“Christ looked for you before you thought of seeking Him, and He found you so that you might find Him .”

Augustine Commentary on Psalm 138: 14

Is Boarbank the place for you?

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We invite women who wish to dedicate themselves to Christ as Religious Sisters, to share our life of prayer and community and our charism of hospitality of all kinds, particularly care for the poor and sick. Women with talents and skills of various kinds can contribute to the life at Boarbank Hall. As Augustinian Sisters, we form a community within a community, the yeast within the dough.

A community of prayer at the heart of our community of work

Boarbank offers a unique blend: strong community life and communal prayer that is thoroughly integrated into a full life of service, working closely with lay people.

Our staff, Christian and non-Christian alike, are completely dedicated to sharing in our mission of hospitality and care for those in need.

We need talents and skills of every kind to maintain Boarbank Hall, not only nursing and caring, hospitality and teaching, but also gardening, cleaning, building, computing, music-making, cooking, play and even accountancy play an important part in our life.

Through our daily sharing of Mass, the Prayer of the Church and through private prayer, we provide a contemplative core for Boarbank’s many activities. Drawing our strength from there, we work together with our lay staff and many friends to run our Nursing Home, Guest House and residential courses, and to support the work of the Church locally and throughout the world.

Contact Sr Marian

015395 32288

A Life in the Day of an Augustinian Canoness

Sr Margaret Atkins

One way of summing up our lives would be as a constant attempt to hold in fruitful balance Mary and Martha, stillness and busyness, solitude and sociability, regularity and variety, contemplation and action. Often, it can seem as if these two poles are in tension, but our Constitutions suggest otherwise: ‘The depth of our words and of our gift of self to others will depend on the depth of our silence.’ Our capacity to imitate Martha flows from our capacity to imitate Mary. To put it another way, our prayer – private or common – is the source of the love and harmony within our Community which can flow out into an attitude of warmth and hospitality towards all those whom we welcome into our lives.

The regular elements of our lives nourish its monastic basis of prayer and community. We begin the day by singing Morning Office and Mass, and meet again at midday and in the evening for prayer and a meal, completing the day with Compline and recreation. In addition, each Sister dedicates an hour to private prayer: our beautiful Blessed Sacrament Chapel, for example, is often occupied through the day, from six in the morning, and much used also by our visitors. All this is the steady framework, as it were, on which the sprawling vine branches of our life can grow and bear fruit.

The fundamental work of our house is threefold, and each aspect reflects our charism of the mediation through hospitality of the mercy of Jesus to those in need. We run a Nursing Home, a Guest House and a programme of residential groups. The Nursing Home caters for long-term residents, with some rooms for respite care or those who are dying. Our Guest House welcomes visitors young and old, alone and with families, from every walk of life; many of our guests enjoy sharing our prayer, and they enrich it by their presence. Our residential weeks have provided a unique combination of retreat, study and holiday, for groups with a shared professional interest – health, education, prisons – for young Catholics, for Scripture study. One of the joys of our life is to see our own ideal of love in community reflected in those who stay with us: in the mutual concern and kindness among our patients; in the friendships that spring up among our guests; in the solidarity and fun generated among the participants in our groups. Community life is infectious!

A few concrete images may capture something of the variety within the regularity of our life: holding the hand of an elderly priest as he is dying; picnicking with students on a Lakeland peak; assisting a lady to eat who used to run a nursing home herself; laughing as we try to help a French-speaking Sister from China with her English; pondering a papal encyclical with the novices; sharing the family’s sorrows and joys at a patient’s funeral; debating the Sermon on the Mount with a seminar group; listening to our Nigerian Sisters sing an African farewell after visiting us; watching the footrest of a wheelchair being tapped by the feet that used to dance to the waltz I am playing on CD; celebrating Mass on the fells in the ruins of a medieval Augustinian abbey; offering a shoulder for the tears of a heartbroken mother; teaching a teenager how to bathe an old gentleman with tact and respect; absorbing the depth of shared silence after we watched together Of Gods and Men; welcoming guests to our beautifully decorated Refectory after Mass for the Feast of St Augustine. Each of us, of course, does not do all of these things; but together we do them all and so much more. ‘Why did you come here?’ people ask. The more interesting question, and one that has ten thousand answers, is, ‘Why did you stay?’

'In the measure that we share our joys and bear one another's burdens, we shall find strength and support for the ceaseless building up of unity'

 (Constitutions, 90)