Mission to the end – an unexpected opportunity

What does “mission” mean when you are an elderly Sister? Sr Teresa McMenamin dj, from District England, shares with us how the Exbury community in Westgate-on-Sea accepted an opportunity to share in introducing children and young people to Jesus.

Mission in old age

When we are young religious, we know what it means to have a mission. We fulfill it to the best of our abilities with faith, hope, and love, alongside others around us.

The middle years with their increasing involvements and responsibilities mature and deepen our commitment, but what about when “busyness” is over, and frailty sets in? Is there still a mission? If so, how do we understand it, and see it?

Perhaps part of our growing in faith and trust and love is that we don’t see it, even if others do, and witness to it with admiration and thanksgiving! We don’t see it, but we trust our original baptismal mission.   

An unexpected opportunity

Just recently our little community of three Sisters with an average age of  89 saw an opportunity to see, via an opening with a bit of a difference.

Our parish, Holy Family, appealed for accommodation for young Scripture Union   Leaders due to gather in the area to animate the Minnis Bay Holiday Club for children and young people. This appeal resonated in us as our Province, now a District, has always had an ecumenical dimension. Plus, we have space in our large house following the recent move into care of two Sisters in the community.

                           

We discussed the appeal together over lunch and agreed to offer two places. The demands on us were not great — just a bed, washing facilities, and late nights, as the Leaders had their evening meal together. This meant a little disruption to our normal quiet life but as things worked out, we had two wonderful girls, sisters from Bristol.  You might have thought they were novitiate trained to great silence when they came home late at night!

The Scripture Union

The Scripture Union is an international, interdenominational, evangelical organisation, which works in partnership with other Churches across the world, to actively introduce children and young people to Jesus through the Bible and prayer. The organisation was founded in London in 1864 by Josiah Spiers, originally for poor and uneducated children.

When they say “actively”, it is for real. Volunteers from different parts of the country devote their time and skills for one or two weeks a year to groups of youngsters of 5 to 18 years. The idea is to create a positive holiday atmosphere of friendly togetherness, through learning, sharing, games etc. led by The groups, depending on their age range, were based in different Church halls in the area. Each age group had a name such as “Tiddlers” for the 0- to 5-year-olds,  “Twigs” for the  5- to 7-year-olds, etc.

An instant bond

Our two girls arrived on Saturday, the 22nd of  July. They told us they were happy to be welcomed to a “convent” and felt immediately at home! We sat together and chatted about their involvement in the Scripture Union movement. They were interested in our way of life and how we were drawn to religious life.

Behind from left to right: Sr Teresa McMenamin, two volunteers

In front from left to right: Srs Marion Staff and Pauline Dinan

From the word “Go” there was a bond between us. They were with us for two weeks and their friendly presence brought us joy and inspiration. For us it was an opportunity to continue to trust in our consecration as Daughters of Jesus and to share, in some way, with others around us, the call of the Good News that Jesus brings us … and this to the end of our days.

Sr Teresa McMenamin dj

Exbury Community

Westgate-on-Sea, England

2 Comments

  1. Thank you most sincerely for sharing this wonderful experience with all of us. I was deeply touched while reading your text and I congratulate you for being so close to these young ladies. I’m sure they will never forget your act of kindness. I appreciated seeing the photo of the three of you.It reminded me of my Christmas visit in England years ago and all the other occasions we had to meet in England or Brittany. Thanks again.
    Rita, fj

    Reply
  2. Greetings Teresa, Thank you for the article that you wrote! Very informative and I am happy that your community got to live this experience.

    Reply

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