Overnight life changed at the Bar Convent when almost all the staff were furloughed and a few members continued to work to keep the convent safe day and night. It was so strange, no one around, no chatter from the café, shop, atrium or garden, silence. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful and the community were able to enjoy nature as it came to life, the leaves unfurled, daffodils bloomed followed by tulips and then the shrubs; clematis, wisteria, laburnum and then the roses, all beautiful, lifting our hearts in praise of our great Creator God.
No Mass was said in the community chapel with our retired sisters so we resorted to streamed Masses. We set up the conference room with an altar and focused on the big screen behind. We prayed in many cathedrals and churches but focused on our local parish for the Holy Week Triduum and Easter. Here we heard about the food bank for families who were in need. As our Pastoral Centre was closed, there were lots of biscuits and other food which would soon be out of date so we gathered boxes together with other food stuffs and took them to our local Catholic school from where the food was distributed. This we continued to do through the following weeks and months. We also looked after our parish priest. Usually he joins us for Sunday lunch but that was no longer possible so he had take-away meals instead!
Julia MacDonald our Director at St. Bede’s with the help of Sr. Marion put together a virtual programme offering weeks of guided prayer and other prayer experiences. Zooming unheard of before is now the usual means of communication.
Now we are looking towards opening up again first with the café followed by the guest house. This will entail a different way of being with social distancing, endless cleaning and sanitising and reduced numbers. We are blessed with our wonderful staff who are eager to return to work. We would value your prayers as we enter this new chapter at the Bar Convent.
Ann Stafford CJ