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Thursday, 20 April 2017 15:43

Catch up with the Sisters in Beckenham!

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An update from the Sisters in the Beckenham community, who are developing a new mission working with female asylum seekers.


We continue to be amazed at the Providence which comes our way weekly. Just a couple of recent examples...


A lady from the parish arrived quite late in the evening about two weeks ago with a large planter filled with polyanthus of all colours for near the front door. She also trundled round with a brilliant Dyson Hoover which is very efficient and has a strong capacity for grabbing up all the dust which has accumulated in corners.

Another amazing sign of Providence is our latest friend John from Malta. Sadly his dear wife Monica died unexpectedly in Malta in January. She was only 67 RIP. The Parish Office, knowing John was finding too much time on his hands, suggested he come to see if we needed any help... what a Godsend! I will not enumerate all he has done but the picture included shows how much rubbish he has removed from the back of the garden. He is a lovely man and has quickly become a real friend.

Our two guests seem very much at home.  They are both very different and we are learning lots as we all adapt to each other. Both are very prayerful and church is a very big part of their lives. One attends free English lessons at Leicester Square which is some distance away so she has long journeys on the bus. Our other guest, being from Nigeria, already speaks English. She spends much of her day praying with her Church which is at Brent Cross also a long distance away. At the moment she is doing this via the internet. Please keep them in prayer as they desperately want to pick up their lives and live more normal existences.

Now we are three it is great we have been able to do a sort of Community Plan. We already had a long and very extensive meeting with Sr. Connie in November when we worked together to set out the aim of the Project, so we all share the same vision and are working together to achieve it.

We feel we are very united with you all, Battersea community continue to be marvellous, we have enjoyed their company here and I think they find the house very homely. We were fortunate to have Sr. Lucy Rose for a flying visit. It was quite funny really since she was with us for our house mass on Monday morning. That particular day we were 17 in a very small chapel but the sense of communion and prayer was wonderful! The Claver Sisters usually join us they have been amazingly welcoming and helpful another blessing from the Lord.

We hope that in the near future some of you may be able to pop in and spend some time here. We enjoyed having Sr. Helen Murphy for a couple of days as she had meetings to attend in London. She has been very supportive and helpful with all kinds of things we never knew we needed to know about before!

Please continue to keep us in prayer and we will try to keep you up to date with new developments. Oh nearly forgot to mention that the Kendal Group who attended Flame enjoyed the great St. Edmund’s hospitality. They stayed in the mezzanine and flat belonging to the parish but some joined us for showers and breakfast, all came in for pizza and ice cream after Flame at Wembley. A noisy game of Uno followed with some definite cheating may have gone on! They are our first group and we really enjoyed their company, so we too are Walking with the Young!


Our small but really prayerful chapel is the focus for parish adoration every Monday evening. We are joined by four or five parishioners who seek the peace and quiet of a prayerful space we are blessed to be able to provide it!

Thursday, 23 March 2017 10:02

Canonical Visit from Sr Lucy Rose FMA

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On 16th February, the Salesian Sisters GBR welcomed Sr Lucy Rose Ozhukayil FMA as she arrived for her Extraordinary Visitation.  Sr Lucy Rose is a General Councillor of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, based at the General House in Rome. She will remain with us until 3rd April, visiting the communities and the wide range of works the Sisters carry out in Britain.

Thursday, 09 March 2017 15:37

Salesian Sisters to host gathering in Beckenham

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The Salesian Spirituality South team (Mary Biddle, Sr Pat Devine FMA, Katie St Quinton, John Hunt, and Annabel Clarkson), have teamed up with the Salesian Sisters in Beckenham to create an evening to share ideas and prayer, along with some networking and a good deal of socialising!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017 00:00

Bosco Centre Inset Day

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The staff of Bosco Centre in Bermondsey enjoyed an INSET day at Battersea this week. The group explored resilience in adults and looked at how Don Bosco's approach built resilience in those who care for the young.

There will be a second INSET for the staff of the Bosco Centre Nursery later in the year.

This project was led for many years by Sr Cecily Dunn FMA who died suddenly last summer. The Centre is still coming to terms with that sad loss and asks for the prayers of the Salesian family as it moves forward.

You can read more about the Bosco Centre on their website


Numeracy Week is a yearly initiative by St John Bosco Arts College, Croxteth, which promotes numeracy skills and mathematics amongst pupils.


Pupils across all year groups got involved in weekly activities and challenges to promote the importance of understanding basic numeracy skills and mathematical problems.

Numeracy tasks during the week included a ‘Puzzle of the Day’ which was shared on school screens and social media; using numeracy clocks to work out the time; Times Table games in form time and lunchtime quizzes in the school canteen.

On Monday, The Happy Puzzle Company visited the school to help Year 7 and 8 pupils to problem solve and develop thinking skills. The week concluded on Friday with a numeracy presentation and discussion exploring where numeracy is used in school and everyday life.


The school believes numeracy skills are an essential lifelong skill which is important to understand for the world of work and everyday life. Its excellent maths practice and dedication to promoting numeracy skills was rewarded earlier this year when the school was awarded the ‘Gold Liverpool Counts Quality Mark’.

Numeracy and Teaching and Learning Coordinator Paul Coffey, says: “Good numeracy skills are an important skill to have, not only for future careers and jobs but for all aspects of everyday life such as paying bills and finding the best deals when shopping.

“Numeracy Week is our way to showcase numeracy in action; throughout the school day, pupils are faced with puzzles, activities and numeracy-themed games to get them thinking about numeracy in a new, exciting way outside scheduled maths lessons.

“We have had a fantastic response from pupils every Numeracy Week and this year has been no different, with pupils showing their love of maths right across the school!”


Source & Photos: The Foundry Agency

Thursday, 01 December 2016 14:44

Sisters open new house in Beckenham

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The new community house in Beckenham was blessed by Bishop Pat Lynch this week. He is pictured above with Sr Mary and Sr Helen.


It's a busy but exciting time, as the Sisters continue to settle in, and prepare for their mission, working with female asylum seekers.


We wish them every blessing in their valuable work.



Thursday, 06 October 2016 14:48

Sr Anne Frances - Perpetual Profession

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SrAnneFrances Collage

On Saturday 24th September, the whole of Croxteth, so it seemed, came out in force to join us in celebrating Sr Anne France’s Final Profession. Queen of Martyrs Parish Church was filled to the brim with over 200 people present; Anne France’s family and relatives, her Sisters in the province, friends from her Lourdes day, past and present work colleagues, Vides volunteers, parishioners and of course young people! It really was a Salesian Family Affair!

The day began with a magnificent and meaningful liturgy. The theme of the mass was: “Shout for joy … he will renew you by His love!” Fr. John Carroll, a close friend of Sr Anne Frances, was the main celebrant and he was accompanied by some of our Salesian priests.

Sr Ella narrated and guided the whole congregation through the celebration with a short commentary introducing the different parts of the mass. This helped each of us to follow and understand the significance of each stage of this solemn occasion, which was a first in a life time experience for many of those present. She did this dramatically yet prayerfully. It was well received by everyone!

The music was led beautifully by Sr Anne France’s close friends; their music enhanced the celebration and the congregation sang with one voice giving praise to God for such a joyous occasion; the wonderful witness of Sr Anne Frances committing her life to God forever! It was very emotional at times.

One of the most moving parts of the mass was when Sr Anne Frances lay prostrate before the altar as we sung the litany. The wonder and awe was tangible around the church, at such a sight; everyone was moved by this act of humility and self-giving before God. Most people commented on this part of the mass throughout the rest of the day. It seemed like this would be a lasting memory for most of those present.

Sr Connie received Sr Anne Frances’ final vows and she accepted her in to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Congregation forever! Sr Agnes and Sr Pat stood alongside Sr Connie to witness this wonderful act. Sr Connie then presented Sr Anne Frances with a candle as a symbol of God’s faithful love. Once again this was a very emotional part of the mass, naturally everyone applauded spontaneously to express their deep joy and happiness because Sr Anne Frances had said ‘Yes’ to God and the Young forever!

After the mass everyone gathered at St John Bosco Arts College to continue the celebration in true Salesian style. Sr Connie began the party with a heartfelt speech and toast to Sr Anne Frances and then she cut the cake. After that we all had the opportunity to meet with friends from all over the UK to mark this very special day for Sr Anne Frances. The catering staff from St John Bosco Arts College provided the buffet; a very generous, delicious and outstanding spread! There was plenty to choose from and it kept everyone busy eating and chatting till eventually it was time to go home. However the party didn’t end there!

Afterwards, closer friends and family members joined Sr Anne Frances and her community in Mansion Drive to party into the small hours of the morning. The Salesians at Home Group had prepared a marquee in the back garden and cooked food for everyone! This was welcomed by all. The gathering was warm and homely. The highlight of the evening was the traditional sing song; Tracey and Trisha led us expertly through each song with people joining in, united in heart and voice! It was a lot of fun!

Sadly the day had to come to an end and one by one people eventually left, but they all left FULL of the Salesian Spirit and joy!

Thanks to Sr Anne Frances sharing her ‘Yes’ so publicly, God’s word was heard, God’s Love was shown and God’s faithfulness to His people was proclaimed! Therefore, I believe seeds were sown in the hearts of everyone that day; may those seeds bear fruit for future vocations in all walks of life, where God can continue to work in each one to build up His Kingdom.

The last word has to go to one special lady, Sr Anne Frances; CONGRATULATIONS! Be assured of this, our prayer for you:
“Shout for joy … He will renew you by His love!”


 Sr Linda Cameron

Friday, 30 September 2016 15:02

Sr Cecily Dunne's ashes laid to rest

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On the 17th September at 11.30 a small group of the Salesian family gathered to lay to to rest the ashes of Sr Cecily Dunn FMA who died on May 24th after a three week period of illness.

The service took place at Alvin's funeral directors memorial garden which lies directly across the road from the Don Bosco Centre where Sr Cecily had worked for over thirty years. The service was led by Sr Pat Devine with support from Sr Norma and Romaine Shilling.
The Bosco Centre has undergone a major refurbishment since the death of Sr Cecily and is already working to full capacity in its nursery and college sections.

The last words of the ashes service were these:
Finally as we leave her ashes here with a promise to visit when we can, we remember in silence her zest for life, her inspirational leadership, her passion for the young which mirrored that of Don Bosco, her vision to free the potential in each young person and her complete and utter conviction that love is all you need.

Fr David O'Malley

Wednesday, 10 August 2016 12:36

Jubilarians celebrate 315 years of FMA life

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The 144th anniversary of the founding of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians last week was celebrated with even greater joy in our Province, as there were six jubilarians this year.

On this wonderful occasion, a combined total of 315 years of religious life was commemorated at the Provincial House in Blundellsands: Sr Lisetta, 70 years; Sr Anne, Sr Ella and Sr Sally, 60 years; Sr Kay, 40 years; and Sr Linda, 25 years.

The sisters renewed their vows during a beautiful Mass at St Joseph's parish church, and the celebrations with friends, families and sisterhood continued at the House.

We congratulate them, and give thanks for their inspiring commitment and dedication.

'God of love, we thank you for our Sisters Lisetta, Anne, Ella, Sally, Kay and Linda, and for their loving service to the young'



Thursday, 12 May 2016 14:56

Happy Feast of St Mary Mazzarello!

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On 13th May, we celebrate the feast of St Mary Domenica Mazzarello, who, with Don Bosco, founded the Daughters of May Help of Christians, the Salesian Sisters. 

She was the first Mother General, and to support their work with poor and abandoned girls, she felt it was vital that she and the other sisters have a good understanding of how to read and write; skills which many of them had never had the opportunity to acquire. Mother Mazzarello would sit along side all of the other Sisters and learn with them – an example of humility and dedication, as well as an encouragement to the others in their struggles.

Her dedication to her sisters was not limited to their intellectual development alone. In every way she was an attentive mother, which is why to this day she is still fondly called 'Mother Mazzarello. She travelled to visit the communities of sisters as the Congregation grew, and sent wonderful letters of support, love and encouragement which continue to provide inspiration and comfort for the Salesian Family today.


'Courage! When you are tired and troubled, go and place all your worries in the Heart of Jesus'


Read more about St Mary Mazzarello 

Friday, 06 May 2016 10:54

Mary, Help of Christians Celebration Day

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MHC Programme 2016

Mary, Help of Christians holds a special place in the Salesian Family. On June 9 1868 St John Bosco dedicated the mother church of his congregation at Turin to her, and the Salesians of Don Bosco and their Sisters have carried the devotion on, extending it to all those they work with.

Fr Andrew Ehrahim SDB is the guest speaker at this year's celebration, and the theme is Forgiveness and the Year of Mercy.

The event will be held at will be held on Sunday, 22nd May at St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Chertsey, from 10 am to 4pm.


Download the programme




The yearly meeting of the FMA inter-provincial conference for part of Europe and the Middle East took place in the beautiful city of Bratislava.

The chosen theme for reflection and discussion was Vocations Culture. Present with the provincials were delegates who have an interest and experience of this topic.

An inspiring, challenging presentation by Fr. Igino Biffi SDB opened the topic and, together with two practical experiences presented by the Austrian-German and the Slovenian provinces, provided a platform for thought and discussion.

As well as deepening an awareness and thirst for establishing a vocational culture the participants benefited from the wonderful hospitality of the Slovakian province. They enjoyed a wonderful evening of recreation with performances form the Slovakian Novices and they also got to experience the rich culture of Slovakia through dance presented by a very talented local youth group.


Sunday saw the group visit to national Marian Shrine of Sastin where they were also lunch guests of the Salesians who look after the shrine and Church there. Afterwards, Sr. Arianna took us on a walking tour of Bratislava - it was all very interesting and helped us walk off such a feast!

All this, together with future planning and sharing, made the days fly by leaving much food for thought and a desire to move forward in creating a Vocational Culture.

Sr Anne Frances McNamee


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