This was the title of Sr. Raymunda’s presentation at our annual Friends of the Congregation Afternoon on Saturday, 26th October. It was an apt title as her explanatory subtitle was The joys and struggles of being Church. During her talk of one hour, which felt like ten minutes, Raymunda managed to capture something of the spirit of the great John 23rd whose short reign as Pope brought a revolutionary breath of fresh air to the Church, through calling forth the Second Vatican Council.

With great skill and sensitivity, using broad strokes, Raymunda captured the enthusiasm and promise of the early years following on from the Council, the positive spirit of openness to the Spirit present in the People of God and in the world, and the retrenchment to pre-Vatican II thought and practices that happened at an increasing rate in recent years. And then, on the other side of the bridge, the election on 13th March of Jorge Bergoglio as pope. Perhaps one of the most significant statements Pope Francis made after his election is that in terms of Vatican II we are still only at the beginning of the journey.  And Raymunda ended her talk with the challenging question to us, “Where are we on this journey?”

Afternoon tea which followed Sister’s presentation was High Tea in every sense of the word. Sr. Karen’s baking is second to none. So many people last year asked for her recipes, especially her iced ginger cake and tea-brack that she printed copies of them this year. They proved to be as popular as the cakes themselves were for us less talented souls in the culinary arts.

Our yearly afternoon celebration for Friends of the Congregation is always special. Many of our Friends have been part of our ministry in years gone by, some of whom we only meet at this gathering.  A past pupil I taught at Rosary Priory in the seventies introduced herself to me! Peeling the forty years away I actually remembered her, despite the thousands of young people I had taught since then. In more recent times she has been on the school governing body with our dear Sr. Helen when Helen worked in Wealdstone parish, and very recently she attended Helen’s Requiem.

As always the afternoon ended in the convent chapel where we joined the community of Rosary Priory for Evening Prayer.

Sr. Regina