Last Friday a group from St Chrysostom’s travelled to Derby, to spend a weekend at the Convent of the Holy Name. It’s the motherhouse of Sister Julie and Catherine’s order, and a home to about 20 sisters.
We were welcomed at the guest cottage with food by Sister Pippa. We joined the sisters at 9.15pm for Night Prayer.
The sisters day begins at 7.45am, and some of us joined them in their Chapel, staying on for Mass at 8. We shared lunch and supper with the sisters in the Convent refectory, our meals eaten in silence. Plenty of time and space was made during the day so people could choose to explore the convent further, join the sisters in Chapel, go for a walk in the surrounding countryside, or travel into Derby. For others it was a chance to read, pray or reflect on the peace that we found in this place. In the evening, we came together for a glass of wine and a chat, staying up long after the sisters had gone to bed!
On Sunday after 8am Mass, we invited Sister Mary Patricia, who has been in community for over 50 years, for coffee. We had an interesting conversation about the religious life, with its highs and lows, and it was wonderful to talk with someone who after so many years still had so much joy and satisfaction in their vocation. Sunday lunch is the one meal of the week where talking is permitted, so we all chatted to sisters we had not yet said hello to. We left Derby feeling refreshed and relaxed, thankful for the time we had spent together.