In 1989 at the request of Bishop Thomas McMahon (Brentwood Diocese) and Fr John Duckett, Parish priest of St Michael’s, East Ham, Sr Rita Lynch (Provincial of the Emmaus Province) missioned two sisters to establish a community and to work with the parish priest as Pastoral Assistants. Their responsibilities included pastoral visitation, Eucharist ministry and the direction of the Catechetical programmes.
This brief statement describes a richly rewarding Mercy apostolate in one of the poorest areas of the capital with an even increasing mix of people from many cultures and faiths.
Over the years the sisters in the community have changed and hence the ministry of the community has evolved.
The present two sisters work at National and Diocesan level; Margaret with people who are deaf and Monica in areas of spiritual growth and the facilitation of various groups. Accompaniment of individuals has included advocacy and support of asylum seekers. Often we host groups in the house for retreats and other events.
We have links to several small projects in Uganda and have been able to support some small self sustaining charities which are now flourishing.
These projects use recycled materials, items we have gathered from people who have discarded them in our area, but are like “gold dust” in poor countries. We have been able to connect several families here to orphaned children and they now pay the school fees for these youngsters
2008 saw concerted efforts to draw the attention of the world to the whole area of Climate Change. Our Sisters took part in several events during the year, in particular the mass lobby of Members of Parliament in April. Monica joined others in Westminster Hall to press the MPs to pass legislation to reduce drastically the UK’s fossil fuel emissions.
Margaret’s ministry is primarily with people who are deaf and hard of hearing in the Brentwood Diocese. She organises pastoral care and spiritual support through Conferences, retreats, liturgies and home visits. The signed masses raise awareness of the communication needs of those who are deaf and hard of hearing plus sharing the beauty of B.S.L.
Our garden continues to provide several vegetables and herbs during the summer months as well as a playground for children and enjoyment for others who visit us. We also enjoy the birds who call for food and a bath all year round. We sometimes have evidence of visits from a fox!
Our neighbours benefit from Monica’s skill and expertise and receive cuttings and advice in order to improve their gardens. Our Romanian neighbours vied with us to see who could produce the most tomatoes! It is rewarding to walk into the garden and pick the salad to be eaten moments later