The Stechford and Handsworth Mercy Associates met for a day’s Retreat in St Mary's Convent - Catherine’s last foundation. There was a great buzz of meeting and greeting on arrivals.
The Associates had asked to learn more about Catherine so the theme of the day was “Walking where Catherine walked.”
Sister Kathleen introduced the day and informed the group that she had received a message that morning for another Mercy woman to attend and was that ok? To the groups surprise ...Venerable Catherine herself (Sister Noreen), walked in and told us all of how she founded this house in Birmingham in 1841. It was a very moving experience as she relived the memories of those early days.
As she left we really felt the day had begun and especially as she reminded the Associates that Mercy started with two associates. The refrain “She is here, She is moving among us” was sung as we did actually feel her presence with us.
The morning was spent going back to our beginnings, both through the life of Catherine and the development of St Mary’s to the Centre as it is today. The Associates felt free to ask and contribute to the input. It was a lively session. We then literally walked where Catherine had walked as we did a tour of the house.
Our afternoon session began with a reflection on one of Catherine’s letters from this house, led by Sister Maureen. We were then encouraged to find a quiet place in the house, reread the letter and then write our own letter to Catherine as we were feeling today.
Sister Maura concluded the day with a reflection and prayer on all the happenings of the day, emphasising greatly the role of the Mercy Associates.
The day could not be over without a good cup of tea and a 21st Century Roger de Coverley Scottish country dance music, and Abba!