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Come, Celebrate, Give Thanks in the United Kingdom!

The invitation read simply “Come Celebrate Give Thanks".  So we came, all the Sisters of our region - apart from four who were unavoidably absent - and we celebrated and gave thanks.

For Sister Mary Campion (on left in photo) we gave thanks for a century (and 2 days) of living, for 82 plus years of Religious Life and for all 100 years as a well - loved and lovingly devoted member of the Campion family.

For Sister Mary Coen we gave thanks for 60 years of loving, selfless and tireless ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace, a ministry and membership which she filled, and continues to fill, with quiet gentleness and grace.

Our Thanksgiving started in the Chapel. Margaret Byrne welcomed all of us, especially Mary Campion's brother, Billy, her nephew, Louis, and Sister Susan Richert, the Vicar for Religious in Nottingham Diocese. Fr. Binu, one of the chaplains from Radcliffe, celebrated Mass which had been prepared by the Sisters. His homily was very personal to the Sisters, and we were touched when he said his own vocation in Religious Life as a Rosminian was strengthened every time he saw the Sisters and he hoped he could continue as faithfully as the Sisters did. We enjoyed his account of how Mary Campion, outspoken and very publically in the chapel, complimented him on his good looks when he got rid of his beard!

Lunch was a truly festive occasion.

Elaine, with help from Julie and the Sisters, prepared and served a gourmet meal. Conversation flowed as freely as the drinks that were served and there was a lot of reminiscing and laughter. Cakes were cut, champagne was poured and everyone toasted the two special people of the day.

Louis Campion spoke about Mary's visits home with Madeleine each summer. No doubt, our thoughts turned to Madeleine then, so our rejoicing was tinged with sadness and loss. Mary, we learnt, still has letters that Madeleine wrote from 1947 and a collection of exercise books which Madeleine used as a diary and sent to Mary, detailing family events and even telling about Billy's antics on the day Louis' father and mother were married.

Mary Coen, in her own quiet way, thanked everyone for being with her, expressed her delight in the celebration and her gratitude to all who had worked so hard to make a perfect day.

Mary Campion had a special greeting card from Queen Elizabeth, a personal letter from Michael D. O'Higgins, the President of Ireland, and a telegram of congratulations from the Department for Work and Pensions. These are indeed a great honour - though I did hear a whisper regarding the telegram; were they wondering how many more years they would have to pay a pension!

Many more, we hope and pray.


Thanks to:

Eileen Byrne, CSJP for the article

Maureen Brennan, CSJP for the photos

Billy Campion, Mary Campion, CSJP, Mary Coen, CSJP, Louis Campion enjoying the festivities!Mary Campion, CSJP celebrating her 100th birthday with Mary Coen, CSJP who is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee!
Come, Celebrate, Give Thanks in the United Kingdom!

"If our role as messengers of God’s good news means anything to us, the chorus of people begging for peace will touch a special place in our hearts. "

Patricia Lynch, CSJP