In the Holidays

Some days in the Convent are rather peculiar. They don’t turn out like anything you expect at all. That’s what the last few days have sort of been like. For one thing, it is strangely quiet without the Boarding School pupils popping up at every nook and cranny. And then there is also the unexpectedly beautiful sunshine this time of the year.

Anyway, the first surprise we had was the sudden and immediate announcement that both Boarding House Mothers would be returning home. Ines-Marie and Helene have been stuck here in Wanganui since the lockdown, though they were supposed to return home in April and in June.

News came that Ines-Marie had permission to return to New Caledonia, so their holiday in Rotorua was hurriedly cut short and both of them returned to Wanganui to pack their luggage and say goodbye.

So we had a surprise “farewell party” of sorts, with party food and presents to thank the two lovely young ladies who have been so generous with their time and joyous in their help in Signadou.

Here is a little peg doll of St Catherine of Siena. It was a farewell gift for Helene.

We also had the opportunity to go on a community outing to the beach. No mean feat, considering there are twenty-three of us of varying shapes and sizes! 

Since it was Father’s 26th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood (and he had expressed his desire to go to the sea!), Father Albert graciously accompanied us on our beach outing.

We were blessed with beautiful sunny weather and a rolling surf.

In the evening a fire was (re-)built in honour of St John the Baptist. We had a St John’s Bonfire the previous evening, but this time, Father came round to bless it, while giving us an impromptu Latin lesson.

Every bonfire needs some songs to cheer it on, so that’s what the Sisters did. Though the choice of campfire music was possibly a little strange to un-churched ears, the sounds of Palestrina and Victoria and the crackling of a warm fire are a rather comforting combination.

Of course, there was marshmallow toasting happening as well. Some of the Sisters turned out to be expert toasted-marshmallow connoisseurs.

And what is a holiday without a working bee? So all around the Convent there are busy Sisters gardening, cleaning, polishing brass, and shifting furniture.

Interrupted by a friendly cat. Who perhaps doesn’t really like being petted and cooed over that much.

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