Community news

Sr Marian replaced Sr Eileen in October on our General Council, which entails regular visits to France.

Our October retreat, shared with the Augustinian Friars was led by Fr Leo Maidlow Davies of Downside on the theme of Lectio Divina. On 1st February, we hosted the annual diocesan Day for Consecrated Life, and were delighted to welcome a large number of Sisters, Brothers and others living a life of consecration. Our speaker was Fr John Farrell OP. On both occasions, we felt greatly blessed by the excellent conferences and the friendship we shared with our guests.

 Day for Consecrated Life  Day for Consecrated Life
 Day for Consecrated Life Day for Consecrated Life 

Guest House

 Autumn Break  Autumn Break
 Thinking Scripture Thinking Scripture 

Recent courses have included Thinking Scripture on ‘Peter, James and John’, Autumn Break on ‘Faith in the Middle Ages’, Hope in Health on ‘Children and Health, Health and Salvation on ‘Faith in the Public Eye’, and a course for healthcare and prison chaplains entitled Caring for the Mind.

There were far too many highlights to remember them all, but to give you a taste, Joyce Simpson’s evocation of Julian of Norwich, and Toni Lynch’s reflections on her journey from an 11-year-old with a first job cleaning the Boarbank Lounges to her present role as Deputy Chief Nurse of St Guy’s and St Thomas’ will long remain in the memory. 

Health & Salvation James Maggie Sr Agatha  Jigsaws 
 Toni IS Nursing  Prof John Ellershaw

Other groups who visited the Guest House in the autumn included The Friends of Mother Theresa, the Durham University Catholic Chaplaincy and the Cumbria Christian Meditation Group.

Durham Students   Durham Students
  Durham Students

The Thank You Party for our staff around the fire lightened up a dark January evening. We were really happy that so many were able to come. A big thank you to our star chefs, Elizabeth and Sr Florence.

Nursing Home


Our tradition of welcoming Hungarian seminarians for their social experience abroad continued with Ricsi Magyar, who was with us from September to January. He too won the hearts of both residents and his colleagues, and was a warm, friendly and very energetic presence in chapel and around the house, and even in Grange, where he found Hungarian friends – we feel very blessed by this connection with the Byzantine Rite seminary in Nyíregyháza.

Many congratulations to all the staff, especially Virginia and Elizabeth, for the award of the Gold Standard Framework for End of Life Care. The appreciation of the families of patients who have died in our Nursing Home shows that this is not just a paper award. Our staff and Sisters are very aware of what a great privilege it is to care for people at the end of their lives and we will do all we can to continue to support patients and their families with expertise and with love.

Going Green!

Our efforts to live out the message of Laudato Si’ are often rewarded with delight, sometimes with frustration! Planting around a hundred baby trees, with the help of two local schools, gave us real hope for the future. A volunteer group, and kind gifts of plants, have enabled us to bring some life and order back to the garden which used to be cared for by our Benedictine Sisters, Sr Placid and Sr Lawrence. We have also been given lots of lovely trees, plants and seeds recently, all of which will make the garden even more attractive to insects, birds and small mammals. Ideas on the horizon are some insect hotels, for another pond and some serious bulb-planting in the autumn. We are always grateful for spare bee-friendly plants when you are clearing out your own garden. Advice and shared expertise is also warmly welcomed by Sr Margaret!

On the side of temporary frustration, the overdue cleaning of our heating system exposed some leaks, which took some time, and a chilly period in chapel, to repair. Many thanks to our congregation for their patience. The system is now fully up and running again, and working much better than before, thanks be to God. We will continue to monitor it, and improve radiator controls and insulation, and we hope before too long also to start to upgrade the lighting.

Christmas at Boarbank

We celebrate the Christmas Season in full, beginning with our Ecumenical Advent Carol Service, which fills the chapel, and ending with Candlemass, which was on a Sunday this year, so allowed our congregation to join in our candlelight procession. In between there was plenty of praying, preaching, eating and celebrating. Thanks to all who made this possible, including groups from the local schools, with carols and a nativity play, the Flookburgh Silver Band, Santa Claus and Mrs Santa and their various helpers, our superb kitchen staff, and the Christmas decorators, and everyone who helped to bring Christmas cheer to the Boarbank family.

 A Boarbank Christmas A Boarbank Christmas 
 A Boarbank Christmas A Boarbank Christmas 


Requiescant in Pace

We have said goodbye to a large number of dear friends of the Community this year. There are too many to mention them all by name, but they include among the Sisters Sr Geneviève and Sr Lawrence, among local friends Margaret Lynch, Dr Sheila Phizacklea and Margaret Lawton, and among long-term residents in the Nursing Home Doris MacKenzie (on Christmas Day) and David Ellis. Bishop Brian Noble was also a great friend of many at Boarabnk. May they all rest in peace. Once again we were grateful for the opportunity to remember deceased friends and relatives at our November service for those who have died in our Nursing Home and other close friends.

Doris MacKenzie  David Ellis