A timely overview of the Staff Service at Llantarnam Abbey on 28/4/2023
The use of the theme of ‘Time’ by Sr. Susan as the backdrop for this celebratory service was inspirational on many levels as it helped us connect with Past, Present and Future, with the focus very much on people, relationships, mission and the enduring bonds that endure through time. In this context you will understand the frequent use of the word time in what follows.
In good time present staff along with some of our past staff began gathering in the chapel for the service at 2.30 p.m. The main altar had meaningful items all connected with the theme of ‘Time’ and was very much a focal point of our celebration. It was heartwarming to see the joyful re-connections and re-unions taking place as former members of staff met our Sisters and present members of staff.
An outline of the service is as follows;
Welcome by Sr.Susan
CD: A time to remember by Liam Lawton
Reading from Ecclesiastes: – There’s a time for everything….
Thoughts from Sr. Susan followed.
Susan outlined her memories from the time she entered in 1974 until the present. Sister linked these memories with the changes over time in facilities, work patterns, relationships, health of the sisters and associated issues such as increasing reliance on lay staff both inside and outside the Abbey. Susan expressed gratitude for our shared experiences and for the support of staff who enable us to live life as fully as we can. The end of Susan’s talk invited us all to look forward to a different future but a future where the spirit of communion and co-operation will still be evident.
Poem: Time you Old Gypsy Man
Ritual of Remembrance with Roses:
This was a moving ritual during which 6 different members of staff processed from the back of the chapel to present a yellow rose to
Sr. Marianne at the altar. Each rose was placed in a prepared vase on the altar and symbolised gratitude for many gifts such as good times, good employees, protection during Covid times, remembrance of deceased colleagues and Sisters and the final rose presented was one entrusting our future time to Divine Providence. The time taken for this simple but effective ritual, was in itself, a silent tribute to all our staff, past, present and future.
The ritual ended with the Our Father
David Watts and Jayne Dibble as senior members of staff then spoke of their
relationship with us and our mission as Sisters of St.Joseph and how they hoped to continue alongside us, sharing our vision of Love and Unity in our new locations.
The service ended with a blessing prayer after which Sr. Susan concluded our celebration by once again reminding us of our vision/charism which remains unchanging over time.
We then happily gathered in the Library for a lovely spread of refreshments organized by David and Jayne
This was a relaxing time and an opportunity to re-connect with people who had retired for some time.
A souvenir postcard of the Abbey organized by David Watts was given to each person.
So well done Susan and your Team for this celebration. You were certainly practising in a unique way that maxim; “Be concerned about the good use of time…….. Yes there is certainly a time for everything.