On the evening of 27th June, a Mass was celebrated by Rt Rev. Bishop Richard Moth in Holy Redeemer Church, Hollington in thanksgiving for the opening of the FMSL Novitiate house in Upper Church Road. The new convent is a house belonging to the Parish opposite the Holy Redeemer Church and the adjacent Convent of Poor Clares. It is planned that the new Novitiate community will collaborate with the Poor Clares in some prayers and community activities.
Concelebrants at the Mass were the diocesan Vicar for religious, Fr. Stephen Ortiger OSB as well as the Parish priest, Fr. Miceal Beatty and Fr. Desmond Baker. Franciscan Sisters and friends of the FMSL with Poor Clare Sisters and parishioners joined in the thanksgiving Mass. After the service, Bishop Richard, carrying the Blessed Sacrament, led the Congregation in procession across the road to the convent. There, the Blessed Sacrament was solemnly installed with prayer and thanksgiving in the tabernacle of the convent chapel.
Afterwards, the Bishop, priests, guests and Sisters gathered for refreshments in the house and garden. A group of FMSL members did a dance of thanksgiving outside the house.
The new Novitiate house is named La Verna, after the mountain on which St. Francis received the gift of the stigmata in 1224, at the end of a forty-day retreat. To this same mountain in 1259, the Franciscan theologian St. Bonaventure withdrew in solitude to reflect upon this miraculous event in St. Francis’ life. The result of these meditations was his great spiritual work ‘The Journey of the Mind into God’.
We thank God for the support of Bishop Richard and the generous welcome received from Fr. Beatty, members of the parish and Poor Clare Community. Their help and prayers have enabled us to set out on this new venture with hope and trust in God. We invite you to join us in praying that the FMSL continue to be blessed with new vocations and that the community in La Verna together with the Poor Clares will bear fruit in a growing Franciscan witness in the future.