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Consecrations and Celebrations

On Saturday 13th June, we celebrated Sr Janet's Diamond Jubilee.  It was a great joy to be able to welcome her friends to the Eucharist in Chapel and the buffet lunch afterwards.

Sister Janet cutting her cake, with Sr Dorothy Stella.

The following weekend, six Sisters visited Stanbrook Abbey at Wass, for a day organised by the Roman Catholic communities in the Diocese of Middlesbrough, to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life.  It was an opportunity to meet with members from the other communities, to hear about the work of their Vocations Officers, to learn more about Pope Francis, and also to worship in Stanbrook's newly finished Chapel.

At the beginning of July, eleven Sisters were present in the Minster when Canon Alison White was consecrated as Bishop of Hull.  We were honoured to be part of the procession, and were joined by two Sisters from The Community of the Holy Name, and two Sisters from The Community of St Mary the Virgin, to assist with the distribution. 

The final celebration was our Centenary Flower Festival.  The ladies from the local Flower Clubs arrived on Thursday morning to transform the ground floor of the Priory from our living space into an amazing feast of colour and glory.  By Friday afternoon, we were ready to welcome all those who would come through our doors.  The Preview Evening on Friday saw over 80 people come to enjoy music from the Sisters and to look at both the flowers and the photographs which were telling the story of the first 100 years of OHP.

During Saturday and Sunday, we were kept busy with all the visitors, including a coach from Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon and one from Redcar on Sunday afternoon.  Refreshments were available in the Refectory, along with a tombola, and many Sisters had craft items available for purchase.

The weekend finished with a very full Chapel and over 150 people attending the Songs of Praise.

Two of the arrangements in the Cloister

St Hilda in Chapel

Vistors and Sisters in Chapel for Songs of Praise

We heard a section from the Gospel of St John, Chapter 15, where Jesus is talking about being the vine.  The sermon was preached by Reverend Rachel Harrison TOHP, an extract of which follows:

"The passage from St John’s Gospel that we heard read, creates a vivid picture of Jesus the vine being tended and cared for by our Heavenly Father; and of the fruits of that vine blossoming under His care whilst firmly remaining a part of the vine. Even if we have never seen a vine growing I think the imagery is clear because we can easily imagine any healthy plant growing be it wild ivy or cultivated clematis. Well-tended, watered and fed the fruit of the plant is in abundance and all is well with the world. <p >But - and when we just feel nice and secure and comfortable isn’t there always a but - but, there is also a stark warning in the gospel. A warning that reminds us of the need to remain a part of that vine or risk being pruned and thrown into the fire.

"We know that Jesus was an astute man; someone who understood people, who was able to create imagery in his words that would help the listener to grasp what he wanted them to learn; and so often this imagery helps us as much today as it would have his disciples. He wasn’t telling a story about plants for the sake of creating a pretty picture, (or because he was attending a Flower Festival) but to direct the thoughts of those who would listen to matters of the Kingdom, his kingdom, the Kingdom of God; the Kingdom in which both people of long ago and we ourselves are already citizens.

"Jesus was helping us to understand how it is possible to grow and display fruits of the spirit – and the way to do that is through obedience, faithfulness and responsible living. Whether we are cradle Christians or newly converted to be a disciple of Christ, whether we made a decision to follow Christ long ago or last year, whether we are part of a religious community or living in isolation, the way to remain faithful to the Vine is by obedience to His word, faithfulness in relationships and in being responsible in the way we care for our planet and use our resources. By attention to these three aspects of our living, the love of God through Jesus, will hold us close whilst allowing us to reach out to the world; a world where there is a hunger to know real love.

"Those who live as a part of the Vine will know the love of Christ and will clearly demonstrate it in their life, by the joy of living. Of course there will be days when life is hard to cope with but running as a foundation of who we are will be great joy. As we read in Psalm 71 'my lips will shout for joy as I sing praises to you', and in Luke the angels announced to the shepherds on the hills at Christmas 'I bring you greetings of great joy'. As Jesus said to his disciples ‘I’ve told you this, so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete’.

"But there is another warning, this time from Proverbs 'A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones'. If those of us who know ourselves loved by God fail to share that wonderful assurance with others; if we fail to be obedient to his Word that requires us to tell others of God’s love for the world; if we crush the enthusiasm of others, then we might experience the cut of the pruning hook.

"Joy is an outward sign of the presence of God's Spirit within; an outward sign of lives grafted to the Vine that brings true life, happiness and joy and in that we rejoice.

"We rejoice in being here as a part of the one hundred years celebration of the Order of the Holy Paraclete.

"We rejoice in the faithful witness of sisters over such a long time and as we revel in the flowers of this festival, we think of the simple beauty of the Forget-me-Not as we give thanks for lives past and shared in this sacred Space.

"'Just as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. So abide in my love.'"

We give thanks for all the Friends, Tertiaries and helpers, and especially for:

Teesside Flower Club
Great Ayton Flower Club
Guisborough Floral Art Club
Stokesley & District Flower Club
Whitby Flower Club
Loftus & District Flower Club

Without the support of all these, the Flower Festival would not have been the resounding success that it has been.

Posted On: 22/07/2015

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