Our Gate post
First and most important, we would like to wish all our friends a very happy Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

This year the day of prayer for the sick is more relevant and poignant than ever, and we are sure that you are united with us in praying for all those across the globe whose health, mental or physical, has been affected by the pandemic, for all those who care for them, so courageously and selflessly, and especially for the dead, the dying and the bereaved.

In one sense, of course, like the rest of you, we have less ‘news’ than usual. We are also very aware that just now no news is usually good news! In fact, however, we have felt deeply blessed by our situation, with not only the constant support and company of our Community, residents and staff and our regular life of shared prayer, but also with plenty of opportunity for purposeful living. We can truly say that we have not been bored during lockdown - what a blessing that is! And of course we cannot be grateful enough for everything and everyone that have enabled us to keep Boarbank, and especially our Nursing Home residents, safe over these past months.

Making Christmas Arrangements  Making Christmas Cards 
 Fr Christmas at Marymount Delivering Christmas presents at Marymount 

For more on our experience of lockdown, you might like to see the following article in the Catholic Medical Quarterly.

Like much of the world, we have become much better at ZOOMing. Some of us had already begun this, thanks to a regular group for Religious caring for the sick, initiated by Dr Karen Groves. This group has continued, but we have added to it theological and ethical talks from the Anscombe Centre and Las Casas Institute, meetings such as a gathering of the Religious in the Diocese, to celebrate the Annual Day of Consecrated Life at the beginning of February, opportunities to join in discussions of local green groups, and practical meetings on questions like safeguarding. We much appreciated having a Community retreat in October on the Gospel of Mark. Sr Margaret has given talks to parishes and chaplaincies, and our series of weekends on Living Laudato Si’: Your Planet and Your Parish continue to attract good numbers.

Boarbank greenhouse  Boarbank greenhouse 
 Boarbank greenhouse Boarbank greenhouse 
Boarbank greenhouse Boarbank greenhouse

Again, like many people, we have taken the chance to tidy up, take stock, repair and renew, and reflect on the directions in which we are going. We have made good progress in the direction of improving our own environmental footprint, with improvements to our heating system and the way we garden. CLICK HERE to get a feel for what we're doing...

 Log CabinIt's a log cabin but not as we know it!
Poetry ReadingSr Margaret poetry reading in Marymount 

The staff in our Nursing Home and throughout Boarbank have been exceptional in their dedication and commitment, and we are truly grateful to each and every one of them. Our residents and their families have also been truly uncomplaining and supportive during this difficult period. (Thankfully, a fine new log cabin enables safely distanced visiting when it is legally permitted.)

We have been very happy to welcome two volunteers for this period, Brother Aelred, who helps in the Nursing Home (as well as gardening in his days off) and Peter, who works in the garden full-time.

Sadly, we have lost a few close friends and residents, including Josie Nickson, a regular visitor to the Guest House for many years, Shirley Burwell, a long-standing friend and supporter of the Community, and long-term residents Agnes Bibby and Rosemary Holden.

'May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.'

One of the ways we have enjoyed being together as a Community over lockdown has been regular film evenings, taking it in turns to choose. We have seen some great Classics - favourite recent choices have included ‘Twelve Angry Men’, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and ‘The Reluctant Saint’.

Above all, we have been so thankful for the support, generosity and prayers of our friends and benefactors, which have helped us in so many ways to keep going and remain cheerful and hopeful (we don’t talk any more of staying ‘positive’!).    Snowdrops                           Snowdrops - New life on its way!

We have missed seeing all of you, of course, but we remain united in prayer. We look forward to welcoming you again, hopefully some time this year.

With very best wishes from all the Boarbank Community.