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Our love & prayers
for a very Blessed Christmas

May the New Year
be kind to each one of you.

           click on picture


The days are getting shorter & darker but as these Advent weeks draw to an end the Advent wreath grows brighter. As we light it for Morning & Evening Prayer it helps us to remember that the Light of the World is almost here, that in every dark moment of our lives there is hope. Carlo Carretto tells us that 'Everything that is worthwhile must be waited for'.



Mary is the model of how we should be living our Advent. She is our strength in times of difficulty, our hope in times of doubt & distraction, our consolation in times of distress. Mary is pregnant with Jesus; she teaches us in a gentle yet powerful way to listen to Him. Her whole being cries out her Magnificat, which assures me that I can change, I can be transformed if like her I just say 'Yes, Fiat'. Caryll Houselander likens her to 'an empty, hollow reed, waiting to receive the piper's breath & to utter the song that is in his heart.'
 Come Lord Jesus come, Maranatha!



Welcome & Au Revoir are very much part of the fabric of our daily lives. Srs. Joanna Elizabeth & Mary Paul, Anglican Sisters of Bethany, have been with us for a few days, learning more about our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales, whose spirituality inspires their daily lives. We have a custom to pray a blessing over our guests as they leave.

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During this time of waiting to welcome Jesus let us see how many others we can welcome in His name during these gentle, still days.     'May the Lord bless you,
may He lay His hands upon you
and keep you as the apple of his eye.
May His love protect you
may he keep you from all evil
and Jesus be the way you travel by.'

In our busy, often frenetic world we all crave solitude. As our lives become more pressured we look for that space of 'aloneness'; we dream about it, perhaps fantasise about it. But do we allow it to happen, do we give ourselves permission  to go 'within', to find time to reflect & be still? Advent is approaching, a time of waiting & longing; perhaps a little solitude will allow our days to prepare us for the coming of Jesus.



Can you tell where Sister ends & the giant cabbage begins? It's certainly been a great cabbage harvest this year; they have been an amazing size, I think Sister has been praying over them! Tonight we go into retreat for three days prior to renewing our vows on the feast of the Presentation, November 21st. Please remember us in prayer as we will you.




It's always good to praise God for the gift of life. A few days ago Sr Clare Chantal celebrated a birthday & we had cake for tea!




Last Sunday we had our monthly meeting of the Daughters of St Francis de Sales; always a very happy few hours spent together in prayer, sharing, laughter & support. Next year our group will celebrate 25 years of existence. The Daughters are a lay branch of the Salesian family, based on the writings of St Francis de Sales & the Gospel, offering a path to holiness in an often busy daily life.
"Let us be who we are & be it well".
                                  St Francis de Sales



A child's world is fresh & new & beautiful, full of wonder & excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful & awe-inspiring, is dimmed & even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructable that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom & disenchantment of later years . . . the alienation from the sources of our strength.
    Rachel Carson - 'The Sense of Wonder'



Sr Mary Blogerina is  going into her 12 day retreat this evening, so please pray for her conversion & 



Last month Mother M. Joseph & Sr Jane Margaret went to our monastery of Caen to a Federation meeting. It is here in this monastery that Leonie Martin, St Therese's sister, was a Visitation nun. As Leonie's cause for beatification is going forward her body was moved from the monastery crypt to the Extern church; many pilgrims come to visit & seek her intercession.



More celebrations! This time because this year we have three 70th birthdays. Our Mother Mary Joseph & two of our Daughters of St Francis de Sales, Geraldine & Sue. So a joint party was in order & we had a great time; there was lots of laughter, singing, music, reminiscing & eating, we ended with Vespers together. How blessed we are with friends. 




It's been a busy week meeting a new four legged friend called Lily & celebrating Sr Mary Dorothy's 99th birthday.




During these three days of the National Eucharistic Congress celebrations taking place in Liverpool, we are having three full days of Eucharistic Adoration, before Jesus in the Blessed Sacarment; uniting ourselves with all those attending.




More sunflowers, & more to come. Either we are growing giant plants or Sr M. Teresa is shrinking!


I can't believe it's already the month of September, where has the year gone? Traditionally towards the end of this month we celebrate Harvest Festival; as this year has been so different weather-wise, I wonder if the fruits of the earth will reflect this? Some farmers have really been struggling because of drought & extreme heat, however our small patch of kitchen garden has been fruitful with green beans, tomatoes, courgettes & marrows, spinach & advocados. One super-market in the U.K. is selling 'wonky vegetables' as a new gimmik, do you think our radishes could apply to join that family? For us they just remind us that we live in a place of love.




Not everything is as it seems especially at first glance. We can look at something & what we see can be different to what is seen by others. When others look at us what do they see, can they see Jesus? The mystery of our faith is that we are called to believe when others doubt, to see when others are blind & to love when others hate.

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We've just finished the Novena to St Jane de Chantal as this evening we begin 1st Vespers for the Solemnity of her Feast. We have Adoration all day tomorrow & will remember you & all your intentions before the Lord on this beautiful feast. We unite with our sisters throughout the world in love, prayer & thanksgiving for our vocations.

'My Beloved I want to keep for You alone the garden of my heart, give me the grace . . . .

that my whole soul may remain completely occupied with You,

my only consolation, my most sweet refuge.’

    St Jane de Chantal ~ Plon III  28



Our first sunflower is out; they have all been a bit battered by strong winds & rain, but are nevertheless still majestic & beautiful. St Francis de Sales says that we must imitate them because -
" Some flowers turn their petals towards the sun, the sunflower however turns not only its flowers but its leaves as well. In the same way all God's chosen ones turn their hearts towards God's will by keeping His commandments."



We found an old picture of our Choir when it used to be the gymnasium of the boys prep school that was here, run by the Xavian brothers in the 1940/50's.



Over the past weeks, like everywhere, it has been so dry & hot so the couple of hours of light rain yesterday was very welcome & much appreciated by our kitchen garden & sister gardeners. The soil, being clay, is like concrete, but we do have some gallant vegetables that have managed to battle their way up to the surface! Now we wait to hear if & when we'll have a hose ban!



We sit in our refectory under the gaze of our First Mothers on the walls above us. For us as Visitandines what imprint have these first Mothers left us? We have all inherited traits from our parents & grandparents, not only in physical appearance but in more subtle ways; we carry their imprint within us. There are people that bring us into the world & there are those who show us the way through. This is what Our Holy Founders & First Mothers do for us in our vowed life: show us the way. These Mothers are our spiritual ancestors who have marked our lives. The Visitandine way lives & breathes down the centuries & builds on the legacy that they left & which each generation inherits & lives anew.




"He who sings, prays twice"says St Augustine. We are blessed in singing the Lord's praises five times a day in the Divine Office & also at Mass each morning. Like any group some sisters have better voices than others, but when we are praising God we are 'singing' with our hearts as well as our voices & in our hearts we can all reach the top C's! We are also fortunate to have Sr Jane Margaret accompanying us on the zither which as well as keeping us on the right note adds a beautiful, delicate sound.
'Let us sing a new song to the Lord for He has done marvellous deeds'.




On Wednesday 4th July we held the funeral for our dear Sr M. Elizabeth. Mass at noon was concelebrated by 4 priests Fr Jim, our chaplain, Fr Martin O.S.B. Fr Thomas O. Prem. & Fr Richard, a priest of the Birmingham diocese. Together with friends we sang God's praises as we celebrated sister's life & accompanied her on her last journey.
May she rest in peace.

click on picture
 to see funeral   pictures

click picture
to read Fr Jim's


Yesterday our dear Sr Mary Elizabeth went home to God. Sister was 92 years old & next year would have celebrated her Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession. Within the community she had been Superior, Infirmarian, & Bursar, the latter for many years & partly still up to her death. She loved gardening & the rose garden had been her pride & joy. A Yorkshire woman; nurse & midwife for many years, she had a great wit & sense of humour, always with a twinkle in her blue eyes! She was much loved & we will miss her.




There is great 'busyness' in the cloister courtyard, potting out & potting on. It's looking very pretty with magnificent roses, poppies & herbs. The hanging baskets are being planted & the sunflowers are seeking a sun-drenched spot. These bright, sunny days are inviting for spending time amidst God's beauty.


8.6.18.             Sacred Heart

On this special feast of the Sacred Heart we share with you our joy-filled news that yesterday Sr Mary Joseph was re-elected as our Superior. Rev Fr. Stephen Ortiger, our Vicar for Religious, came to officiate.
God be praised!




Our Queen bee died! Now Sr Jane Margaret has a new swarm in the hive with a new queen & we are hoping that the old & new families will mingle well together.
In the process of bringing the hive back to the park Donna, who with Sr Clare Chantal was helping, got stung! We had been wondering what to call the path leading up to the hive, thinking Honey Lane might be pretty, now it's called Sting Alley!




This evening we begin First Vespers for the feast of the Visitation. Before the Blessed Sacrament we will remember you all in our prayers; for yourselves, your families & all your intentions. May Our Blessed Lady enfold you in her special care.

'If the mind can say nothing, let the heart speak. Though we had nothing else to say to God than to tell Him that we love Him & that He is worthy of love; that is enough.'
  St Jane de Chantal


Last week Mother Mary Joseph & Sr Jane Margaret attended the A.B.C. conferences & meetings at Hindsley Hall in Leeds. The is the Association of British Contemplatives; among other things they discussed the new paper out from Rome for Contemplatives, 'Cor Orans'. It was well attended by Sisters from many different contemplative orders.



As we approach Trinity Sunday here are a few pics of the monastery & surroundings. Glory be to the Father & to the Son & to the Holy Spirit. Amen.



We've been to a wedding as I'm sure many of you have. Last Saturday we spent the day in Windsor via BBC TV & it was all wonderful; we'd put the bunting up, the Union Jack napkins, red roses & decorations were out, the pink sparkling wedding wine was poured & we were all set! Amid a glorious sun-filled day we celebrated with millions of others the wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan; especially as they are now the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, our home county! Perhaps they'll come to visit one day?

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Click here for video


We are in retreat for these 3 days prior to the feast of Pentecost; with early mass the days are long & full of prayer. The other evening at Vespers we had the windows in Choir open & a blackbird accompanied us, it was so beautiful, he seemed to be singing because we were, joining in praising God. He even reached the top notes better than we did!




We have re-arranged the stalls in Choir, see if you like them. During this month of Our Lady we, as a community, are sharing together each week the beautiful book 'Be it done unto me ' compiled by David Payne, who tells us it is a book about the most important woman who ever lived - Mary, the Mother of God. It's accompanied by 5 DVD sessions each lasting 25 minutes; we are enjoying this little journey with Our Lady during the month of May.




It's bluebell season & the woods have turned into a lake; a blue misty haze everywhere you look.
'I do not think I have seen anything more beautiful than the bluebell I have been looking at. I know the beauty of Our Lord by it'.
                            Gerad Manley Hopkins



Today is Good Shepherd Sunday when we thank Mother Mary Joseph for being our Good Shepherd & pray especially for vocations to the priesthood & religious life. Our tradition at Waldron is to have a spring flower decked crook & to sing 'All in an April morning'.



The sun is out in a blue sky, the birds are singing & the little spring flowers are popping up everywhere. Our hearts & souls are lifted by God's beauty in spring. What's not to dance about?


We are all unique, we are all special; in God's eyes we are all precious. Our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales says that we must 'Be who we are & be that well'. We should treasure our differentness. Jesus turned the Disciples' world upside down & He does the same to us, but that's okay because we've said 'yes' & we love Him.



Today for us is March 25th as we celebrate the feast of the Annunciation! For us it is a 'Sunday' with adoration before the Blessed Sacrament all day as we rejoice with Mary in our 'Fiat'  & more so as we also celebrate today Sr Jane Margaret's Pearl Jubilee of profession & the Solemn Final Profession of three of our Vietnamese sisters in our monastery of Caen.
God be praised!



Click on the picture to share our Easter days.


1.4.18.     Easter Sunday

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Easter Blessings,
 love & prayers to you all.

25.3.18.                    Palm Sunday 

And so the most holiest of the Church's weeks begins; we are in retreat from tonight onwards & will remember you all in prayer. We wish you a very blessed & grace-filled week. Click on picture.


         'Blessed is he who
comes in the name of the Lord'


This past week we celebrated World Down's Syndrome Day & among the many articles printed I read this - click on the picture.


To see the Carpool Karaoke
of Mums & their children
go to the link below


Yesterday Sr Columba, an Augustinian sister of Mercy & our dear friend of over 30 years, visited as she was over for a few days from Ireland. It was so good to see her & to catch up on news. God is good to give us such faithful friends. Click on the picture.


                           St Joseph

214 years ago today 3 French sisters, originally from our monastery of Rouen, came over from Portugal, where they had fled during the French Revolution, & founded the Visitation Order in England. They had a perilous journey, encountering pirates but by grace & in great trust they persevered. Originally 6 sisters had left our monastery of Lisbon in an English packet ship & while at sea they were attacked by pirates; their lives were spared because they were French, not English! They returned safely to Vigo in Spain; after a brief stay they attempted a second crossing & this time were successful, arrivng in Falmouth 29th January 1804, the old feastday of St Francis de Sales. They later journied to Acton where the first Monastery of the Visitation was established on the feast of St Joseph 1804.



Lent is a good time to enter into & to practise silence; there isn't much of it in our world today, it's as if we're frightened of it; we always have to have the ear phones in, the music on, the constant chatter. Yet there is a great call to silence for all of us. Nature itself thrives in silence, all that grows does so in silence, often unheard & unseen. In a few days it will be the feast of St Joseph, truly a man of silence. John O'Donohue puts it beautifully.  Click on the picture.



Those who are familiar with the writings of our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales, know that bees figure prominently in the examples he uses to illustrate different aspects of the spiritual life. During these weeks of Lent we share an exerpt from his homily on Ash Wednesday, 9th February 1622. It highlights his affection & admiration of bees.
Click on the bee.



Greetings from our winter wonderland on this feast of St David. More snow is promised today & tomorrow but we are fortunate we don't have to venture out to work in these conditions, as many do. Keep safe & warm.



St Francis de Sales was all about balance, so he would encourage us to have a balanced view of fasting & feasting during Lent. He would advise us to spend these weeks of Lent in a meaningful & joyful way. Click on picture opposite to see some ideas from William Ward, an American Pastor & Novelist.



Our Holy Founder, St Francis de Sales, told us to 'bloom where you are planted', I think that's exactly what God whispered to these trees! How wonderful is nature in it's courage & beauty.


14.2.18.                Ash Wednnesday

Lent is all about love, so it's apt that Ash Wednesday this year falls on St Valentines day. We may spend the next 6 weeks giving something up or trying to achieve something positive, but perhaps a good challenge would be to just 'let God love us'! Edwina Gately puts it beautifully in her poem. I wish you a very blessed & prayerful Lent.



A bit of fun & laughter helps with
the clearing up after supper during
this Shrove-tide. 



. . . . and again today. There is a 'hush' in the air as the snow gently falls, blanketing the earth; some poor daffodils are trying to make an appearance but are now heavily weighed down by snow! It certainly is magical to see.



Look what we woke up to this morning, so beautiful but gone by midday. Hope you are all managing to keep warm.



The word 'Eucharist' means thanksgiving; how blessed are we who live in a monastery where the Holy Eucharist is preserved.  Henri Nouwen tells us that to live a Eucharistic life has everything to do with gratitude; for us as contemplatives, the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, is the centre of our lives, our raison d'etre. On all big feastdays we celebrate by having Exposition & adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all day, as we do each 1st Friday of the month & each evening for prayer after Vespers. We live our lives in gratitude to a God who lies hidden in a small wafer of bread; who does not impose Himself on us but patiently waits for us to come before Him.




Tomorrow we celebrate, with our sisters all over the world, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, beginning at first Vespers this evening. Together we give thanks for our vocation within the Church, we ask Our Holy Founder to bless our communities that we may each 'Live Jesus' where He has called us to be, & to enfold within that calling all those who journey with us in love & faith. We remember you all in prayer.



? Sorry self-portraits!!! 

Apart from many days of cold & flu bugs to start this new year, we have also enjoyed a visit from the Waldron Pealers who came to play their hand bells one afternoon. It is such a skill, the ladies are so lovely & we thoroughly enjoyed their visit. Thank you for sharing  with us, see you next year!



Another year, another page! In Jimmy McGovern's TV programme 'Broken' each time the priest met with someone he would light a candle, as he said 'To show that Christ is here with us'. Every Sunday morning on Radio 2, Rev Kate Bottley lights a virtual candle 'In remembrance of people we love'. That little flickering flame can mean so much to so many, it can be a symbol of many different things, lighting up for just a few seconds, the needs we carry in our hearts. On New Year's Eve we lit our candles & in a short Vigil we gave thanks & praise to God for all the blessings of the old year & our 'Fiat' & hopes of what this New Year will bring. In your heart today light your candle, pray to be a light for someone else this year; it doesn't have to be a strong flame, it can flicker & be barely visible, but we will never know what it has meant for others.