We continue to hold you in our thoughts and prayers, and to give thanks for your remembrance of us.
Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love.
We are now getting accustomed to the changes made necessary by Covid-19. We are doing everything in our separate households, and not meeting as a community. A particular loss is the daily Eucharist and instead we mostly have a Service of the Word using the readings for the day, and including Intercessions. We are fortunate that most of the houses have a room set aside for prayer: this is the one in at 23 Fairacres Road.
We have also explored some of the worship offered online: nationally, , by local parishes, by the diocese of Oxford and by some communities. Some of us were especially glad of the 5.30 am Easter Vigil shared with the Community of the Resurrection because it followed the pattern familiar to us.
Sisters have also shared in weekly lectio divina with the Sisters of the Baltimore Carmelite monastery.
It’s paradoxical that this time of lockdown has opened up for us much more ‘going out’ than we would ordinarily do!
Meditation by Sister Judith
Sister Judith had been asked to preach at Pembroke College this term. As that isn’t possible she has prepared a meditation which we would like to share with you. Some of you will recognise the quotation from Fr Gilbert Shaw which was above the intercession board outside Chapel.
Support for our NHS
So far we all remain well. The care home where Sr Barbara June lives has reported residents with coronavirus, and we know of a number of friends and neighbours who have been directly affected. A number of us have volunteered to be part of an Oxford University research project which is looking into the prevalence of the virus in the population, we join the weekly clapping for the NHS and other front-line workers and show our support in whatever way we can.
Those of our staff who are able to work from home are doing so: others are furloughed. There are some roles which can only be fulfilled face-to-face, and we are immensely glad of our carers. In addition to their normal work, they are helping us by carrying meals from 76 Fairacres Road (where most of the cooking is done) to Fellowship House where the older sisters live. Sisters in other houses collect supplies and do their own cooking.
A kind neighbour has allowed us to replace a panel in our boundary wall with a gate so that we (and more importantly, Mark our gardener) can have access through his back garden to our garden and orchard. This gives us a distant view of the building work.
Work has continued, albeit to an adjusted schedule. Mostly the work has been demolition. The building which linked St Mary’s to the Old Convent has gone, as has the area between Chapel and Refectory, the fruit store and the far end of the SLG Press building. Progress has also been made inside St Mary’s where the floor has been lowered so that in the completed building there will be level access throughout. Work has started to lower the wall of what was our laundry and kitchen: it forms the boundary with a number of our neighbours’ properties.