St Augustine & Holy Family

Before all else, live together in harmony, being of one mind and one heart on the way to God.
For is it not precisely for this reason that you have come to live together?”
(Rule of St Augustine, 1.2)

Community News


John Moffat Sr Lawrence jubilee celebration
Sr Lawrence jubilee celebration Sr Lawrence jubilee celebration


1st December saw a simple, joyful celebration of Sr Lawrence’s Diamond Anniversary of Profession. Mass was offered for her intentions and in thanksgiving and in the afternoon John Moffat kindly led singing as part of the celebration party in Marymount.

The short Advent of 2017 began in style with the Churches’ Together Advent Carols, and Fr John helped the Sisters prepare with a Day of Recollection.


Advent carols Advent carols
Advent carols Advent carols


At Christmas we enjoyed the usual festivities. On 23rd December a tall and rejuvenated Santa with a trace of an Eastern European accent arrived with mother-in-law to sing carols with and give presents to the children and patients.


Santa Csaba Arrival of Father & Mother Christmas


Flookburgh Silver Band on Christmas Eve, and a houseful of guests for Christmas and New Year.
Carols around the fire on 30th December were well attended by guests and patients; a big thank you to Maria and Gavin for their musical contributions.


Carols in the Hall Carols in the Hall
Carols in the Hall

On another evening, John entertained us with his banjo and a trip down Memory Lane.


The celebrations have continued in January and early February. January 17th was the Feast of Our Lady of Hope, the patroness of our One Community, so the Boarbank Sisters went to Ince for Mass and a celebratory lunch. Thanks to Fr Godric Timney OSB for presiding and preaching, and to Sr Gemma and the Sisters for the excellent hospitality.

On 3rd February, we hosted for the first time the annual gathering for the Religious of the Diocese.


Day for Religious Day for Religious
Day for Religious Day for Religious


Bishop Michael said Mass for us and gave us a talk on prayer and the psalms. It was a real pleasure to welcome old friends and new and to discover and share the variety of religious vocations that enrich the Diocese, not least because of the rich mix of nationalities and languages.

Day for Religious

Many thanks to Mgr Slattery and Canon Cousens for their organisation and to our kitchen and Guest House staff for doing us proud once again.

We celebrated Our Lady of Lourdes, the patronal feast of the House on 10th February, as 11th was a Sunday. The centrepiece of this day for us is Mass with Anointing of the Sick. We enjoyed an excellent festal takeaway in the evening, courtesy of some generous Christmas gifts.

Maria Hall And Friends


The Sisters have also been practising their singing with our old friend Maria Hall, who is now offering freelance teaching in music and liturgy to schools, parishes and other related groups.

We can thoroughly recommend her from direct experience!
CLICK HERE for her website

Two Sisters attended the Concert Club Annual lunch.
As always we are very grateful to kind benefactors who made possible this and our attendance at the excellent Grange concerts throughout the season.


Fr John has had to have another stay in hospital, but is back with us now convalescing. We wish him a speedy full recovery. Thanks to Fr Dixie for taking over the Chaplain’s role in his absence. Three of Fr Dixie’s sermons can be read here.

Guest House

As well as our Christmas and New Year guests and others holiday guests, we have had a number of groups here recently. Before Christmas, the staff of Our Lady of Furness Academy brought their primary schools from Dalton and Ulverston for the day, which included a prayer hunt around the garden, sung prayers in chapel, a discussion of ‘Why be Good?’ with Sr Margaret, and a Q & A with the Sisters. In January, Our Lady’s, Lancaster, brought their senior students for a retreat, with their Chaplain Rachel. It is good to be kept young by having the next generation with us!

Our two recent healthcare events were both very interesting and enjoyable.

Hope in Health 2017
Hope in Health, an Advent retreat weekend for anyone interested in healthcare, had the theme ‘Vocation and Fidelity’, and Dr John Higham, a retired GP and surgeon, joined Sr Margaret to lead this. CLICK HERE for the Hope in Health report.

Our January Health & Salvation week focused on ‘Dignity, Dependency and Dementia’ and the excellent team of speakers included Michael Wee from the Anscombe Centre, Margaret Hinton of the Wrexham Diocese, Sara Jones of the Namaste Project, Carol Burns of Maecare in Leeds, and Pippa Bonner from Apperley Grange in Harrogate.

 Michael Wee with Dr Karen Groves Health & Salvation 2018 
 Health & Salvation 2018 Health & Salvation 2018 

Sisters and staff from the Nursing Home were able to join the participants for talks, discussions and informal time together around the fire or in the evening. 
CLICK HERE for full reports and details of our future healthcare events.

Two other groups came to the Guest House for an inspiring context for work meetings. One was the Well Community, which cares for those recovering from addiction problems in towns in the North-West including Barrow, Lancaster and Liverpool. The other was an international group of Palliative Care consultants. It was a pleasure and a privilege to host each of these groups.

Nursing Home

A lively programme of events have included “The Sleepy Shepherd”, a nativity play performed by local Montessori children, Christmas Carols sung by St Mary’s Junior School, Allithwaite, Singalong with Rachel and the Sands Band, and talks by Sr Michael on the history of the Royal Family, including theme of the Jacobites, and on the Princes in the Tower. Many thanks to Sally and Sr Michael for all the organisation.

The Sleepy Shepherd

Sally’s latest piece from Grange Now is now in print and can be read on page 19. CLICK HERE for the latest issue.
Also in this issue is news about another Boarbank friend, local dentist David Tomison, who travels overseas to take medical care to where it is needed under the umbrella of the Vine Trust. CLICK HERE for more information.

St Austin Friars School

The Staff thank-you party on 29th December was well attended and much enjoyed - including an excellent supper (thank you, kitchen staff) and musical offering from the Sisters, thanking all the staff for their varied and indispensable contributions to the many things that happen here at Boarbank. On 8th February, we were able to thank the Coffee Ladies and other volunteers with afternoon tea around the fire.

 Staff Thank you party Staff Thank you party 

We were very sorry to say goodbye after five months to Csaba Szabó. Csaba has thrown himself into life at Boarbank, working as a carer in the Nursing Home, improving his English tremendously, singing his beautiful liturgy in the chapel, and making friends with everyone.

CsabaHe will be greatly missed, but we wish him well as he returns to Hungary to continue his training as a priest in the Byzantine Catholic Church. Vizsontlátásra, Csaba - “until we see you again” - but not goodbye!

Can you spot the new resident? 

Owl in tree outside Marymount

Requiescant in Pace

We have lost a number of residents and friends of the Community in recent weeks, including Monsignor O’Dea, Bea McEntaggart, Alex Cushnie Rose Pierce, Joan Cannon, Liz Smith, Philomena Davies and Mary Layfield. We offer our sympathy to their families and friends, and our great gratitude to our staff, who have been caring for several of them. May they rest in peace.