Sr Ruth reports:

Our course on 'Faith and the Arts' during the first week in August here was wonderful with a delightful group of enthusiastic, young professional people who joined in everything.

 Thinking Faith  Remember skimming?

We watched the film 'Babette’s Feast' on Sunday night and Sr Margaret gave fascinating input on the story of ‘Babette’s Feast' and the philosopher Kierkegaard the next day. This motivated us all to think about the meaning of this poignant yet inspiring story by Isak Dinesen with its relevance to our lives and experience of faith. Discussions were ensuing long into the day!

The week also included input on the auto-biographical book ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ from Fr Dixie. We had a lecture on ‘Icons’ from Fr Martin Ganeri and ‘Faith in Pre-Raphaelite Art’ from Rosemary Mitchell. Maria Hall spoke on ‘Music in the Catholic Tradition’.

 Gaëtan and friend!  Coniston Walk

One of the architects of our chapel, Jonathon Pritchard, gave an animated talk as to how the present chapel at Boarbank was re-created to be open to the needs of both visitors and the nursing home in the 1990s. His enthusiasm for the project remains undimmed. He brought to life the spiritual and practical achievements of the construction of our devotional places, including a commentary on our beautiful oratory which was created in 1986 by architects Benson and Forsyth in honour of the 1600th anniversary of the conversion of Augustine.

There is a wonderful BBC programme about the Oratory made in 1991. It lasts about 10 minutes but is well worth taking the time to watch. CLICK HERE for the link.

 Coniston Old Man walk  Thinking Faith meal out

 Our group enjoyed a cheerful pub supper in Cartmel on Wednesday night and a walk near Coniston or up Coniston Old Man on Thursday.

Options for Thursday also included a boat trip with a visit to Brantwood House, home of John Ruskin.

Boat Trip on Coniston Thinking Faith

On Friday, we had an inspiring expedition to a Tudor house in Preston where Edmund Arrowsmith, one of the Lancaster martyrs, celebrated his last Mass before capture. Our friend Maria Hall grew up there and lives there still. The house is curious by our standards with low ceilings and a tree supporting the kitchen. For Maria, it has the significance both of its spiritual import and her childhood memories. The small upstairs chapel still resonates with the closeted atmosphere of devotion, fear and sacrifice that surrounded Arrowsmith’s last Mass. Fr Martin celebrated Mass there and spoke about the martyr.

Group outside Edmund Arrowsmith house Edmund Arrowsmith Mass Room painting

In conclusion, the group and members of the Community enjoyed a buffet supper and social evening that night. It was enlivened by some of the music the informal choir, ably coached by Maria, had been practising during the week.