honestly say that the FCJs got me through high school. I will always remember the guiding hand of Mother Miriam Ryan and will forever be indebted to her for all she did for me. There were others as well: - Mother Rita who was a friend to all the guys; Mother Elizabeth who put up with a lot from some of us; and Mother Agnes who prepared the greatest meal. The memories will always remain of a great school and great teachers. Keep up your great work.
Jim Byrnes, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
Dear FCJs: Yesterday I attended the Vaucluse Convent School Reunion. Once again it was great to see some of my former teachers there: Sr Anunciata, Sr Joyce Stewart, Sr Rosemary Crowe and St Catherine Morrison. I was saddened to hear of Sr Antonia's passing recently. I will always remember her with affection for those who 'forgot' to bring their lunch to school and she would hand out biscuits to keep us all going for the rest of the day. I have such wonderful memories of my time at Vaucluse and still tell people about the days there even now, some 40 years later. Those years at Vaucluse were the best years of my school life. Thank you FCJ for making me the person I am today. A message to those past students of the early to mid sixties, come on girls make an effort to come next year to the Reunion. You will really enjoy the company and the memories. Thank you Sisters for another lovely day. See you all next year. Kind regards and affection
Lynette Taylor (nee Gillin) 1964-1967 inc, Australia
My sister Maritza and I, Virginia Bakula, from Lima, Peru, attended St George's School, North Foreland, Broadstairs, (U.K.) in 1954-55, after two years at La Chassotte, in Fribourg. Some years later our two youger sisters were at The Grange (also Broadstairs). Their names are Claudia and Cecilia Bakula. I've been in contact with one of the sisters of the Stella Maris Convent, Broadstairs, but I would like so much to contact any of the girls with which we shared a memorable school year: Tony Pollok and her sister Johanna, Georgina Powell and her sister Catherine?, Anne and Elizabeth Prove, Sara Badell, Maria Rivers, Patricia Riordan, Gillian Gallagher, Gina Williams ... and some others ... if any one knows any thing about them or how to contact them please give them
Virginia Bakula, Lima, Peru
Hello to all FCJs... My memories of the order go all the way back to Broadstairs (UK) in 1966 - and then to Sedgley Park College for Teacher's Training, followed by 5 years teaching in Dublin. I was born and raised in the US - attended St Philomena School in Portsmouth, presently live as an internal Benedictine oblate in Arizona - would love to track down an Eileen Foley who I knew in 1966? Also Mother Loretta Keating who came from Ireland but taught at St Philomena's. The last I knew she had returned to Ireland. My sister and I traveled to Ireland about two years ago - had I known where to contact the FCJs then we would have asked to pay a visit. Your website is beautiful - it is good to know that you are thriving. God bless all.
Dalcie (Maney) Jespersen, OSB, USA
Hello, my name is Paula Ferreira, and I attended Gumley School in Isleworth (England) from 1977 to 1984, and I was overwhelmed to see your site with photos of the school and how it looks now. It brought tears to my eyes. I have very good memories of my years at Gumley. I can say they made me the woman I am today. I also sang in the church choir at St. Bridgets (Father Stanley and Father Antony) across the Street, together with my sister Madeline and of course Sr. Judith (FCJ) who formed the choir and who I will never forget. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me, because meanwhile I moved back to my native country Portugal, and lost contact with almost everyone. I would just like to add that I got married in 1985 to my first love and we have a 16 year old daughter called Sofia. I often tell her stories about my days at Gumley, and back in 1999, when I went over to England for my sister’s wedding, we visited the school. But because it was a Sunday it was closed, but still I stood at the main gate and took a photo with my daughter for my memories album. Good Bless you all.
Paula Ferreira, Portugal
Hi! Lovely to look at your site. I went to St Josephs Upton (England) in 1945. We were taught by Mother Mary Joseph and Mother Francis. My mum used to send a parcel to Mother Margaret for many years. I can see how lovely you all looked. I had a great respect for you all. I don't think the children of today have the same thought - they are to busy. I made my Communion and we had a breakfast in the grounds, it was a wonderful day. So nice to have caught up with the FCJs again. Many thanks,
A. G. Benbow
Dear Sisters, I was surfing the net, looking for Religious Congregations in France, as I plan to visit in 2005. Your Web Site is really beautifully put together and unlike some I have come across, easy to navigate. Your broadly based ministries are really touching people in need and on the edges of society. Well done, keep up the good work and may God bless you especially at his season of Advent and may the coming of Jesus be a wonderful encounter for you all.
Elizabeth Morris rsj
Dear sisters, I enjoyed the website very much. I thought it was very interesting to read about how many FCJ sisters and schools there are around the world. Thanks for making it so interesting.
Megan Ball, England
I was happy to find your very "upmarket" website ... thanks to Sr. Ethna!!. It was very interesting to actually see some people that I remember even before Vatican II. AND not even all wrapped up as you used to be! I spent 4 lovely years at Poles in the UK. I loved my time there and was very fortunate to have had some very caring teachers. I am very appreciative of my parents sending me there as it was a great impetus to my spiritual life. I can remember those three day retreats....I used to go and talk to myself in the loo just to check that I could still talk!!! A big thank you and hello to anyone who remembers me...I was at Sedgely (U.K.) too!!!
Anthea Caruana nee Wraw
Dear Sisters, We are very touched and impressed that you can think of the needs of women victims of violence in our hospital in Africa. Thank you very much for the gift you collected during Lent in the Continental Province. It is a sign to us all that the Kingdom of God unites us throughout the world. Thank you for this sign of love and solidarity.
Lyn Lusi, Africa
I would like to congratulate you and all the sisters on your interesting and informative website. I was a pupil at St. Monica's Convent, Skipton, North Yorkshire, England, from 1953 -1960 and remember with gratitude and pleasure the nuns and teachers who taught me there and gave such a wonderful example to us all. I am not alone in my gratitude because at a recent Reunion at the School (which has now been closed for 34 years) 100 ex pupils returned and expressed similar sentiments. We attended Mass in St Stephen's Church and prayed for all the F.C.J.'s who had died. We prayed especially for Sister Breda who was the headmistress and Reverend Mother at St. Monica's, Sister Anna who was the headmistress of St Stephen's Infant School and Sister Winifride who was a gifted Music and French teacher. After the Mass members of the local community welcomed the ex pupils and staff and provided a wonderful meal which was much appreciated. The F.C.J.'s left the Convent in Skipton 34 years ago, but they are still held in very high esteem by the local community and the many pupils they taught in St. Stephen's and St. Monica's. It was a great pleasure to see Sister Philomena, Sister Magdalen (Patsy Branwood, a past pupil and teacher at St. Monica's), Miss Clare (who still collects goods to send to Romania), Mrs. Finnegan and Miss Spencer (Mrs. Brook) among the people present. Norah Boylan (Burke) and Carol Snowden (Goodwin), Father Peter Dawber, Reverend Malcolm King and the parishoners of St Stephen's deserve a big thank you for organising such an enjoyable event to acknowledge and show their appreciation for all that the F.C.J.'s have done for St. Stephen's and the wider community. Yours sincerely,
Moira Wright (Gilligan) Otley, West Yorkshire, England
Dear Sisters: I was with some of you at the school you had in Switzerland, La Chassotte, for two years. I remember Sister Clare and others who were our teachers and mentors. Sorry if we gave you a hard time but we always remember you with love. I ended up today at Anne's website and it brought to me a lot of memories. I am part of the Mena family from El Salvador: Julia Maria Borja, Carmen Escalante, Cecilia Mena (myself), Maria Antonia Mena, Carmen Mena. We all have our own lives and have lived through good and bad times, but there is something I will never forget - our Lord is always with us. God bless you where ever you are and thank you for the education you gave us. (You can check out Anne's website at: http://www.old-forge.net/page3.html)
Cecilia Mena-Ariz, El Salvador
Hello. I would just like to say thank you for your fantasic web site. Today we have had our first years (pupils aged 11-12) in England looking at your site and they have learnt a lot from it. Also I'm writting to see if Sr Clare Hand is still working out there with you. She was my RE teacher while I was at Gumley (Middlesex, England) and I would like to get in contact with her. Thank you. God Bless
Natalie Anne O'Brien (England)
(Note: Sr Clare Hand fcJ lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia)
The international FCJ website must be one of the most informative and regularly updated sites of its kind on the Net. Congratulations to all involved in its construction and maintenance. As a temporary exile in Rome, I am able to keep track of the Society's progress in my native England, especially that of the Sisters at Stella Maris and Redriff (Broadstairs, Kent), two places that I know so well. Thank you for providing that possibility!
Fr Paulinus Greenwood OSB (Monk of St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent, England)
Prompted by a letter I noticed in an old (1972) 'Country Life' which referred to 'Mutter Maria' and her wonderful walled garden at Poles (Poles Convent was in Ware, Hertfordshire, England), I decided to look up the Internet. Well! I had no idea of the number of FCJ convents and knew little of the Order's history, so I have had a very interesting half hour. I am delighted to learn about the schools you all over England, the Americas, France ... the World!
My memories go back to 1936 to Gumley House, Isleworth (Middlesex, England), where I was left a boarder while my parents returned to India. My mother had been a boarder there in her time and I knew several of her contemporaries very well as 'aunts' during my holidays. Because the boarding school was to be closed I was sent to a new junior school, Stella Maris, at Broadstairs in Kent (England).
War started and I rejoined my parents in India for the duration. I returned to Poles about 1946-8. I have not been good at keeping in touch and I regret missing out on three old friends in particular. I attended an Old Girls' Day at Poles shortly before it was taken over by Hanbury Manor Hotel and I am inspired to try and contact Sr. Mary Shepherd again to see if I can get in touch and re-spark memories. A Wonderful website. Congratulations, and love to all.
Deirdre Barclay (nee Sisnett, England)
Hi! I was at Adelphi House, Salford (England), from 1949 to 1954, formerly from St. James, Pendleton - and now living in Canada. I have the school photo of May 1952. If anyone would like a copy
Marie Young (formerly Thomas), Canada
Hi! I have just discovered the FCJ website. Well done, everyone involved. I attended Newlands in Borough Rd., Middlesbrough, Canada 1956-63, and then Sedgley in Prestwich from 63-66. I've lived in Canada now for 36 years (can it really be that long???) Mother Monica was Headmistress when I was at Newlands, and then Mother Mary of the Angels. I especially remember Mother Winifred (my Third Form home room teacher - a wonderful lady) I would dearly love to know whether she is still alive (having no idea how old she would have been then.) I certainly wasn't a great student but she was a great inspiration to me. I also remember Mrs. Grant; Miss Lillie (who sent me letters when I was in the hospital with appendicitis); Mrs. Henry; Miss Diamond; Miss Jevons; Mrs. Middleton (remember The Mikado?); Mrs. Butler; Mrs. Smith. I still have the school photograph taken in 1962 (it's about 3 feet long) and would love to hear from anyone who was at Newlands (or Sedgley) when I was. (
Elizabeth Gibson (formerly Wright from Guisborough, England), Canada
I have just discovered your very interesting website. I was a pupil of the FCJ sisters in Benalla, Victoria, Australia from 1958 to 1964. In 2000 I attended the Centenary of the sister's arrival in Benalla. It was a wonderful weekend renewing acquaintances. I now live in Shepparton, not far from Benalla. I would love to hear from anyone who was at Benalla with me. Congratulations to the FCJ Society on your wonderful work in so many countries. If anyone would like a pen friend, I would happily correspond. (
Ann Worcester (nee Carey), Australia
Wonderful website, Sisters! I work in Hartlepool, England for the Northern Cross (a local newspaper), near to the Convent, and I know the great work the Sisters do in the parishes.
Bernadette Lawson, England
Enjoyed looking at your website. “Very well done” to all involved in its creation.