LONDON Indirizzo: sr. M. Lucina Toone Flat 4 Drury Lane Kondon WC 2B 5TA
A HAPPY PENSIONER: I AM THE NUN OF THE PARISH
In the true Rosminian spirit, most of my religious life took place every four years in different convents in the province and mainly in schools. Finally I was in the Convent in Loughborough for many years. When it came time to retire, the parents and staff of the Sacred Heart School thought I would not live as a pensioner. Not knowing what God’s will had in store for me, I began to lie without telling anyone that I was going elsewhere, probably to New Zealand. A lot of my friends said they would come with me. My sister Brenda preceded me and bought tickets for the trip. How could I have faced the Mother Provincial with this request?
Imagine my surprise when I was given permission for my home visit in the same year. . After spending three wonderful weeks out and about in that wonderful country, I returned to the UK and spent the next three months in Killea, County Waterford, Ireland. On January 4, 2004 I moved to London, where I began to live in retirement in the convent of St. Etheldreda in Ely Place; I had in me dear memories very happy of that place having lived there for four years, when I was young. That first year was so intense that I didn’t have time to suffer from nostalgia for school; in fact there was just no time to look back. In Lent 2005 I received a phone call from the Archbishop’s Curia of Westminster: they asked me to be responsible for the keys of the Church of SS Anselmo and Cecilia in Kingsway. There was no reason to refuse. I just needed permission from my superiors. Archbishop Longley phoned me asking me to collect the keys to the rectory. I had to ask him where the rectory was located and where the church was. He gave me directions and we decided to meet in the porch of the church. For the first three weeks, as there was no resident priest, Archbishop Longley and Archbishop Pila asked me to cover all services. After three weeks Fr. David Barnes, the new parish priest, arrived I offered him the keys of the church, as my duty, but to my great surprise he replied: “When I want them, I will ask you. The Church of Sts Anselm and Cecilia is one of the churches located in central London, named Kingsway in honour of King Edward VII, part of the project to improve central London. The church was built to replace the Sardinian chapel on Duke Street. The entire Holborn area is steeped in history. St Thomas More had its own rooms at Lincoln Inn. In
Lincoln Inn Fields is the place of execution of many martyrs who passed with great suffering through Holborn from Tower Hill to the place of their execution which was in Marble Arch. Part of the silverware of the Sardinian Embassy is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In the western part of the chapel of the Madonna there is the exhibition of the Sardinian Royal coats of arms that was used to hang over the organ in the ancient chapel of the Sardinian Embassy. The home of St John Henry Newman can be seen at 17 Southampton Place, where Newman lived until 1816. Walking through Holborn I realize that I am taking the same steps as many martyrs. This is the area where I have the privilege of living and working. As a parish nun what do I do all day? It’s hard to say. Prayer and hope in God are at the top of the list. My instinctive reaction to the question is: be prepared for any eventuality. For example, I visit the sick and prepare for the sacraments. I have just finished a course of preparation for the first Confession and Communion with twenty-four children of the elementary school of St. Joseph. I prepare adults for Baptism and Confirmation, I take care of the liturgy for children at Sunday Mass at ten o’clock. Sometimes I write the Sunday bulletin. I contribute to the administration of the quest, I provide for the reorganization of the heads of linen of the church, I prepare the altar for religious services and I celebrate the Liturgy of the Word when the parish priest is not available because of other tasks. These are just some of the services I undertake; it can be summed up with the words “availability, that is, being ready for anything. To return to the holborn area where I live and work, I would like to share with you the Kingsway Litany that lists all the martyrs linked to this place; this will help you understand why I feel like walking on sacred ground.
Indirizzo: sr. M. Lucina Toone
WC 2B 5TA