News – Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes 2024

We wish you all a very Happy Feast Day!

New Website

Welcome to our new-look website. We are very grateful indeed to Helen (and her family!) for all her hard work on this. We are immeasurably thankful also to John for his enormous generosity and patience over the last decade in reshaping and managing our website, and not least for his great help with the recent handover.


This last year has been an important one for the Community. Sr Francis joined us from our Community in South Africa on Palm Sunday, and Sr Teresina made her final vows on 27th May In September we were delighted to welcome our Mother General, Sr Clémence, a native of Burkina Faso, along with her Assistant, Sr Marylène of Malestroit, for an official visit. We had fun with the new multi-national flags for our flagpole! On 6th January Gloria joined us – please keep all of us in your prayers. Thank you.

Nursing Home

The Nursing Home has continued to flourish under the very able leadership of Elizabeth. We are still being careful about covid, but thankfully in a way that impacts little on the lives of our residents.

Guest House

The Guest House has begun to open up, and this coming year we hope to run the first full programme of events since 2020. These include new events on Laudato Si’ and on Catholic Social Teaching, plus more familiar ones such as Thinking Faith (‘time out for working Catholics’) and Two Wings and Some Prayers (for anyone interested in birds – you don’t need to know anything yet!). See our What’s On page for full details.

Unexpected Losses

On the staffing side, we suffered a double sorrow through the unexpected deaths of two greatly valued colleagues from our kitchen, both much too young. Janet Atkinson had been with us for many years, and been in charge of the kitchen, extremely competently, for much of that time. Ed Brown had joined us more recently, but immediately became an extremely popular member of staff. He had taken over from Janet, when he too was taken ill. We offer our deepest sympathy to all their families and those who mourn them. A long-term remembrance of them will be two plum trees planted in the upper orchard, a Golden Gage for Ed and a Laxton’s Delicious Maiden for Janet.

Retirements & New Staff

The kitchen has also recently seen the retirement of Joan, who continued to provide wonderful cakes, biscuits and puddings for us for many years after her contemporaries had gone into retirement. Similarly, Margaret Mortimer, who has been a mainstay of our Guest House for many years, has finally retired. It’s hard to imagine that either Joan or Margaret will actually retire, but we offer them our heartfelt thanks and wish them all the very best for whatever will keep them busy!

We have been very blessed in finding excellent replacements, Julia in the Guest House, and Daniel, Lukazs (returning to Boarbank after an absence) and Anthony in the kitchen.


The developments in the garden have continued. If you have not visited for a while, try and come in spring or summer, when you will see the garden at its best! All the main outbuildings have now been beautifully restored and the vegetable garden is now producing a much wider variety of produce throughout the year, which the kitchen are using with imagination and skill. Our ambitious plans continue: this year the first asparagus should be picked, and we are going to experiment with chickpeas and quinoa, while our soft fruits are being extended to peach, apricot, kiwi, loganberries and even goji berries. It make take a while, but watch this space! We are so grateful to our very dedicated garden and kitchen team for making all this possible.

New Lodges

If you have been to Boarbank in the last couple of months, you will have seen preparations below the cottage for two new lodges. These will be used for staff accommodation. We have been very grateful to be able to insert them without damaging any of the healthy apple trees. Indeed, this has provided us with an opportunity to increase the variety of apples we will be growing, and to plant an extra hedge with a new range of native species to increase the biodiversity of our grounds.