“SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness...”

My English teacher was very keen on this poem. When we moved to the Five Valleys 12 years ago I could see why.

We look across the A419 towards Minch, and every day gets more golden. But it’s not so much the environment that holds my fascination.
It’s people.

Lately at Brownshill Monastery we have had a series of celebrations... all with older people. The first was a 90th birthday.

You might expect to find animated celebrations at a 19th birthday. But this was a nonagenarian, retired social worker, with a host of friends and colleagues, so inspired by her work and just by the person she still is, that they gathered here from across the country to enjoy her company.

We listened spellbound to a flow of anecdotes, and each time she was ready to cap one memory with another of her own.

The second was the Diamond Jubilee of one of our Sisters, who made her vows 60 years ago! Once again the house throbbing with animation.

Flowers and cards and cakes were arriving at one door, as friends and family arrived at the other, travelling by plane, train and taxi.

Once again it wasn’t so much what we were putting on for her; it was the Sister’s own sense of celebration and love of life that caused the buzz.

There was a lifetime of services and achievements to mark... and everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, knows her special touch!

In each of these celebrations, the centre of their life, the still point of their turning world was clearly a closeness to God that I can only marvel at.

None of the trials of the passing years dims their joy.


Monastery of Our Lady and St Bernard