Health and Salvation week at Boarbank, 9th - 14th January 2017

Theme: Healthcare & Time

Tea & Cake

 Just after supper on the Monday we all got together for a quick opening session of introducing each other.

As usual a cordial atmosphere prevailed and the foundations were laid for a good week of sharing ideas, discussion, and enjoying the challenging talks from our invited speakers.

After Compline Sr Agatha, who had been interviewed about her new book on the previous Saturday Radio 2 by Graham Norton, gave us some reflections and thoughts on the experience in her usual witty style. 
You can listen to her interview with Graham Norton (sorry, that should read, Graham Norton’s interview with Sr Agatha) here…

Conversations and catchings up continued around the warmth of the fireside, definitely an experience not to be missed.
At the fireside
On Tuesday morning we had a small change to the usual routine, when Sr Eileen proposed that we should join the Community for Morning prayer at 8am.
This proved to be a great success, with the combined voices rising in the chapel in praise, and making us all feel as one in the Lord.
What a way to start the day.
Fr Peter Rosser
Fr Peter Rosser gave the first talk on his personal reflections on his times in hospital.
33 days in 72 years. Not a great deal of hospital time he thought, but lots of outpatient appointments, waiting in corridors etc.
All this waiting is lost time creating disruption of life but ‘They also serve who only stand and wait’
Fr Peter talked about his attitude before his operation/heart attack i.e. that of immortality,
and after - constantly aware but thankful.
He left us with a quote at the end “I will live the present moment filling it to the brim with love”.
After coffee, Dr Chris Harrison, a GP and university lecturer( and long standing Boarbank friend) talked to us about what the monks, and St Benedict in particular could teach us about time, and how they used it to serve God.
Dr Chris Harrison  Dr Rebecca Robinson 
 Chris made the point that their rule applies well to secular life.

Taking examples from the monks’ life he made the points of:

  • Listening and responding
  • Stability
  • Transformation (Maintain stability but make small changes)

The monks are always occupied with a full agenda but never busy, without multitasking. They have a rhythm to their day, and always time for lunch!
He finished with “What changes can you make now?”

Our third talk of the day was from Dr Rebecca Robinson, who works in the field of exercise and sports medicine.
Her theme was about ‘Challenges to allow control to be taken back’ and centred on making plans, and reflection in the face of performance. It was acknowledged that hers was a difficult field in today’s society with the issues about boxing and cycling and drugs and ethics to name a few.

Although we are obviously not all destined to be super athletes, she finished up with “Any activity is better than none” and it is not difficult to see that this applies over a very wide field of activity even work.

 Walkers Walking 

After all this cerebral action, the following day was designated our walk day for the energetic, or just free for those slightly less inclined for action and who just wanted to absorb some Boarbank peace and quiet. The weather forecast was changeable and cold (nothing new there then!) but we started out in bright sunshine towards the humming metropolis of Cartmel, with the intention of going further over the hills to Hampsfell and passing the hospice, a small stone shelter for travellers on the hilltop.

 WalkersAt the hospice. See that black cloud on the right? Tea & Cake
A well earned break!

This was built in Victorian times and is a popular walkers’ resting point along this route. The winds were wild and the horizontal hail made us very thankful of the act of kindness that enabled the hospice to be built in the first place, and we gladly ate our lunch inside and out of the worst of the weather. Because of the wind, you almost felt you could stretch your arms wide and fly down to Grange.

After the descent we diverted a little into Hazelmere cafe (purist walkers please skip this portion) for a well earned (?) reward of tea and a slice of cake and were met there by a couple of others and a fine time was had by all. Sue, little star that she is, collected some of us by car and went back to Boarbank leaving a couple of hardy souls (yes Margaret, that includes you!) to walk the last couple of miles to Kents Bank facing the bay in the dusk with some beautiful changing light.

Bay At Dusk
 Film Goers

After Compline that evening we all gathered in the hall around the fire and watched the classic film ‘It’s a wonderful life’. Well worth seeing if you haven’t already.

Thursday started with a really interesting talk from Dr Margaret Phillips entitled ’Time, healing & rehabilitation’. She practises in the area of rehabilitation when the patient has perhaps suffered trauma, or has progressive disease like MS, muscular dystrophy etc and she talked about how these events disrupt the normal perception of time.

 Dr Margaret Phillips Dr Margaret Phillips

Reliance on old memories comes to the fore but In trauma cases sometimes even the old memories have to be recreated and she discussed the timeline for these events.

Later that day, Katherine Daniels gave a moving account of her husband Robin’s attitude and approach to time, in his book ’The Virgin Eye - Towards a Contemplative View of Life’.

 Katherine Daniels & Liz Robin Daniels

Sadly Robin died 4 years ago, and Katherine has spent that time completing, editing and publishing the book. Available from Amazon, it’s worth reading for anyone interested in trying to reduce the pace of life and reduce stress.


Exposition that evening allowed us a good time of quiet contemplation to allow some of these ideas to sink in and take shape.

Sue Lawrenson, an Ursuline sister and hospital chaplain, gave us the last talk in the week, entitled ’Time for chaplains’. She used a quotation from Sirach ‘We go to serve the sick but they also serve us’ as her basis, and emphasised that both the role of the chaplain, and their ability to use time, are both being squeezed out in the present tick box system which prevails.

Smiles All Round
Sr Sue Lawrenson

When you gather a mixed group of people together, their experiences are very varied, and at least part of this week has been to encourage conversation between each other, and this is made possible in a faith led and trusting environment.
'Transformation by small changes'
Many thanks to everyone for their presence, we had a great time and special thanks to Sue, Liz and Karen for organisation and to the whole Boarbank Community for just being there.
Next year we hope to adopt the theme of ‘Dementia’ and we hope to see as many of you as possible back at Boarbank. Tea!