Thursday, 26 April 2012


We were very sad to hear of Catherine (Eva) Hurton’s death. At the funeral her grandson Nicolas told us how dearly her family had loved their “honest-to-goodness down to earth Mum and Granny.”     The reception afterwards was full of memories, and Eva’s daughter Marlene kindly lent us this photo, taken at the Catholic Club in Ashley Lane, but we’re not sure when.     We think that’s Eva on the extreme left with Violet Bennett (later Loader) and Diana Walsh next to her.     There’s Eileen Finn with the short open jacket, while the three men in the centre are Fr Bernard Heeran, Joseph Walsh and Colonel Weld.       Do you think we’ve got it right so far, and can you help us with the other people in the group?       Please click on “comments” below.


Louise’s lovely garden looks fresh and bright after the recent showers.     Have you a garden which we could show on our blog?       Let us know if you have – we’d love to feature it.


                                                                                                                                          photo by Nicky
Something to sing about – despite the blustery weather these fragile blooms can be seen in abundance, especially in the courtyards and passages behind Lymington High Street.

Friday, 20 April 2012

 To celebrate SVP Founder’s Day, the proceeds of the Coffee morning in the Hospitality Centre of Our Lady of Mercy next Saturday April 28th will be donated to the Society of St Vincent de Paul.     It will be used partly to fund the work of the Lymington Conference, and partly to support the Youth SVP nationally.


Last Saturday at the Church of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph, the marriage took place of Anne Starbuck and David Chapple.     Anne is a Ringwood parishioner and David is from Ruislip.    We wish them every happiness for many years in their life together.


Some of the ladies from the Lymington Catholic Women's League had already met Sister Genny from the Sisters of the Good Shepherd when she joined the recent Parish Retreat to Oxford. She's currently staying at Geo House, St Joseph's in Ashurst. Those she spoke to even briefly on our coach journey were greatly impressed by her warmth, humility and the obvious joy she's found in the missionary work of her order. We were keen to hear her speak more about their global communities.

Sister Genny welcomed the opportunity to share the dedication of her congregation with the CWL: primarily to protect, educate and help women and girls around the world. The Roman Catholic Order of the Good Shepherd (there is now an Anglican community for women which has the same name) was originally a branch of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, founded in 17th century France by St John Eudes. He was personally dedicated to opening safe-houses for prostitutes and abused women and children. After the French Revolution, these established communities rehabilitated displaced women and orphaned infants. Sister Genny reminded us that in times of war and social depravation, women and children are often still the most affected.
The congregation was modelled on St John Eudes' order, founded by St Mary Euphrasia (Pelletier) in Angers, France, in 1835. The Sisters of the Good Shepherd today are guided in their missions by her words; she believed that "One person is of more value than a world". Canonised in 1940 for her lifelong devotion, she originally used donations to "purchase" and house female African slaves who had been brought to Europe. In her lifetime, 110 Good Shepherd convents were opened, establishing 16 provinces throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and The United States. In 2010, the congregation was comprised of more than 5,000 Sisters working in 72 countries, now including provinces in Oceania. Originally a cloistered order, it is now largely apostolic: Sister Genny explained that Sisters work in deprived communities as outreach workers, social workers, special needs teachers, health care advisers, nurses and advocates for social justice and change.
                                            St Mary Euphrasia
She spoke of the work of the order in her homeland, the Philippines. The Philippines is a huge archipelago of islands and the Sisters now have communities spanning 100 of them. Her family are indigenous to the country; the Philippines have multiple ethnicities, having been claimed by several empires over the centuries, only gaining independence in 1945. Sister Genny told us that the indigenous population has historically been forced further into the mountains and forests. These areas are not only vulnerable to the scores of typhoons and seasonal floods which hit the islands each year, but have also been plundered by overseas mining and wood-trade corporations. She stressed that it's often difficult to talk about a loving God with a hungry stomach. As well as educating previously unschooled children, the Sisters are involved in re-working rural areas to provide local trades and goods. Sister Genny's village now produces internationally acclaimed jams, marmalade and peanut butter!
With the twelfth largest population in the world, an additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas; 81% of these migrant workers are women, traditionally sending money home to the Philippines. Sister Genny explained that sex-trafficking is still rife in the Philippines, as it is elsewhere in the world. Often, "jobs overseas" are promised to girls by neighbours or even family members; the girls are unwittingly sent across the world to a life of modern slavery. The Sisters provide a presence in airports and areas known to be part of this trade. As well as counselling abused women and children and providing sanctuary, there are Good Shepherd centres providing guidance on International Labour Laws and advising migrant workers on Benefits and of course loneliness. Sister Genny had recently asked to visit the "red-light" areas in Hampshire's own Southampton. She told us that her personal preconceptions have been challenged by her experiences: how love for families and the need to survive and provide still force the disadvantaged and marginalised to compromise themselves.
In 1996, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd became affiliated with the United Nations as an NGO (Non-governmental Organisation). This enables them to actively work with or on occasion challenge the UN to promote justice and peace where there is poverty, inequality, victimisation and conflict. In the UK, some Good Shepherd homes have been taken over by Social Services, but there are still communities in Newcastle, Manchester, Kent and London, and also in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Sisters in the UK sell Fairtrade produce from Thailand to raise funds. "HandCrafting Justice" was created by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1997 as a fairtrade marketplace for goods produced in developing regions sponsored by the order. The approach is holistic, providing spiritual empowerment and economic opportunity; telling the stories of the craftsmen and women. As well as Thailand and the Philippines, goods are marketed from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific. And of course, you can shop "HandCrafting Justice" online!
Sister Genny will be returning to the Philippines in May, to learn where her next mission will be. She spoke to me of working in her beloved homeland but also of her concern for women and children in stricken Syria and Lebanon. Wherever she finds herself needed, I hope Sister Genny will stay in touch with her new friends in the UK.
                                                                          Report and photo by Gigi

Thursday, 12 April 2012


The Lord is truly risen, Alleluia.
To him be glory and power
For all the ages of eternity
Alleluia, Alleluia.

The solemn entry of the clergy at St Anne's,
Easter Sunday morning.

photo by Mary


When the parish of St Anne's decides to cut their hedge, they don't go for any half measures.    Short back and sides?   Certainly, sir.

All finished, now.   And here's the team that finished it off!
                                                                     Many thanks, Anne, for the photos.


                                                                                                                                        photo by Nicky
Magnolias opening on Easter Day in the garden of Pylewell House,  the birthplace of Joseph Weld, who founded the Church of Our Lady of Mercy in 1859. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012


On Maundy Thursday our Eucharistic Ministers gathered to make their annual commitment to their vocation for the coming year.      The team has now been strengthened by the addition of two new ministers, Michael Barsby and Andrew Sutherland. 


                                                                                                                            photo by Anthony
We are all Thomas Merton people now! Brockenhurst hosted a day devoted to the Trappist Monk, Thomas Merton, and it was presented by Dr Peter Tyler. People came from far and wide, and were enthused and inspired by our introduction to Merton - his story and his spirituality. He died in 1968, and he had a profound effect on Vatican 2. He also effectively launched the spirituality movement which introduced contemplative prayer to lay people in the Church. He was no 'plaster saint' - and somehow endears himself all the more to the post-war generation.
                                                                                                         Thanks, Mary, for this report.


Two of us went on a walking holiday in Mid-Wales last week.      We went with a non-profit making tour company to visit places of Christian interest, and were accompanied on some of the walks by local Christian leaders.     As she walked along with us the Rev. Lucyann Ashdown spotted this lonely lamb, and carried it back to its mother, thus giving us a practical demonstration of how she deals with lost sheep in her parish!
High up in the hills our group visited the most isolated chapel in Wales at Soar, a very long way from the nearest village.

Yet inside the old box pews are kept spotlessly clean, and weddings are held there most weekends.

Here are the ruins of the Cistercian Abbey of Strata Florida near Pontrhydfendigaid, which was founded in about 1150 but dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540.   
If you'd like to know more about the tour company we went with, visit   

                                                                                                                         photos by Nicky