presidents ponderings by lindash


									ST JULIE NEWS PRESIDENT’S PONDERINGS. What a year for celebrations! How pleased and proud I am to be the President of the Federation during its 80th.year - not least as several members also had their 80 th birthday this year. My mother is now 100, and celebrated last March with family, friends and Liverpool NDA. The Sisters too are achieving great things this year. Sr. Mary Ross was awarded an MBE for her work in Glasgow (which our charity supports). Sr. Kathleen McGee celebrates her Golden Jubilee this weekend. Later this month Sr. Susan Mary Waters celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. That was not all! It was a source of great joy to me that we held our AGM in Liverpool, European Capitol of Culture. Congratulations to all our members, to the Sisters of Notre Dame, and to the city of Liverpool. 2008 is certainly a year to remember.

President’s Report. It has been a wonderful year of celebrations, this, the 80 th.year since Federation was founded. At each Executive Committee meeting plans for this weekend gradually unfolded, and it was decided quite early on to make the weekend one of celebration, of memories, and of making our pride and presence felt. For this reason a plaque will be unveiled at Namur, bearing our dates and details; a commemorative prayer card for each of us will be distributed and a special cake has been made, a gift from Liverpool NDA. Federation Archives are to be on view for a limited time, thanks to the efforts of Sr. Jean Bunn, the retiring archivist, and her successor, Claire Walsh. Our own Federation Archivist, Margaret Lawton, has worked closely with them to bring about this unique opportunity. There will be a concert this evening, after a drinks reception and our celebration dinner, in the presence of Liverpool‟s Archbishop Patrick Kelly and Bishop Vincent Malone. My thanks go to the entire Executive Committee, whose ideas and input have resulted in this happy weekend. We meet here in the Convent on Hope site, made welcome by the kindness of Sr. Jo Bushell, where the usual business, finance, charities and correspondence are dealt with. It was only after many discussions that Catherine was able to put together such an exiting weekend. I hope you enjoy your time with us in the Liverpool Capitol of Culture. FEDERATION WEEKEND REPORT Friday, 5th. September, was not the best of days for travelling to Liverpool - rain, rain, rain! Having been warmly welcomed, by Mary Rose and Catherine, we settled in and forgot the weather. We enjoyed our evening meal and caught up on twelve months news with friends. Saturday‟s weather was much kinder and some of us went to Studley House, the former home of shipbuilder, George Holt, now a gallery of his wonderful art collection. We returned in time for Mass. Sadly the Chapel was out of use after fire destroyed the roof. Bishop Vincent Malone and Fr. Chris concelebrated Mass in a lecture theatre. In his homily Bishop Malone explained that St. Paul said we all have a mother guide. Putting Our Lady to one side, he said that St. Julie and the Sisters would have been our „mother guardians‟. After lunch we gathered in the lecture theatre: Mary Rose welcomed us and Fr. Chris said the opening prayer. Many members came for the day so we were a good crowd for the AGM Sr. Mary Ross SND (see p.6) gave a short history of the Notre Dame Clinic - a vision of Sr. Mary Hilda in the 1930s. Sr. Gail projected images to accompany a talk from the early days to the present time. An adolescent unit was opened in the 1950s and an extension has been added to house their activities. The latest project, which we help to support, is a Drop-in centre for parents where they

can have a cup of tea, meet others with similar problems, and chat with one of the sisters about their children and their worries. It costs £7000 a year for rent, rates etc. There are many things needed to keep the centre open as a welcoming meeting place, and so Sister was delighted with our cheque of £1800. The AGM went smoothly with Kath Byron making sure we all kept to the order on the agenda. The remains of the money from legacies from Jassie Hodgers and Stephanie Novak has been used to buy special protective coverings for archive material, and for a decorative board commemorating all Past-Presidents to be displayed in the Archive room. To celebrate the eighty years of Federation, a plaque has been placed in the Chapel at Namur. The President-elect, Mary Lewis was nominated by the newly formed Direct Members Association. Mary, a past pupil of Leeds, previously served as Treasurer on the Executive. We finished with a delicious celebration cake made by Kat Byron and superbly iced by Doreen Lambert. On Saturday evening, the Conference Dinner was preceded by a drinks reception with our special guests Archbishop Kelly and Bishop Malone. For each person there was a special bookmark/prayer card to commemorate the Federation‟s „eightieth birthday’. We were entertained by the Bentley Operatic Society who gave us a wonderful evening of Gilbert and Sullivan choruses, solos and duets - thoroughly enjoyed by all! Some found it difficult not to stand up and join in!!! (photos on On Sunday morning Sr. Kathleen Ashurst SND gave a talk on Asylum Link Merseyside. Sister pointed out that asylum seekers come to save their lives whilst migrant worker come to make money. Liverpool and Croydon are the two places where asylum seekers are sent for six weeks. The Government has withdrawn funding for teaching English until they have been here for six months but fortunately they have Sr. Teresa and Bro. Eamon coming in to teach them. The centre is a place of friendship for seekers and people bring clothes and furniture for them. Sister told us some very sad stories. There is now a Destitution Road-show which visits schools and parishes to raise awareness of the problems. Money is needed for rent, refreshment (coffee always is available - even though once they discovered there was no money left in the pot.), toiletries (the Government vouchers can only be exchanged for food!), clothes etc. After this moving talk Ann Astwood handed sister a cheque for £1800, for which she was very grateful. I think it is OK for me to tell you that in her talk Sister told a very sad story about a man with a special problem for which he needed money but the centre do not deal with requests for money - before she left a number of people slipped her a little something and she received more than he needed. In the coffee break we had the big event - the raffle, with some excellent prizes, successfully organised by Ann Astwood, who also looked after the Bring and Buy, - a good start for next year‟s charity. A well-known Liverpool group, Mike Anderson and Tongues of Fire, provided the music for Mass and all sang with great gusto. In his homily on the day‟s gospel Fr. Chris said that St. Matthew and his community knew that God was with them, and despite the troubles going on around us, if we have faith, we too can experience His presence day in day out. After lunch and farewells we left after a most enjoyable weekend. Our thanks go to the Executive Committee and their helpers, and we look forward to next year at a new venue in Herefordshire. . During the weekend we had the opportunity to visit the archives and look at a selection of material about Federation, each school and Mount Pleasant. There was a book showing the official comments made by the lecturers at Mount Pleasant about students on Teaching Practice - don‟t worry these were very early ones about past students who are no longer with us (they weren‟t yours!). There were such comments as „a lack of dignity’. Old menus from past Federation dinners

and photographs of members in hats, or in formal long dresses, made use realise how things have changed. We saw the actual books of the lessons, hand written and illustrated by a Northampton pupil for her father, which are insured for thousands of pounds. (see p.25) Josie Sear.

MBE FOR SISTER MARY A Westender who has spent her life working to help young people and families has been appointed MBE for services to children. Sr. Mary Ross was director of the Notre Dame Adolescent Unit and Child Guidance Clinic from 1992 until she retired last year. The Hillhead centre employs a staff of psychologists, social workers, teachers and therapists to work with children and young people with a variety of emotional and behavioural problems. As Director, Sister Mary helped found a post-graduate course in play therapy, and set up a drop in advice shop for struggling parents to air their problems - Parents Etc on Hyndland Road - where she still works. Accompanied by her mother and sisters she received her honour from the monarch at Holyrood. She told The Extra: “It was great fun. When I spoke to the Queen, she said it sounded like I’d been doing some very interesting work so I told her about the centre. She started to smile and said it looked as though I really enjoyed the work. ” Sister added:” I wasn’t sure what to do when the envelope arrived. Someone pointed out that I had to accept because it recognised the work of the centre.” Mary first started work as a maths teacher at St. Margaret‟s school in Paisley and joined the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1965. She taught at Notre Dame secondary school, and after studying psychology at Glasgow University worked in Drumchapel and Bellahouston Academy she completed a PhD at Sterling University in 1997, studying children‟s hopes and aspirations as they moved through secondary schools. But despite all her experience, she credits her knack for helping families to her Italian grandparents - after spending much of her childhood at their Govan café. She explained: ”The patience they had with very young children, coming in to select their sweeties, was amazing to watch. My grandmother would listen to the troubles of the dockers, who worked just down the road, and sometimes hold on to their pay packets for them so that they didn’t spend it all in one night. From a very young age they taught me how important it was for young people and families to have someone to listen to them.”
Taken, with permission, from The Extra. 10.07. 2008.

More about Sr. Mary‟s work at Parent‟s Inc. “ Increasingly I had seen the need to support parents that felt they were losing their authority, and really my main job here is to give parents back their authority…. It is meeting people where they are and walking with them and suffering alongside them until they get to where they want to be. Really we should be promoting drop-in centres all over the country.” As well as Sister Mary, the drop-in centre is staffed by volunteers so that Sister can meet privately with parents, and increasingly grandparents, who often have care of children and teenagers from the family. Mother of four, Margaret Bland, who volunteers one morning a week, summed up the importance of Sr. Mary‟s contribution. “One of my children had to be assessed for additional support. At the time I found getting access to clinical psychologists was quite difficult so when I saw this centre I thought what a wonderful service. With additional needs comes the need for additional support. I like to help out so others can benefit for the service that Sister Mary provides.”
Taken from The Scottish Catholic Observer. 14.03. 2008.

ASSOCIATION REPORTS NORTHAMPTON. In the 2007 news I mentioned a book, “A Word From the Girls”, which Martine McInnes (who has reverted to her maiden name of Mannion) had written and which was then in the hands of the publisher. It is a record of the history of Notre Dame High School in Northampton chiefly told in the words of past pupils. At very short notice, just a few days, Martine informed us that her book would be launched at the Guildhall Museum in August 2007. The Museum provided a small, and rather cramped, area on the second floor for an exhibition with two floor-to-ceiling glassed display bays and a couple of display boards. Martine asked us for help with the memorabilia. Hastily, we contacted as many local members as possible to inform them of the launch and managed to obtain items of school uniform, photographs, exercise books, a St. Julie statue, a piece of stained glass rescued from the Chapel, a sampler worked by a pupil and various other treasures. She added music to a DVD she had made using pages from a very valuable 19 th.century book, written and beautifully illustrated by a Northampton pupil, (discovered in the Archives in Liverpool), which was shown on the screen in the small cinema adjacent to the exhibition area. The launch went well with Martine, her family and about forty „Old Girls‟ present. A reporter from our local paper took photographs and asked questions, and we were given a double page article in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. More useful publicity for Notre Dame! The exhibition was very popular. It was scheduled to finish on 7th. September, but the Museum extended it to October. Martine is extremely grateful for our help and tells us the book has sold well and she is considering a reprint. A copy is now in the Archives in Liverpool. Following Martine‟s book launch, we realised how important it is to sort and retain our various collections of memorabilia, and so Mgr. Tony let us have the use of his parish room for a whole day for this purpose. Jose has an envelope full of fragile local press cuttings about the sale, closure and demolition of our lovely Convent and School (and all the controversy that went with it) which we carefully smoothed out and put into a scrapbook. We have had a copy made for the Archives. Thanks to Marie Thomas, we continue to enjoy interesting and entertaining speakers. Emily, from a local nursery, gave us a most informative talk about geraniums. She brought along a wide selection of beautiful plants and we were all amazed at the number of different varieties she grows. Michael Peachey, a self-taught artist, gave us an oil painting demonstration and talk, and invited audience participation. His talk about his experiences and the display of paintings was extremely amusing, and then, with the help of some of our members, a very saleable seascape was created. Future meetings include an afternoon tea party; „Short Back and Sides’, a barber-shop quartet; and Christmas entertainment from the committee. Our 2007 Christmas entertainment was provided by the Committee with seasonal readings and poems, amusing and serious, and Eleanor‟s hilarious account of the school nativity plays. Health and Safety officials today would blanch at the sight of our angel choir balanced on benches at the back of the nativity scene! So, by popular request, part two will take place in December 2008. Carols, sherry, coffee, tea and mince pies are also included. We have already booked our 2009 reunion for April. Mgr. Tony McDermott celebrated our St. Julie Mass and we thank him sincerely for the free use of St. Aiden‟s Parish Rooms for our „choir‟ meetings. Sadly, the Mass is never very well attended, most likely because so many of our members are not Catholics. „Best one ever’ was one of the many compliments received after our AGM/Reunion in April and it certainly was a very happy occasion. 153 attended, some travelling long distances from north, south, east and west, and 144 took the trouble to send apologies - many with messages of good wishes and donations towards the charities, including Canadian and US dollars. We were disappointed that Bishop Peter Doyle and our Federation President Mary Rose, could not be with us, due to previous commitments. We were happy to welcome our quests the Worshipful Mayor of

Northampton, Councillor Lee Mason (a delightful lady), Sister Greta Cini (who was at school in Northampton), Martine Mannion („A Word from the Girls’) and our Chaplain, Mgr. Tony McDermott. Eleanor Howland organised her usual excellent photographic display of various events, Margaret Bradbury produced table plan lists (no problems there!), the committee and members contributed to a very lucrative raffle, and we all enjoyed a superb lunch. Many Federation friends will remember Joy Fielder (Solomom), who celebrated her 90 th.birthday on Friday, 13.06.2008. Joy has been a dedicated member of our Association for many years, served on the committee, attended Federation very regularly, and was mentor at our choir meetings. Although ill-health has curtailed these activities for some years, we were so pleased she was able to be with us at the Reunion. Our oldest member Doris Forsyth (Letts) died in January aged 101. We look forward to the Federation meeting and our usual party of ten or eleven will travel from Northampton. Margaret Bradbury‟s husband has kindly offered to drive us too and from Liverpool. Paul was made an Honorary Old Boy after the very enjoyable trip he and Margaret organised to Namur and is highly recommended! We are fortunate to have a dedicated President and a hardworking committee who could not carry on without the support of our loyal and generous members. God bless them all! Mary March. MANCHESTER Our Association has been saddened by the death of Mary Goodwin, our Secretary/Treasurer, on 12th. May this year. Mary kept the Association together for many years, being at the centre of all our activities: she knew all our members and was the point of contact for all - she will be sadly missed. At our Committee meeting in January, Mary helped plan this year‟s programme, which included the November Mass at St. Anne‟s, Crumpsall, and the St. Julie Mass at St. Winifred‟s, Heaton Mersey. Sadly, she was in hospital when this Mass was celebrated. At the fund-raising „Soup and Sandwich‟ lunch, in April, Mary was present collecting subscriptions and donations, as always, and she suffered a stroke a week later. The „Strawberry Tea‟ was held at Stella‟s in June and we all agreed it was one of the best. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon because, after a week of rain, it was a fine day and we were able to sit in the garden - an afternoon of delicious food and amiable conversation. We have Brian to thank for comfort of tables and chairs under a gazebo. In fact one group of ladies „sat it out‟ to the bitter end, enjoying a rare sunny day. As ever, our members are very supportive of our efforts and generous with donations. Mary would be delighted with our record takings at the Strawberry Tea. Our favourite event, the Mass at St. Hubert‟s, Dunsop Bridge is in September this year, for a change. Veronica Miles will remain President, Mary Goodwin will be replaced by two people! Stella Mc.Hugh will take over as Treasurer - who else! Mary Kendal will be Secretary. With our numbers we do not have the luxury of elections - it‟s a matter of who‟s left that can do it? Veronica Miles. SOUTHWARK I must begin this report with an apology. Some time ago now, when Marie Tisi issued a mail-shot for a Southwark gathering, one envelope was returned by Royal Mail with the words “addressee deceased” written upon it. This envelope was the one intended for Mrs. Emma Mary Uden (née Winch). Having no reason to doubt the Post Office, we duly prayed for the repose of Mrs. Uden‟s soul at our meetings and in November at our Mass for deceased members. Mrs. Uden was then mentioned as deceased in my report for St. Julie News 2007. It was only at this point, when the publication was read by Mrs. Uden‟s niece who

lives in Belgium, that we were informed of our error. Mrs. Uden had not died, she had only moved away! We were delighted to welcome Mrs. Uden, accompanied by her daughter and niece, to our AGM/St. Julie Day celebration, to present her with some flowers and to apologise in person. We continue our efforts to maintain a programme of events throughout the year. In January, some members, taking the team name “The Southwark Dames” took part in the Friends of Westminster Cathedral Quiz Night in the Cathedral Hall where we had enormous fun and enjoyed a very good fish and chip supper. To cap it all, we won. Our theatre group, ably organised by Paula Watson who has the knack of choosing good shows, has proved to be very popular. Our last outing was to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, to see “Marguérite” a production set in Paris during the occupation. Though this is a musical, it deals with some serious subjects, such as the Nazis‟ treatment of the Jews, the French Resistance and the treatment of collaborators after the Liberation. We look forward to Puccini‟s „La Rondine‟ at the Peacock Theatre. In July, we met for afternoon tea at the Guoman Hotel next to Charing Cross Station - a successful event on several occasions. Not all our ventures have been so successful; we have recently cancelled a lunch party at a central London restaurant because few members had booked, possibly because of the high cost of eating out in London. On 22nd November, we are to have our Mass for deceased members in St. George‟s Cathedral, Southwark, followed by a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta at “La Dolce Vita”. Despite this lively programme of events, there is one cloud on the horizon. Although one of the largest, in terms of membership, the Association has a problem, which I know has afflicted others before us. I am due to step down as President at the AGM in 2010, which means that we should appoint/elect a Vice President (President-in-waiting) at the AGM 2009, and the Secretary Marie Tisi and the Treasurer Moira Metcalf will be coming to the end of their terms of office. No-one has yet come forward for any of these offices – a state of affairs which could jeopardise the future of the SNDA.. A few months, however, are still remaining and I am hopeful of finding some volunteers! Diane Donovan. (Don’t worry St. Julie will have her eye on someone!) DIRECT MEMBERS. Over the past few years the number of members has stayed around 70, which is very encouraging. We welcome two new members Molly Upton (Sheffield) and Maureen Brass (Southwark) I still send newsletters and St. Julie News to two of our elderly members. I wonder if anyone has news of Eileen Johnson and Winifred Hurst? It is quite possible that they may now be in residential care. Please pray for Audrey Magill (Plymouth) and Teresa Dickinson (Leeds) who died recently. As always, our members have been very generous in their support of the Federation Charity. Fr. Chris kindly offered Mass in November last year for deceased members, and for all our members in May this year. I hope to meet up with you over the weekend and I have my receipt book here ready to collect your subscriptions for the next twelve months. We are now an established Association with the blessing of the Executive Committee. Jose Sear

LIVEPOOL The Liverpool Association continues to provide focus for friendship, prayer, celebration and enjoyable activities towards fund-raising for Notre Dame charities. We are happy to include Direct Members from St. Helens in all our events - ten Sisters of Notre Dame, living in the area, are members of the Association. Last November we gathered for the annual Mass for deceased members in the beautiful Chapel of Notre Dame Convent at 266 Woolton Road. All agreed that this fitting venue was beautifully prepared by Sister Sacristan. The liturgy was greatly enhanced by Joan‟s son, Mike, and his friend Richard. The good acoustics helped the singing along. Once again the Community at 266 made us most welcome for our Christmas party. The afternoon started with carols in the Chapel to allow

the community to unpack and arrange the food in the dining-room – flowers and crockery were already in place. Kath Byron‟s quiz based on the titles of Christmas carols generated both concentration and great fun. As there was quite an amount of food left over one energetic soul conducted an auction that raised further funds or the charity. The lady enjoyed the fun so much that she gave a special contribution for what was described as the floor show!! The AGM in March at Hope University brought us back to a more sober function. After the business was complete we once again had reason to be jolly. Rea Morgan, the mother of Mary Rose and Bernadette, was 100 years old that day. She was in great form as she participated enthusiastically that afternoon. In April, Mass was celebrated for her intentions at Bishop Eton and this was followed by lunch in the Parish Hall. Members of the Committee remembered St. Julie when they were at Birkdale for a day of recollection in May. Sr. Pat organised the day around the theme of friendship (Luke 11:5-8) and the friendship of Julie and Francoise. We had full use of the lovely new St. Julie Room, the new chapel and the garden. Sr. Joyce Priest the Community Moderator invited all to a buffet meal in the pleasant courtyard. No packed lunches this time! The group presented Sister with a cheque for her chosen charity. This was much appreciated by Sr. Helena Boland who was making Birkdale her base while home on leave from Nigeria. The Strawberry Tea, held at 266, proved to be another happy summer event. The raffle and table sale boosted the charity funds. Southport was certainly on the map this year as the Golf Open was held at Royal Birkdale, but rather than swing the clubs the Committee enjoyed their Christmas and summer social event with lunch at the nearby Formby Golf Club. We look forward to welcoming everyone to the Federation at Hope University in the city of Liverpool, the Cultural Capitol of Europe. As you know Notre Dame Mount Pleasant College is one of the founder institutions of Hope. One of the buildings, Lecher Hall, is named after Sister Mary Philip Lecher SND, the first Principal.
Sister Patricia Short SND

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