Hyning Christmas Newsletter 2018


Dear all,

As Christmas preparations begin, we are very pleased to send our greetings and a little of our news of this past year.

Since October 2017,   we have been without a resident chaplain, as Fr Michael had to return to live with his Mill Hill brethren. He came to visit us in February for the day, and  was in good form, pleased to see the community and some friends once more. Since his departure, we have been greatly helped by the generosity of the priests of the area, and we have rarely been without Mass. Fr Anthony Keefe has now come to help us and we are very glad to welcome him here.

 In community we have seen some changes. S Hilda spent 3 months with us to prepare for her solemn Profession, which took place in August  at Brownshill. S Reina has gone to Brownshill to have another experience of Bernardine Life. We were sorry to lose her, but Annabelle, a novice from France, has come to Hyning to continue her formation with us. S M Thérèse, a simply professed sister from our newest foundation in Vietnam, has also joined our community, and Audrey began her postulancy here just before Christmas last year. In addition, Julia will be making her first Profession in February. They all make a real contribution to our community here and we thank God for that. S Maria, in charge of the novitiate, is certainly not out of work!

Our oldest members, S M Joseph and S Mary, are very valiant, and do all they can to be with the community. S M Joseph sees some of her large family here from time to time. S Mary can be found anywhere and everywhere, despite her 93 years. S Michelle Marie’s work in the laundry is never finished for long, which shows us that our guest house is busy, and the turn-over rapid. Sr. Michelle Marie emerges to greet the guests with a smile. 

We are on the point of transferring our Preparatory school in Slough to the Trust of St Benedict’s school at Ealing. The preparations for this have entailed a great deal of work, largely shouldered by S Elizabeth Mary and S M Colette. The latter has spent a lot of time travelling to meetings at Slough. But all has gone well and we are delighted to be able to hand over our Prep school, which is doing very well, to a Trust  based on the same Benedictine principles by which our school has always been guided.

There have been several celebrations this year: S Josephine Mary celebrated her Golden Jubilee of Profession in October, and combined this with the celebration of the Golden Wedding of her sister Elizabeth and husband John. This year too she reached another decade, and has had a prolonged period of illness. She is sending a note about this separately, but is much better now. S M Bernard is about to celebrate 25 years of Profession, on 15th December, and S Michaela begins another decade on the same day! Her cakes and flap-jack are among the attractions of Hyning.

S M Geneviève, from France, besides doing very helpful work in the sewing room, shows us daily that communication does not just depend on speaking English; the message can be transmitted in all sorts of visual ways and so the work goes on. Many of our guests are glad to try out their French with her and with S M Thérèse; the results can be very amusing.

S M Stella was very sad to lose her sister Lucy earlier this year, but has been able to welcome most of her family over the last months. She continues with the icon writing and has several commissions under way, the garden, the maintenance of the property, some cooking etc. Jam jars, (with lids!) are always welcome. S M Stella and S Michaela have worked hard to give conferences to many of the groups who come here and Sr. Mary Bernard manages the Dining Room very much in the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict. 

We are greatly indebted to our helpers and volunteers who do so much to help us in so many ways. Our tasty meals, the gardens and fruit and vegetables are greatly appreciated, and are the result of a lot of careful work.

There would be so much more to say, but it is time to bring this to a close. We all wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year despite the troubles of our world and our country. We pray for you all and we thank you again for your support in prayer, friendship and practical help of all kinds.

With our love,