Tuesday, 13 March 2012

End of An Era in Eastbourne

Bishop Kieran with the Sisters
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel & Brighton recently celebrated Mass at St Agnes in thanksgiving for the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions’ ministry at Whitley Road. The Sisters' Order has decided to withdraw the community of from Eastbourne. This Mass was an opportunity for both the local parish and the community to give thanks for the many years of dedicated service. Fr Raglan Hay-Wills, parish priest and Fr Séamus Hester, former parish priest concelebrated. There were then refreshments in the hall afterwards were the Sisters were pictured with Bishop Kieran.

The Sisters' website reports:
In July 1977, when the first three sisters of Our Lady of the Missions arrived in 66 Whitely Road, Fr. Sullivan, the parish priest at that time was heard to say, “The coming of the sisters marks the beginning of a new era in our parish and I am sure that they will make a great contribution to our future.”

35 years on, priests, parishioners and sisters came together, on February 26th 2012 to mark the end of an era – the closure of the convent at Whitely Road and the departure of Sisters Anna and Bernardine from the parish of St. Agnes. Down through the years, 36 sisters in all have lived and worked in this parish and Sisters Anna and Bernardine come at the end of a long line of sisters who by their ministry and service have made ‘a great contribution’ to the people of Eastbourne.

While the day was tinged with sadness, it was an opportunity to give thanks for the wonderful things God has accomplished in and through the faithful and generous ministry of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions over 35 years. Bishop Kieran Conry, of Arundel and Brighton celebrated a mass of thanksgiving with us and afterwards all sampled the wonderful buffet prepared by the Social Committee of St. Agnes’ parish.
It is impossible to name all the good works that the sisters have engaged in and the lives they have touched but as members of a missionary Congregation they are truly ‘women with a heart for the world’ who are ready to ‘serve wherever there is a need’.

In the photo are Sr. Cecilia Cleary (PLT member) Sr. Anna Healey (Eastbourne Community) Right Reverend Kieran Conry, (Bishop of Arundel and Brighton) S. Louise Shields (Provincial Leader) and Sr. Bernardine Corcoran (Eastbourne Community) who were among those who attended the function.

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