Dear Former Pupils,

As we are already well into the New Year, it is time to contact you all again. Thank you to all who have visited us, sent news and kept in touch with us in many different ways.

First of all, the next meeting of Former Students will be on Saturday 16th April at St Bernard’s Slough.  The school will be open from 12.30 p.m. onwards, and a light buffet lunch will be provided for those able to come at this time which must be pre-booked by 8 April 2016.   This buffet lunch is being offered to mark 10 years since the Bernardines left Slough. Food will be available until 1.30 pm approx. There will be a tour of the school at 2 pm for anyone who wishes. This has proved popular in recent years. The general meeting will continue until after tea. It has become the custom, for those who can, to contribute something to the tea. This is proving very successful, so we hope it will continue!

Some news of Bernardines near and far away:   (for Brownshill and for the school, click on the links).

At Hyning, there have been some changes in the community. While Irene Handoko continues her novitiate, she has been joined by Julia Schroeder, a postulant from Germany. Julia lived with us at Hyning for 2 years, and then spent a year helping the homeless and immigrantsin Glasgow before entering in August.  S Anne Chantal, a French sister, has joined us too. She was in the community at St Bernard du Touvet, in the French Alps, before its closure in the autumn. She has lived in England before so is remembering her English very well and settling down with us. Our Sister Mary Cecilia died on 18th December at the age of 84. After so many years spent in teaching music and singing, and contributing greatly to the Divine office as organist, cantor and composer, she developed Alzheimer’s disease in her last years, which she bore with great courage, remaining peaceful to the end. She leaves a lovely legacy of music that we use regularly.

During the coming months we shall be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Profession of Sr Mary Stella, and the Diamond Jubilee of Profession of Sr Mary. At the beginning of January 2017, it will be the turn of S Michelle Marie to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. All these will be joyful events for the sisters concerned and for us all.

Our foundation in Vietnam continues to grow; there are now several novices and postulants. The community has to be careful to remain very discreet, as the Communist presence is very real.  In Goma too there are several novices and postulants. The school continues to do excellent work in very difficult conditions. We hear less about this part of Africa in the media because of so many other tragedies in our troubled world, but the problems continue. Our sisters persevere with great courage.  A postulant has entered in our foundation in Burkina Faso; we hope she will be one of many. This new growth in several countries is a source of encouragement for us all and for the local churches in which we are situated.

Many of you now receive our news on line and we are grateful for this. If there are others who could do likewise, please indicate this on the invitation which we are sending with this letter and which we ask you to return. If you no longer wish to receive this letter we would be grateful if you could put this on the return form as well. We hope to see as many as possible of you at the reunion, and we assure all of you that you are often in our prayer, you and your families and all your intentions.

 With our love as always,  S Josephine Mary