Parish Celebrates 50 Years of Sisters' Presence and Ministry

Today the Parish celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the arrival of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Saint Aubin) to begin their work and ministry in Headington.  Fr Mervyn celebrated each of the weekend Masses for the intention of the Sisters, and he presented Sister Marie-Ann, the sole remaining Sister of the Order in England, with a bronze plaque which will be hung in the Church as a permanent expression of gratitude for their contribution to the life of the Parish. Sr Marie Ann spoke of the importance of the vocation of the Sisters, and their trust in God always to open new doors.

The Plaque reads: 
In grateful thanks to God for the presence
and ministry in our Parish of the
Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Saint Aubin)
on the fiftieth anniversary of their arrival
in Headington
1968 – 2018

After the 11am Mass, the Parish gathered in the hall for a celebration feast. Over 100 parishioners had prepared a bring and share lunch – and the tables were laden with wonderful dishes from across the culinary world, representing the rich and diverse multi-cultural backgrounds of the Corpus Christi Community.  People sat in family groups or with friends, and the conversation was lively and entertaining as people shared memories of the Sisters who had served the community over the years.

Even the Parish Live Simply theme was worked into the event as people carefully separated foodstuffs and recyclable plates and glasses into different bags, so that we would play our part in contributing to the goal of sustainability.

The Sisters moved into the Priory in Old High Street from Barnes in Southwark when they reluctantly sold their house to the Archdiocese of Southwark to enable a Catholic School to be opened.  Fortunately for the Parish, the enclosed Dominican Sisters, who had lived in the Priory until 1967, were keen to sell the convent to another group of Sisters, and they approached the Barnes community who were able to purchase the Priory from them, and so maintain the daily Mass which the Dominican Sisters were keen to secure. 

The Sisters have played very significant roles in the Parish over the years.  Their Priory was always recognized as a welcoming and loving community – and Sisters at various times took on responsibilities for parish finances and music, for accommodating and looking after students, working with the elderly and infirm, and especially for education, a role which has been particularly close to Sister Marie Ann’s heart.

A History of the Sisters in Headington, Remembering 50 Years of the Presence of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Saint Aubin), has been written by Sister Marie Ann, and is available here or in the Churches of Corpus Christi, Headington, and Our Lady of Lourdes, Wheatley.