Author Archive

It could be someone I know

April 17, 2017

Yesterday I met a young man begging on the London tube. Not very remarkable really – there are often young men begging I guess. The difference was that yesterday I happened to have a small amount of money that someone had given to me ‘for someone in need’. I said to the man that I would give it to him when we got off the train, and so I had an opportunity to have a bit of a conversation with him.

A young man, on the streets for the last 12 weeks after having been made redundant. Clearly suffering, clearly losing weight. He wasn’t so different to my brothers (younger I guess). Caught in a vicious circle – he needs to beg to get money for the immediate (food and overnight accommodation) so how can he plan or save to get ID, security, apply for a job?

This encounter left me deeply disturbed – what happened to his friends? family? Do they even know where or how he is? What is the back story to this that I don’t know? Most of all I am disturbed because this young man is clearly not so different from many people I know. Anyone of them could be in his position.

How can I stand alongside him and be a channel of hope?

“As women of the Church, standing at the foot of contemporary crosses, we are channels of hope, love and mercy in our villages towns and cities.”

FCJ GC2013

Earth Hour

March 27, 2017

FCJ Earth HourFCJ Sisters from around the world joined in with EARTH HOUR, the global action of solidarity. Here are some messages from sisters in different parts of the world. They are simple messages shared between friends who delighted in the unity of this global gesture:

We had a lovely hour of prayer, song and sharing by candlelight

No need to turn off lights in this land as most people don’t have electricity so I just sat and prayed the rosary.

We’ve also just finished a happy candlelight hour together of sharing, praying and some refreshments! It’s good to have a sense of so many of us joined together in this gesture!

We had just finished our evening  snack and simply lit candles and stayed at the table chatting and enjoying each other’s company. A lovely hour flew past!

Dear Friends, we shared this year’s Earth Hour by candle light in our little chapel. We were conscious of being in solidarity with all our FCJ sisters and with all those who have the ‘care of our common home’ at heart.

We had a lovely hour with a prayer  – it was a lovely moment of reflection and thanks-giving which ended up with a little celebration. A most enjoyable evening.

… there was a deep sense of union and peace between the group gathered in chapel, in candlelight, a few sisters in their own rooms enjoying the peace of the evening and the light gradually fading, and the whole Society. Thanks to all.

Dear Companions, we had a lovely Holy Hour with Exposition with candle light… several people from the village joined us. Some of our elderly people in the Home told us, that they joined us in our prayer with our Holy Hour which can be transmitted over the television in their rooms. We were very united with all our sisters and all people in the world.

We joined in and prayed in candlelight during that hour at our Retreat for young people.

If you would like to see more about Earth Hour:

take a look at the video clips on Facebook.

BBC Coverage

Video Message for ”Earth Hour” by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres


Earth Hour infographic.jpg


To incarnate contemplative presence

March 22, 2017

As part of my ministry I work as a chaplain to a university. It’s a ministry that has taught me a lot about the importance of contemplative presence and fidelity.

Taking on the chaplaincy in a secular institution has its challenges – there was little faith based activity and no ‘ready made’ chaplaincy community – instead we have had to build it from scratch. Week by week we have turned up, been present, offered opportunities – lunch, prayer, gardening, Mass, charity work and volunteering etc -and slowly a community has formed around us.

It’s a community of students who appreciate the space, who enjoy the calm atmosphere and friendly welcome, who want to be listened to without feeling they must be saying something of life-changing importance, students and staff who need to be able to explore the spiritual side of life without judgement.

This has all been as a result of our simply being faithful and present, witnessing quietly and consistently to our own deep faith and to gospel values.


Rice and Beans

March 14, 2017


This year I am trying the TearFund Mean Bean Challenge.

It is a simple idea – eat only rice and beans for a week. As much rice and beans as you want. But ONLY rice and beans (oh and porridge for breakfast!) In our community we had decided to do a rice and bean night once per week, but having tried that for two weeks and read some reflections from others who took up the challenge we have decided to give it a go!

Of course for much of the world it would not seem unusual – many people live every day with an impoverished diet – but for us, surrounded by variety and choice, unused to hunger, it will be difficult!

I will write some updates as I go along, so watch this space!

We are planning to make it a time to:

FAST – obviously, although it’s more about abstaining really

PREPARE – we will be reflecting on the experience, how it affects us and hopefully growing in gratitude for all that we have.

PRAY – for generosity and compassion towards those who live with less

GIVE – the money we save will go to charity



Companionship renews us

March 13, 2017

One of our Companions in Mission groups in the UK met together yesterday for a day of walking. It is a group who live in different parts of the UK and so we met in the middle of the country and found a nice route for a walk and a picnic. It was a time to laugh together, to relax, to enjoy nature and to talk about the things that matter to us. We aren’t a group that is able to meet frequently due to distance, ministry and other commitments, but when we do meet we give quality time and presence to each other.

I always come away from our meeting feeling renewed, challenged and inspired!

God’s close presence

March 9, 2017

“…save us by your hand, and help me, who am alone and have no helper but you, O Lord.” Esther:12

I love this line from the book of Esther because it speaks to me of an understanding of God’s presence that goes way beyond feeling and emotion. Esther feels ALONE, and yet she knows that God is her helper. No matter how alone she appears, no matter how hopeless the situation seems, there is an underlying sense of God who is present even in her isolation and helplessness.


Finding an Oasis

February 28, 2017

Recently I was directing a retreat for young adults in Malta. We stayed at a retreat centre called Dar il-Ħanin Samaritan . The Centre is in Santa Venera in a built up area surrounded by industry, and when we first arrived I wondered where people would find space and silence in this urban landscape!

Entering in to the retreat house was quite something! Large walls, not visible from the outside, drop the Retreat Centre down two storeys into a sheltered and secluded space unlike any other retreat space I have visited. We were met by brightly coloured concrete and natural stone, by water features and prayer spaces.

Over the next few days I came to realise that this easily accessible place was an oasis of calm in the midst of urban life. The unusual and dramatic architecture highlighted the urban reality whilst enabling solitude and peace.


Compassionate Solidarity

February 1, 2017

The news this week has been so breathtakingly shocking that it is hard to know how towe-are-people begin to express anything about it that makes sense.

This video clip really moved me it is worth taking the time to watch it and to wonder:

How am I called to stand in compassionate solidarity with people?

What does my faith dictate?”

Walking 1000 Miles

January 11, 2017

I enjoy New Year. Mainly because I enjoy new starts. I don’t usually make a load of ‘resolutions’ but I do usually settle slowly on one or two actions or choices that I think will have a positive impact on my life. Generally sometime mid-January I have worked out what they are going to be.

This year my dad gave me an idea – he was talking about #walk1000miles – advertised in a magazine he enjoys. The idea is simple -try to walk 100 miles in the course of the year. Initially I thought it was ridiculous, but then when I looked into it I realised it was actually quite possible and I decided to do it!

We are only on 11th January… but here are some positives already (apart from the obvious health benefits):

  • walking-feet-167elff.jpgIn order to walk 2.75 miles per day I need to go for a walk even when working from home. So I am meeting my neighbours a lot more.
  • Others have joined me and been inspired by the challenge.
  • A group of students I know are joining me to raise money for charity.
  • Walking clears my head and gives me reflective space.

So watch this space – or join me and #walk1000miles!




30 Day Retreat – novitiate

January 6, 2017

exteriorview1Teresa, one of our FCJ novices is just beginning her 30 day retreat alongside the Jesuit novices at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Wales. Sr Rita will accompany her.

The ’30 Day retreat’ or Spiritual Exercises are a foundational part of formation in our FCJ Society and in the Ignatian tradition. Through them we come to understand in a profound way the particular call of Christ in our life and to respond to that call with ever growing freedom. Following on from the retreat there is an apostolic experience which gives time to deepen and live out of the graces of the retreat in daily life.

Join us in keeping Teresa, Rita and the others making the Exercises in prayer throughout the coming month.