2018 The Making of The Marian House of the Holy Spirit


Since our 2017 Tidings our name has changed from Tŷ Mam Duw to the Marian House of the Holy Spirit, and we had hoped that we might be fully resident now at Bulwell, but God seems to have allowed a hold-up in the proceedings.

We have got rid of most of our furniture and excess goods. The food cupboard at one point was dangerously low; then generous local people stepped in and came to our aid with food. May God bless and reward them for their generosity and kindness.

Dear Mother and Sr Anežka and Sr Bakhita have been travelling the 120 miles between Hawarden and Bulwell each week painting the rooms at Marian House as the workmen doing the costly vital alterations finish them. Our bank balance is getting lower and lower, so please pray that both the building alterations and the sale of our property here will be duly finalised and that we will be able to move soon.

Under the present circumstances we have not been able to compile a proper newsletter, but we thought you would appreciate the following extracts from our annals of the past year or so.

(Since compiling this, contracts have been signed and, praise God, we are now moving!)


1 November 2017: All Saints We are continuing our daily ‘drop-in’ rosary in choir, begun in October, as it is mainly for our big intentions - for ourselves, the Bulwell Sisters and our dear Marianne, with regard to our move to Bulwell and Marianne’s future.

2 November Dear Mother has started sorting out the linen cupboard and putting out articles in the cloister for us to take and mark if we have any linen that needs replacing.

4 November In the evening we gathered in Mt Tabor to watch the fire brigade’s fireworks display in the valley for bonfire night. It comprised about twenty minutes of continuous lovely and varied fireworks. A good finale as far as we were concerned, as we are unlikely to see such a display once we’re in Bulwell.

6 November This evening we were shown a sketch of proposed alterations to the sacristy of the parish church at Bulwell to transform it into a chapel in which we could attend Mass with a view on to the main sanctuary

16 November Bishop McKinney came to meet Dear Mother and a group of our Sisters together with those already at Bulwell. He was glad to hear everyone was happy about the merger and approved of the plans for the new chapel off the public church. He announced that from now on we would no longer be Hawarden or Bulwell Sisters but instead Sisters of the Marian House of the Holy Spirit. He saw right over the house, chaos and all, and after he had gone the Sisters had lollipops to celebrate!

17 November We worked hard and after three days had cleared one attic and two other rooms, and came back to Hawarden with a number of sacks of throw-outs for the bonfire!

21 November Our newsletters were posted this morning, and we have also told the 500 ‘Little Hearts’ who are linked with us on the internet about the move, so we have been inundated with messages of good will from all our friends.

2 December Our Advent Carol Service this evening included an amusing ‘Robin Hood’ sequence as part of the service, with England’s most famous folk-hero learning that there is more to poverty than robbing the rich to give to the poor, and eventually being encouraged by a vision of Our Lady to become a Franciscan! Sr Pia starred as Friar Tuck, padded with pillows fore and aft to become an all-round friar! Sr Seraphina played a long medley of carols at the end, after which we distributed much-appreciated homemade mince pies to the congregation!

6 December: St Nicholas For the feast of St Nicholas Sr Elizabeth showed us a story she had written illustrated by her own pictures about a boy in Sherwood Forest, rescued by St Nicholas from a snowstorm together with his four sheep, and returned to his parents. As the Saint’s next stop was to be TMD, she showed a selection of delightful pictures she had drawn of each of us going about some of our characteristic tasks.

9 December We had a couple of inches of snow which thawed to some extent but went on for much of the day. Today was a case of ‘all hands on deck’ getting out the component parts of our large 32-scene TMD crib, which we are putting up for our last Christmas here. Because of its complexity, we have used a crib with just a few larger figures for the past couple of years.

10 December: Sunday It snowed again last night so we woke to a white world, and Fr Roy came into the chapel very excited as it was his first experience of proper snow since he came to these parts four years ago. During collation we saw a series of videoclips on Kerala in India, from where Fr Roy, Sr Lilly, and a number of our friends, old and new, come.

13 December Our cloister is in a state of creative confusion, full of all the boxes of Christmas things- from the many-scened choir crib to articles from multitudinous lesser ones, as well as our full assortment of Christmas lights and decorations!

16 December The rescript from Rome, giving us permission to close our TMD monastery arrived in the post yesterday.

22 December We were delighted to hear from Sister Lilly that she had passed the English tests, including two parts with distinction, needed for the renewal of her visa.

The children from the Penarlag School came today to sing us carols.

24 December Before dinner we went round the house singing carols and blessing every crib in sight, including the small ones on the cloister windows. This year we had our “shepherds’ Mass’ early, making music in honour of the Infant King. It was a poignant time, recalling our happy memories of Christmases past here at TMD, and playing the music of the Transeamus which had featured in so many of them.

Fr Roy celebrated the Christmas Night Mass for us at 6 pm, after which there was some time with quiet Exposition before we went to bed to be woken by the singing of the angels in the morning.

30 December This evening we watched a series of videoclips collected by Sr Bakhita from Britain’s Got Talent, and America’s Got Talent, after which we ourselves voted for those we thought should be winners. All good fun.

31 December Our New Year Vigil comprised meditations on the building of the Temple - of God’s plan for His people through all of salvation history. It culminated in the vision of the new Jerusalem at the end of time, and Our Lady as the type of the Church holding out her newborn Son to the world.



2 January Today Sr Ruth read us excerpts from the 1995 annals during dinner, and during collation she gave us a slide presentation with TMD pictures from that year. We are enjoying going down ‘memory lane’ together

7 January: Epiphany This afternoon we gathered in the infirmary where we had been invited to sing carols with the Sisters there. They played music on the omnichord, mouth organ and recorders, while we accompanied them with percussion instruments, the carols being interspersed with readings. A great time was had by all in the colourful homely surroundings.

18 January A major day of activity sorting out all the decorations and cribs we had taken down, as well as sorting out some of the art cupboards upstairs, and having a bonfire.

27 January Today a group of a dozen or so young people from Flint, preparing for confirmation came for some spiritual input. Our own Sisters treated them to a treasure hunt with clues in the chapel, shrine and dining hall and in the afternoon we had a ‘Praise and worship’ session with them,.

Dear Mother returned from Bulwell after meeting the architect about the chapel alterations. There had been some hope of moving before Easter but that is no longer possible.

15 February Several Sisters have been turning out our dressing up department and having a bonfire - a holocaust which brought back many memories of our past theatricals over the years.

17 February Dear Mother spent some time at Bulwell helping Sr Mercy sort through some of the things she had turned out. We have been told that the necessary alterations at Marian House are likely to take two months.

20 February Sister Lilly went back to India today to apply from there for her new visa.

2 March Only eleven people came to our craft day, mostly because of the bitter weather with more forecast, but it was still a happy time all round.

4 - 6 March We spent these three days in retreat watching a series of excellent videos produced by CaFE (Catholic Faith Exploration) on The Joy of the Gospel.

7 March Fr Paul came from Chester today to give his final fascinating talk on the cultural background to the English Reformation.

10 March . Sr Francis who had been on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this past week arrived home at Bulwell at 3 a.m. yesterday morning glowing with happiness after her wonderful time there.

29 March: Maundy Thursday We had a special celebration at our midday meal. It comprised elements of both the Seder meal and our meal commemorating our covenant with Lady Poverty, thanking God for His protection through the long years of our journeying together and looking forward in trust to ‘next year in Jerusalem’ (or rather the Marian House of the Holy Spirit to which he has called us).

13 April Today our friends David and Jonathan took Marianne to the small flat she is moving into in Derby, so that she could be there when the new furniture she had ordered was delivered. The weather here continues largely wet.

14 April: We celebrated Sister’s Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee today two months early because of the uncertainties of our coming move. Sr Juliana and our beloved Mother Francesca had worked a lovely Franciscan vestment for the occasion, and Fr Roy was thrilled to be the first to wear it. Later we admired her jubilee presents, among them a variety of colourful knitted and crochet items, from jumpers and socks to full-scale blankets. There were also two books of pictures entitled From Notting Hill to Nottingham, covering many of the main events in our own lives and the lives of the Sisters who have gone before us in the past 160 years since the foundation of our motherhouse. Sr Amata and Sr Lourdes had decorated the refectory with homemade Franciscan posters and colourful flower arrangements.

19 April This morning Sr Juliana treated us to a slide presentation on modern art. She spoke of the work of Sr Elizabeth’s father, a subjectivist painter in Ireland in the 1940’s, and of that of a number of 21st century artists from diverse backgrounds. We were then each given time to devise or paint a logo for the Marian House of the Holy Spirit, and afterwards enjoyed seeing each other’s works with reflections on what lay behind them.

21 April This morning we gathered in Hobbiton for a 3-part slide presentation by Sr Bakhita, entitled Untying the Notts of Nottingham.The first dealt with the diocese of Nottingham itself and the main places within it. Then followed an account of the Anglo-Saxon saints from that area, from St Paulinus, and Saint Guthlac to Saint Hugh of Lincoln. The next part was on the Reformation martyrs of the diocese, and the third about Blessed Cyprian Tansi, the Ibo priest from Nigeria who became a monk at the Cistercian Abbey of Parkminster in the 1940s and died in the 1950s. We heard tapes of an interview with Cardinal Arinze, who had been baptised by him as a boy, and had known him personally. Then followed a videoclip of Bishop Patrick McKinney talking simply about Exposition, after which we ended the day with a quiet time of our own before the Blessed Sacrament.

25 April Sr Elizabeth has painted each of us a nameplate for our cell doors for when we move to Marian House. Dear Mother showed us one of the bookstalls we will have in choir to go with our present chairs. Custom-made ones would have cost £1000 apiece, so instead we have got sturdy ones with two shelves made from the wood of apple crates at £20 each. Saints Francis and Clare must be rejoicing!

We were glad to hear that Sr Clare is now safely back from Kenya, where she had to go to renew her passport under the new government there, and that Sr Lilly has at long last acquired her British visa, so should also be returning soon.

29 April This afternoon at 3 p.m. we recited the rosary in choir entrusting the British Isles to Our Lady’s protection, in union with all those praying for the same intention on the shores of our country at the same time today. In the evening Fr Paul came with half a dozen students from Chester University for an hour of praise and worship in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

1 May All the Sisters at Bulwell (including seven from Hawarden) had a busy day, emptying and moving cupboards out of rooms scheduled to become the infirmary, and stacking their contents elsewhere. They also finished sorting the library and tying the books to be kept, which will be taken up two flights of narrow stairs to the garret to keep them free of the brick dust.

4 May Bishop Joseph Shrampickal, celebrated Mass at Bulwell in the Syro-Malabar rite, a wonderful experience, with those from Kerala in the congregation singing the lovely chant with joyful enthusiasm and plenty of lay participation. In the morning our friend John Jennings arrived bringing things from Hawarden in his van and checked over the gutters for us.

7 May In the evening we had a service entrusting the rebuilding of Marian House to St Joseph, and placing his statue in a place of honour in front of the altar. We will be saying a prayer to him for our intentions after Vespers each day.

17 May Our Sisters at Bulwell found a goodly supply of first Communion commemoration mugs in their tidying out. Today Dear Mother with several Hawarden Sisters went there with fudge Sr Pia had made, to decorate and fill them as presents for the first communicants in the parish, whose big day is tomorrow.

19 May In the evening we had our own Pentecost Vigil, comprising items from everyone present. Sr Lourdes’ presentation was a scene showing the Holy Spirit hovering over TMD, and then with His breath moving and transforming it to the Marian House of the Holy Spirit - which led to appreciative applause from the congregation!

21 May: Our Lady, Mother of the Church Dear Mother and Sr Agatha left this afternoon for a series of conferences on the contemplative life today.(Later they shared the input from these talks with the Sisters both at Hawarden and Bulwell.)

14 June Fr John and his friend Kieran arrived from Bulwell with a lorry. With help from Dear Mother and several Sisters, and our good friend Tony, they loaded it expertly with beds, old cell units, boxes of Christmas decorations and all other manner of things, till there was not an inch of space left. The lorry was unloaded in haste at Bulwell and returned to its owners in time, and our Sisters worked till late carrying everything up to the garret.

30 June: Auction Day! Our amateur auction today of furniture and all manner of other items we are not taking to Bulwell was a unique event and went off famously: David was ideal as auctioneer, making sure everyone saw each item properly as it was auctioned, and suggesting possible uses for more abstruse objects. Although he did not rush it, he still managed to auction all 300 items in less than seven hours!

2 July Today we had a fish-and-chip dinner as a treat, and later we were read for the last time the traditional accounts in rhyme of the founding of the Notting Hill community in 1857, and of our own here in Wales in 1928.

7 July This evening the parishioners of the Sacred Heart Church came for a farewell Mass which Fr Roy concelebrated with Fr Abraham. Fr Roy announced at the end of the Mass that he himself will be leaving Hawarden for Birmingham on 19 July. After the Mass the parishioners presented Dear Mother with a picture of themselves with Fr Roy.

10 July In Hawarden we are continuing to pack in earnest. We are gradually clearing and packing the contents of the large kitchen cupboard. It is due to be dismantled and moved to Marian House later this month. Sr Elizabeth has been cleaning and packing the garden tools worth taking.

In Bulwell the Sisters finished sorting out the contents of the storeroom and stored them on the wire racks we had moved out to the cloister.

15 July This evening the Sisters who had been at Marian House this past week showed us photos of their work in cleaning and redecorating the storeroom and kitchen, as well as of the work they had begun in the upstairs novitiate, which is to be converted into the sewing room.

23 July Fr Sebastian and Br. Ambrose came from Cardiff in a van to collect items for their Oratory. They took our chairs from the chapter room and various other items, including our winemaking equipment! Work here continues apace, tying the books we are keeping from the chapter room library into bundles to go to Marian House.

At Marian House the man turned up to move the boiler there from the refectory to the laundry. Deo gratias - it is the first piece of scheduled work there by outsiders that has at last got underway! Our own redecorating work there is making great progress!

25 July Today our large kitchen cupboard here at Hawarden was dismantled, to be taken to Marian House tomorrow. We are making do with all our crockery and kitchenware laid out on tables in the cloister. Sr Clare has now moved her materials into the new sewing room there, which has been named Santa Anna’s. Fr John came and blessed it well and truly, and a cake was produced to celebrate the occasion.

31 July Fr Paul Shaw, who has been celebrating our conventual Mass here on Tuesdays, had arranged a farewell Mass for us at St Werburgh’s, his parish church in Chester, and this evening ten of us attended. A convoy of cars collected us at 6.45, and we arrived some time before Mass. Fr Paul asked if two of us could read at the Mass and spoke of our having to ascend a pulpit to read. We thought he was joking both about the height of the pulpit and his ‘army’ of altar servers, but both turned out to be realities! About 120 people were present, including friends from Flint, and Hawarden as well as those in Chester, and it was a memorable and blessed occasion all round. Dear Mother distributed copies of Snapshot Memories, a CD we have made with 200 photo clippings of our community over its past 90 years in Wales, a memento for our dear friends who have been so much part of our life here at Hawarden.

3 August A hectic day. Fr John and his friends, Steve and Ruth, arrived about 1 pm. with two large removal vans. We helped them load all the items stored ready for them, largely furniture and kitchen glassware and crockery. Dear Mother, Sr Bakhita and Sr Anežka were up till 9.45 pm unloading the lorries.

4 August A couple of men came to survey the property for the prospective buyers, taking photos etc and clearly marking specific points on the ground with yellow paint.

6 August Dear Mother says we are now aiming to move on 8 September, the Feast of the Birthday of Our Lady.

9 August Sr Bakhita and Sr Anežka worked very hard moving cupboards and redecorating the former sewing room. One end of it is to be named The Honeypot (from its colouring!) and the other Santa Marta. Dear Mother met the plumber and the electrician who is to see to the lift, and with Sr Lilly’s help moved everything back in an orderly manner to the storeroom.

13 August The cemetery people came today and started exhuming the remains of our Sisters for transfer to Bulwell. The two men worked with great respect, and we shared some recollections with them of the individual Sisters whom we had known personally and who had been so much part of our own lives for many years.

20 August Dear Mother left with Sr Pia for Marian House early this morning. She is to meet some of the building team there and hopes to do some cleaning. Sr Mercy has kindly agreed to give up her vegetable plot which adjoins the new cemetery, as the latter requires more land than we had first estimated.

25 August: St Louis IX Our final farewell Mass today took place here midday. Fr Sebastian, who came up from Cardiff was the main celebrant. He also collected some cupboards he had asked for, and saw over the house for old times’ sake. Fr Fretch, preached splendidly on the theme of the Gospel - love of God and neighbour, and spoke of God’s love which our community had received in the 90 years of its existence in Wales, and which we had shared with those who came in contact with us. He also spoke of the love we in our turn had received from them over the years, and of our moving on in love of God and obedience to His holy will for us at this point in our history. At the offertory we all went forward and renewed our commitment to the Lord through our holy vows, particularly fitting today as it is Dear Mother’s profession anniversary. We all waved small evergreen branches as we sang My song is love unknown, the Saviour’s love to me, in memory of St Clare who received her blessed palm on Palm Sunday, before leaving her home that evening to follow the Lord in the gospel way in the spirit of St Francis.

26 August: Sunday A wet bank holiday weekend! Today we enjoyed watching videoclip coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families, which some of our friends attended.

29 August John and Nigel, who had exhumed the mortal remains of our departed Sisters, reinterred them today at Marian House. For all those present it was an immensely moving experience. Dear Mother said that when the hearses with the coffins turned in at the monastery gates it felt as if a host of angels were coming into the grounds and her heart started singing for joy. Those of us still at Hawarden had a service at the same time in union with them and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. In both places there was an intense awareness of the loving bond between us at Tŷ Mam Duw, those already at Bulwell, and the Sisters who have lived out their lives to the end as Poor Clares before us, as we look forward to our new future together. We now invoke them as our ‘18 Holy Helpers’, and trust they will keep praying for our transition to Marian House to go as smoothly as possible.

31 August Our dear Marianne, who has lived here with us for the past 34 years, left for her new home in Derby. After the conventual Mass celebrated by Fr Abraham she went round the choir hugging and kissing each of us goodbye - a moving farewell after 34 years under the same roof as us, sharing our joys and sorrows as a community.

5 September Unfortunately the men installing the lift at Marian House found that there was not concrete under the floor as they had anticipated, only earth, so that will mean some delay. However our own Sisters worked hard and we now have a cell ready for each of us complete with bed.

6 September Today Dear Mother and several Sisters filled the skip we had ordered with metal objects and assorted items we had thrown out, and ordered another skip for tomorrow.

7 September Life was chaotic here at Hawarden, with our dear friend Tony removing the large choir grille single-handed, a much harder task than first anticipated. Other people came to take doors they had bought, and most of us were sorting and packing in the cloister, with an impressive bonfire of rubbish and old rickety furniture blazing in the garden.

11 September Another chaotic day. People came to take the kiln and Fr John came with his friends with two large vans, bringing Sr Lilly and Dear Mother to help load them for Marian House.

13 September We have all sorted out our many music and hymn books, as we only need a couple of them for Bulwell, and from tomorrow on will not be singing at Mass or for the Divine Office.

In the evening a lady professor came with a colleague and four earnest young people to watch for bats (possibly equally interested in spotting a nun or two in her natural habitat)! They set up infrared cameras at various points in the garden and seated themselves in various places for several hours including the damp and cold of the now rather overgrown cloister garden. They only saw two bats, and decided they were merely visitors to the property.

We have sold the pews in our extern chapel to a friend. He collected them while we were at Vespers, and we simply continued singing the Magnificat as they vanished out the front door! We had a real ‘Indian summer’ earlier this month. Some of us who had sent our blankets and warmer clothing on to Marian House in the expectation of an imminent move are now regretting it! People have come to collect some garden statues, doors, the wooden tiles from the refectory floor, the pottery kiln, garden implements etc, and we have filled several skips with ancient beds, tools and other items we’re not taking. Cupboards, tables and chairs continue to disappear in the direction of Bulwell, and we are getting quite expert at making do with what remains.

16 September: Sunday Seven of us went by minibus to Bulwell this morning with Dear Mother for Fr John’s ‘fun-day’ at the Bulwell parish. After the Mass at which about 300 people were present there was dinner in the parish hall, together with tents outdoors where people could sit. Kieran played music, and there was a bouncy castle for the children who took great delight in it, together with face painting. Sr Anežka ended up adorned with a rainbow, and several of us went in for some token glitter. We spoke to a good many of the people there, some of whom thought we had already arrived permanently. and others who had not heard of our coming, as well as a few who were completely unaware there were Sisters already in the monastery. We returned to our community room for recreation with the other Sisters and Sr Mercy introduced us to two budgies, a recent gift from a friend.

5 October Dear Mother and her companions returned midday from Marian House. Life there is chaotic at the moment, with everything covered in brick dust, even the books we had moved up to the garret to keep them dust-free! The heating has been turned off because of alterations to the system and the place is very cold, with most of the downstairs doors removed for widening. Our Sisters had been virtually living in the kitchen, till Dear Mother found enough chairs and trolleys to establish a communal corner in the former refectory where they could gather out of the workmen’s way.

9 October Our friend Tony has been taking some of the bookshelves off the chapter room wall to help house the books we are taking to Bulwell.

10 October On her way to Marian House Dear Mother stopped to see Marianne at Derby, where she is now very happily settled in her new flat and partakes in the various community activities. Sr Francis and Sr Lilly later went with Sr Clare for her presentation by the lady Sheriff of Nottingham with her British Citizenship. It was a happy occasion and there was a celebration back at Marian House in the newly redecorated Santa Chiara’s.

12 October In the afternoon we had a stream of unexpected callers bringing welcome groceries, especially from local parishes, as word seems to have gone round that we are still at Hawarden. We thank God for our many good friends.

19 October We had people this morning taking some of the railing that was round the cemetery here. Back at Marian House, things are going more smoothly, with a competent plumber settling the infirmary. Sr Bakhita and Sr Anežka have been working very hard when the men are not there, and were up till 1 a.m. on two nights painting the infirmary walls. As the rooms they do are all ending up with their own individual colour scheme, the result is very bright and cheerful. Sr Mercy has been valiantly helping them by painting the radiators. It is still icy cold there with the heating off.

We have heard of the death earlier this month of our old friend, Mr Fogarty, who designed our chapel here at Tŷ Mam Duw. May he rest in peace.

24 October It had been hoped that the contract for the sale of our property here at Hawarden would be signed today by all concerned, but there has been another technical hitch, which is disappointing to say the least.

30 October After making little progress at Marian House last week, the workmen have now turned up in force, and it is hoped that the heating system there will be functioning again by tomorrow, after having been off for over a month.

3 November Dear Mother told us that the alterations at Bulwell are proceeding rather erratically, and that after the heating had been on for two hours there was flooding in two areas from the radiators. This has now been put to rights.

7 November News came through this afternoon, just as Dear Mother and her redecorating companions were leaving for Marian House, that the purchasers have at long last signed the contract for the buying of the Hawarden property. Dear Mother rang the cloister bell excitedly to gather us and tell us the good news.

We also heard from Sr Lilly that a plethora of plumbers had turned up at Marian House today. She wasn’t sure what they were doing, but they were very busy doing it, which bodes well for setting a definite date soon for our arrival there in due course.

10 November Dear Mother returned from Marian House, where she had talked the situation over with the builder, and we are now definitely set to move by the end of this month. Deo gratias.

To be continued in our next year’s newsletter, which should contain news of our settling in to our new surroundings! But come rain, come shine, we keep smiling, and continue to give glory to God for His mercy and goodness to all His children. Meanwhile we keep you and all our friends, old and new, far and near, enfolded in our hearts and prayers before Him in our daily round of prayer and praise.

With loving prayers for a blessed Christmas and a grace-filled 2019,

your little Sisters at the Marian House of the Holy Spirit

* * * * * *

All mail is now being directed to our new address:

Poor Clare Colettines

Marian House of the Holy Spirit

Brooklyn Road




Tel. 0115 9278489

Website www.marianhouseoftheholyspiritpcc.org

email community@marianhouseoftheholyspiritpcc.org

N.B. Any postal orders or cheques sent to us now need to be made out to Poor Clare Colettines as the bank will not accept any other wording.





If Pentecost is the ‘birthday’ of the Church then perhaps we can call this novena  a ‘pregnancy’ not of 9 months but just 9 days.


Pregnancy is a time for being carried, for hopefully receiving what you need to survive and a forming of closeness in the first relationship. Pregnancy is also a time of waiting and growth.

So our ‘spiritual’ pregnancy begins, our souls carried in the ‘womb’ of the Trinity, we wait to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit which will strengthen the bond of our knowing and intimacy with God.

When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.  (Acts 2:1-4)  




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.




We sometimes need courage to take the path that God has marked out for us. We can have a great desire to do good but we still need fortitude to carry it out.

Life can sometimes be a bit like one of those challenging army assault courses. We can get stuck in the mud, we can approach an obstacle in the wrong way and make a mess of it, or we can simply run out of strength.


St Paul says in the letter to the Philippians that he can do anything.

Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:13).


And just in case you’ve missed out on his story he summarises his army assault course experiences in the letter to the Corinthians.

I’ve worked much harder, been jailed more often, beaten up more times than I can count, and at death’s door time after time. I’ve been flogged five times with the Jews’ thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I’ve been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I’ve had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I’ve been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I’ve known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.

I hope you’ve never been shipwrecked or betrayed by your friends.

Perhaps our desire to help our neighbour got shipwrecked because we wanted to put our feet up instead? Or maybe our desire to live in truth was betrayed by a little white lie because we didn’t want to look stupid?

The gift of fortitude helps us to be strong in the Lord. Lets ask the Lord to help us walk the straight path into his heart.




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.




holy-spirit-multicoloured .png

St Francis was one of life’s high fliers, he was aiming for the greatest glory and young man could wish for in his time, he wanted to be a big brave knight. Suddenly ‘thwack’ he threw it all up and took up with Lady Poverty, he had fallen in love. God had showed him the vanity and emptiness of earthly things. He fell in love with his Lady because she led him to God.


St Francis received the gift of knowledge. It helps us to see what is empty and vain in our lives and what is of God.

The gift of knowledge helps us to see that it’s better to have a friend who is there to listen to you when you’re having a crisis and who is genuinely concerned about you - than having 2k followers on facebook who don’t really know you at all.

The gift of knowledge reveals intuitively to us the meaning of the different events of our lives.God has a plan for each one of us, just as he had for St Francis.

The gift of knowledge helps us to see what that plan is, each day and to trust in that plan. 




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.





After living with someone, a spouse, a sibling or in our case a sister in the community, for 20 years plus, we are perhaps tempted to say we know all there is to know about this person.


But in my experience we can still be very surprised!!!! 

In the relationships we value we never stop seeking to understand them, including God.

We can read the same scripture passages over and over again. Most of us would consider the parable of the Good Samaritan like an old friend that we know so well.

And yet suddenly we see something new that we’ve not seen before - it strikes a chord within us. Like the disciples on the way to Emmaus we feel our hearts burning within us. Perhaps because it speaks to us in the place we are at in this present moment.

When the Holy Spirit gives us this understanding He gives us a little of God Himself, we become more united with Him in love.We will always be limited in our understanding of the truths of the faith. We can only talk about the Trinity using earthly language - and however we describe the Trinity we are always left feeling that our description is a bit inadequate - we need heavenly language to do the job properly!! Yet we understand very clearly, I think, that the Trinity and therefore God has a unity beyond anything we experience on earth, and that this unity is love.

The gift of understanding is one of the gifts of contemplation. The more we ‘listen’ to scripture, to the priest’s homily, to our own spiritual reading, alongside what is happening in our own personal life and in the world around us, the more we come to trust in God, and in his justice mercy and love.




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.




If we truly love someone we will go out of our way to make them happy and we love to be with them as much as possible.

The gift of the fear of the Lord helps us to keep close to God and to be pleasing to him. 


Sin is anything which separates us from the loving embrace of God. 


Sometimes we find it quite easy to avoid temptation to sin. We can be astonished occasionally by how patient we may be in a difficult situation which on another day would have caused us to lose our temper for instance. 

Perhaps we had been showered with the gift of the fear of the Lord.

The holier we became the more we develop a dislike for sin. The stories of many saints show us that they lose sleep over the tiniest of sins. If only we could be as good as them!

John the Simple was so determined not to fall into temptation that he followed St Francis around and imitated him, even to the point of sneezing if he sneezed.

The fear of the Lord brings about in us a reverence for all that is sacred. It brings to mind St Francis who constantly preached to his brothers about the respect they should offer the priest because he had held the Holy Eucharist in his hands at the altar.

St Paul in his Letter to the Colossians tells us to set our minds on things that are above. 




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.




We very fond of organising our own lives, choosing our own friends, making our own decisions


There’s a time for speaking and a time for listening. We’ve all been in that situation where someone takes the floor and doesn’t let anyone get in edgeways, oblivious of those around them. We’ve all been grateful to that person who spent time with us just quietly listening.


There’s a time of sitting tight, to stay in the security of the same routine, there’s a time for change, for the courage to move on. We’ve all met someone who’s dithers; seemingly constantly discontent but not having the courage to move forward. We’ve all been perhaps envious of someone who’s had the courage to change direction in their lives to the good.

Without this gift of divine counsel we remain trapped in our own limited way of thinking, our own ambitions, our own way of doing things, maybe even our own prejudices.

This gift gives us the freedom to act with dignity and courage, confident that we are in God’s hands. 

At times the gift of counsel comes to us through others, sometimes God enlightens us to the right way to speak, behave or way to go. Its like looking into the divine mind of God to discover the proper thing to do or say.

Even the saints asked for counsel. St Francis couldn’t decide whether he should continue a life of preaching travelling to different places or whether he should take up a life of solitary prayer in a hermitage. Two such differing options. He didn’t just take the one he fancied! He asked St Clare and one of the brothers to pray. They came to the same conclusion - St Francis was to keep on walking, which he did! They helped bring light to Francis’ heart with the gift of counsel.




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.





We’ve already spent time thinking about the gifts of knowledge and understanding - there is a third gift related to the mind; the gift of wisdom.


The gift of wisdom doesn’t pinpoint or focus on a particular event in our life, a particular relationship or a particular piece of scripture - it invites us to look through God’s eyes and from that vantage point see the whole perspective.

We see through the eyes of the Beloved, with the eyes of God, we see things in a divine and holy manner.

The gift of wisdom is closely related to charity because it stems from God who is all love and leads back to God who is all love.

The gift of wisdom draws us to become more Christ like.

St Francis was so imbued with this gift that it has often been said that of all the saints he was the most like Christ himself. 

Near the end of his life, as we know, Francis received the stigmata. His love for Christ had brought him to the point where he lived as Christ lived, and shared in his suffering. This was not a gift of cold, painful, excruciating suffering but a gift of intense divine love. They were the wounds of divine love that saved the world from death. 

St Francis desired to share in that suffering because of his love for Christ, because of the love he had received from Christ.

We are not all called to carry the wounds of Christ in our own bodies, but we are all called to be more Christ-like. What a great gift to receive just a little of the wisdom St Francis received, that we may understand and experience that transforming love that God has for us and to participate in that love.




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.





We belong to God, first and foremost, our relationship with God is the most important, it is the relationship which gives our lives meaning. 


The gift called piety helps us to nurture that incredible bond with God, He is our Father and we are his children. He is constantly drawing  us to him and inviting us to enter into communion.

It is with confidence in that communion that we come to God freely in love, that we enter into prayer and praise with a joyful spirit.  

It is with our confidence in that communion and love that we are able to love others with the love that we have already received from God. 

St Francis was given this gift of piety in superabundance when he found himself embracing a leper, Francis had, until this point, rigorously avoided lepers, he couldn’t bear to be near them. Oh, and what a gift: when he embraced the leper, not only did his fears dissolve, but he experienced a profound sweetness. He then understood he had an obligation to love all whom God had created even those of whom we may feel afraid or are repulsed by. 

St Francis could not have loved this leper as he did without loving God first. The gift of piety puts our relationships in right order and makes them a source of glory and honour to God.

Let us ask the Lord that everything we do today may be for his glory. Praise God by your life.




Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.




We have journeyed through the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit accepting the invitation to ponder on what our soul needs to live a divine life to the full.

We are offered the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit at confirmation, but they can lie dormant within us if we fail to nurture them.

We need to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit never forces the gifts upon us, the Holy Spirit is a gentle Spirit who waits to be invited into our hearts and souls.


The Holy Spirit penetrates every aspect of our being, our thoughts, our words, our actions, our decisions, our priorities…..

The Holy Spirit can transform us, giving us 


Certainty, Confidence, Joy, Peace, Security

Allowing us to become the loved child in the arms of an immensely awesome Father. 

The gift of the Spirit allows us to become powerful witnesses to this Love.

Pentecost is the ‘birthday’ of the Church and it’s our birthday. The Lord has given us 7 gifts to choose from. Which box would you like to open today?

Remember, inside this box is something precious that will change your life. You will never be the same again, when you unwrap your gift it may rise out of it’s packaging like a song of fragrance and light, or it may sock you on the jaw like a Jack-in-the-box! 





Lord, I give you all the space in my heart, in my life, in my future, so that you can give me your gifts.

Help me to empty myself each day, each hour, so that there can be more of your Spirit, in my life.

Thank you.





IN MANUS TUAS                


1. Matthew 19:21-22 The rich young man.

Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

Surrendering like every aspect of the Christian life is a journey. The rich young man turned up at what he thought was the finishing post with all his boxes ticked, done that, done that, that’s done. Great, says Jesus, now sell all you’ve worked for and give it to the poor. 


There’s a subtle shift from being asked to live an honourable, comfortable life that everyone respects to doing something rather reckless!!!


He couldn’t continue the journey, he went back the way he had come. Did he even hear about the treasure in heaven?

Jesus’ journey to Calvary, to the tomb, through to the Resurrection was a journey of surrender. 

Surrendering can sometimes be a dying to the familiar, to what you’re happy with, to what you’re good at, even or comfortable with - in order to find the new.

We have to let go of the treasure of our own lives to find the treasure in our life with Jesus. 




IN MANUS TUAS                 


2. Mark 12:43-44  The poor widow.

And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”

Everything she had. Wow, now that is surrender.



There’s a yearning perhaps to know what happened next. Was she rewarded for her generosity, did a rich widower meet her at the bottom of the street and whisk her off into a new life of wedded bliss or did she get home and find the neighbours had popped in with a week’s worth of food for the freezer? But wait, we’re missing the point.

Everything she had, all she had to live on, wow, now that is surrender, All she had left was God. She had all left. She was literally in God’s hands.

Let’s not be like that basketball spinning on top of the finger, showing off our worth, let’s be firmly grasped in His hands so that He can ‘shoot’ us into the ‘basket’ of his heart.



IN MANUS TUAS                 


3. Matthew 18: 21-22 Forgiveness

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.



It’s easier to forgive someone who has acknowledged their sin and is standing contritely and humbly before us asking for forgiveness. It satisfies, the unsettling revenge inside of us. It shows us that the person standing before us has done their bit of suffering too. The true surrender is getting to the point of forgiveness before that person turns up to apologise and instead of settling our inner revenge we find ourselves instead wanting to reach out to them.

It’s harder to forgive someone who not only doesn’t acknowledge their sin but as we experience it, regularly causes us pain or distress. Jesus understood this one only too well when he topped Peter’s generosity of 7 with 77. The true surrender is to chalk them up, not with an increasing sense of injustice or anger even, but with a share in the supreme generosity of Jesus. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

Choose to forgive. Choose to reach out and be generous. Choose to surrender.



IN MANUS TUAS                


4. Mark 14:64-65 The condemnation of Jesus.



You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Mark describes the condemnation of the Sanhedrin and the mockery that follows. This is just the beginning of the painful journey to Calvary.

What is a more usual reaction to such injustice, being condemned for something you are not guilty of, being condemned for who you are and being physically abused. We might expect an attempt at defence, a lot of anger and noise, bewilderment and distress. But we are met with Jesus’ silence. This is not the paralysing silence of someone in the throes of terror or fear or the arrogant silence of a superior being. This is the silence of free surrender. This is the silence of the Beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased.

We too can experience, being misunderstood, our opinions and ideas not being valued, being ignored, being put down, being wrongly accused, not being accepted for who we are, being intimidated, being misjudged, being bullied - the list gets longer - maybe we even caused them to be so for others. 

These are all a condemnation of death, for the dignity of a person - of a beloved child of God. We can ‘suffer them in silence’. Yes, so long as our silence is not full of resentment. The silence of Jesus was a silence of peace and dignity.

Jesus was seeking not to conquer the Sanhedrin but the death that resulted from their actions. We can share in that victory over death if we truly understand our dignity as the beloved children of God.



IN MANUS TUAS                 


5. John 13:8 Washing of the feet

Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in me.”


This event in the life of Jesus touches at the core of the Christian life - Jesus washing the disciples feet immediately speaks of humility - the All powerful, mighty God choosing as man to carry out the action of a slave - washing away the dirt. That’s the physical dirt on the bottom of the disciples feet - but he also washes away the dirt in our souls as the suffering servant on the cross.


He tells Peter he can have no share in the life of the resurrection if he does not accept his role of service, of slave, of servant to humanity. Our God is a God of surrender. 

We share in that surrendering every time we help to wash away the dirt of sin in the lives of others by our example of humble service.

Let us surrender, let us serve. Let us surrender. Let us imitate him, so as to be like him.



IN MANUS TUAS