When charity and union of hearts reign in community, the Lord is there. Guard this precious treasure well. . .
(Euphrasie Barbier 1867)
On December 18th Wealdstone welcomed Sr Gertrude Atua from Wewak, Papua New Guinea, to spend Christmas with us. Gertrude is presently studying at St Anselm’s, Cliftonville and during the holiday break had to find a place for Christmas so her provincial contacted us, knowing that we had previously been on mission to Papua New Guinea to ask for advice about where to send Gertrude during the Christmas break that would be gentle and understanding toward her. Gertrude belongs to a Local Congregation, founded in 1952 by Archbishop Leo Arkfeld in Wewak, the extreme north coast of Papua Guinea, calling them the Rosary Sisters; consequently, they have no communities overseas or connected to any other European congregation.
The community in Spencer Road invited her to stay during which time she would have a chance to meet everyone in Wealdstone as we came together for the Christmas festivities. Rose Mary was able to take her around the city, especially to see the haus of Missus Quin (Buckingham Palace), and to meet the PNG High Commissioner, HE. Winnie Kiap, who welcomed us graciously with coffee and many stories shared in Pidgin. Rose Mary was able to meet up also with two other participants at St Anselm’s who were her former seminarian students: a Solomon Islander and a Fijian, now Marist priests, staying at Notre Dame des France, Leicester Square for their holidays.
Both Margaret Doherty and Rose Mary were able to brush up their Melanesian Pidgin to make Gertrude feel at home and spent time to stori about people we all know in the Highlands and Port Moresby. She was delighted to meet the three sisters in Wealdstone who had been to her country on Mission, and met with Rose Mullan when she was welcomed in Sturry for her final days of her holiday. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to Beechcourt to meet with Roseann Hamill or for her to get to Ireland to see Marie Lawlor who she remembered seeing as a young girl coming to her village… it was the gap between the teeth that gave Marie away!
The sisters in Euphrasie Barbier Community, Sturry welcomed Gertrude for the few remaining days of the holiday and we enjoyed a rainy day out in Canterbury with Winifred, literally “singing in the rain” on our way home.
Gertrude wishes to thank each of the sisters in 108, 192 and 176 and EB for their personal greeting to her and warm welcome and she extends to us all her gratefulness and promise of prayers. Each day in Sturry she prayed at the tomb of Euphrasie firstly not only thanking her for sending RNDMs to her country but also to send more RNDMs in the years to come!!!
Sr. Rose Mary Harbinson, Rndm