Posted on the 29th Jan 2021 in the category News
Evelyn Lucy Hubbard was born in Deal, Kent on 14th June 1930, and was the youngest of three sisters. She grew up in the village of Offwell in Devon, was educated in the local primary school, then at Ottery St Mary and on to Kings College, University of London where she began studies in History. Visits to St Saviour’s Priory, Haggerston with college friends gave her a shock as she received a clear call to enter Religious Life. Paddy, as she was known, did not complete her degree and was received as a Postulant of the Society of St Margaret at St Saviour’s Priory early in 1951 at the age of 20, and clothed as Novice Mary Teresa on 7th August that year, making her Profession in Life Vows on 6th August 1953. Over the years she was sent to assist in various parishes including St Anne’s Hoxton, St Chad‘s Haggerston, Holy Cross Cromer Street and the now redundant St Augustine’s, Haggerston. She was busy in the Priory too with St Michael’s Guild for girls and young women, the Scripture School and Associates. During the early/mid 1970s she was part of the University of London’s Chaplaincy Team based at Christ the King, Gordon Square and was very popular with the students, keeping in touch with many. The St Michael’s Guild continued to meet at intervals and one Sister vividly remembers being asked when a Novice to prepare refreshments for the Girls. She duly did so and wheeled in the trolley at the appropriate time, to be confronted by a group of grey-haired ladies for whom she had made large jugs of orange squash! Laughter was never far away when Teresa was entertaining, and it was not unusual for some funny event to be recounted on the many occasions that she talked to a parish group.
My first meeting with this attractive, friendly Sister was on Kings Cross Station in early Lent 1975 when she had already been Novice Guardian for nearly four years. I was a Postulant from our Aberdeen Convent and had been sent for a month or so to experience life in a larger Community where there was a greater age range. Teresa was immediately a friend and remained so for the rest of her life – my parents regarding her as ‘daughter number 2’ who helped them accept the strange step their own daughter had taken! Whoever she was with had the unspoken sense of being a most important person to Teresa and therefore greatly loved. She really exemplified John Mason Neale’s admonition to his Sisters to ‘Love first, Love midst, Love last’. It was no great surprise to hear that she was elected Mother in March 1978 and was in office until Candlemass 1992. The General Synod vote to allow women to be ordained priest on November 11th that year changed life considerably. Teresa became a staunch member of Forward in Faith and, with Fr. Gregory CSWG, founded ‘Traditional Religious’ to support those Religious who felt isolated in their Community due to their outlook; some time later the name was changed to ‘RooT’ (Religious of orthodox Tradition) and any Religious is welcome to attend meetings as part of our mutual flourishing. Walsingham had been a semi-autonomous dependency of Haggerston for about eight years and Sisters were sent up for two-year terms to help out – the change-over was due so Teresa and two others were moved to Walsingham in March 1993. Tentative enquiries had been made before their departure/arrival and new vocations were soon tested in both SSM Houses. With Teresa at the helm and elected Mother, Walsingham was soon able to return to being an autonomous House.
From the 70s onwards, Teresa had several spells in hospital, but never complained. She suffered from extensive osteoporosis and an associated bone condition so that she was bent almost double, and resulted in her needing spinal surgery in the early years of the decade, followed by lengthy convalescence. I’ve known her only with a very straight back! Her knees became more stiff and painful and bilateral replacements were done and replaced after a further decade. Teresa had been riding a bicycle around Haggerston but that was more problematic now, and a generous benefactor gave her a Honda 90cc that she quickly learned to ride in the early 80s, even travelling all the way to Devon for her holiday! In typical fashion she joined the ‘59 Club’ for Bikers that met in St Augustine’s hall and soon had a whole new circle of friends, most of whom had never before had any contact with a Sister. By the 90s the Haggerston Priory had a car so Teresa learnt to drive – sitting in the passenger seat when she was practising between lessons was a little challenging and sometimes hair-raising, but she passed her test at the first attempt and had the freedom of the roads.
Her ministry to pilgrims, parish groups from elsewhere and parishes in the Walsingham Benefice was greatly loved and valued but that all changed abruptly at the end of January 2016 when she fell and fractured her right humerus. It never healed and her bones were too fragile for pin and plate. She was transferred to St Mary’s Convent and Nursing Home at Chiswick where she received wonderful full nursing care for the remainder of her life. The Chapel is part of the whole complex and she was wheeled there for Mass most days, and also for Divine Office with our Sisters when possible.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.
Sister Mary Teresa SSM (Evelyn Lucy Hubbard) – 14th June 1930-12th January 2021
Professed 6th August 1953
This article was first published in the Church Times on 29 January 2021. To subscribe, please call 01603 785911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on the 11th Nov 2020 in the category News
The Religious Life is at the very centre of our Catholic heritage within the Church of England. Those living the Religious Life represent a beating heart of prayer within our tradition and the wisdom of the cloister has had much to teach us during this time of pandemic. Bishop Tony Robinson is inviting you to join us in a novena of prayer for an increase in vocations to the Religious Life, this novena of prayer is supported by Religious of Orthodox Tradition (RooT), the Church Union and The Society, which is supported by Forward in Faith. The novena will be prayed in the period between the feast of St Hilda, which is marked in some calendars on 17 November (the day she died) and by the Church of England on 19 November, and the holy season of Advent, which begins on 29 November this year. The novena will therefore be prayed from Friday 20 November to Saturday 28 November. Please do join in with this time of prayer and ask God to call more people to serve Him in this way of life.
Posted on the 7th May 2020 in the category News
What has the Religious Life got to teach us during this time of Pandemic?
Posted on the 3rd Oct 2019 in the category News
Exploring vocation to the Religious Life
In the Summer 2019 edition of Together Brother Michael Jacob SSF writes about exploring vocation to the Religious Life.
I knew what I wanted to do with my life when I was six, in fact I knew what I had to do with my life! I wanted to be a monk! I was going to live in the countryside, wear long flowing black robes, look after animals and do lots of reading. The only bit that’s turned out to be true is the reading. – one of my life’s great passions. In my teens there came a change of mind, I didn’t need to be a Religious, I was going to teach English and Drama and live in splendid solitude, coming from a large family that seemed like the ultimate in opulence and luxury! Maybe I’d be ordained later and that would scratch the itch I tried to tell myself! I was so wrong!
Life happened! I made other choices and responded to what I perceived was family need which now I realise was cowardice rather than truth. I ended up working with kids with behavioural and or/special needs for four years – loved it! Then I knew I had to leave, life has been like that for me, I knew instinctively it was time for a change and I went to work for the Credit Union, I really liked that too, pleasing work and helping out good people. One day, I remember it was a gorgeous spring day; hot but a nice breeze and I was scribbling away on reception when suddenly I knew, all I wanted was to be a Religious, I knew it in every part of me, I had to do something about it.
Six months later I found myself at the bottom of the drive at Alnmouth Friary on the Northumberland coast. I had come from Milford Haven in West Wales, nine hours on trains. I looked up at that huge building on a wet December night and it looked like Count Dracula’s castle! I wanted to go home but having got lost walking from the station to the Friary, getting out of the rain won the day. I rang the bell and was greeted by a smiling man in a brown habit and battered sandals and the evocative smells of incense and floor polish. The moment I walked through that door I felt like I had come home, indeed it was to be home for four of the next seven years.
I read a book about St Francis by accident in my late teens and immediately this peculiar and slightly frightening man showed me somebody who loved God completely and it made him the love the world completely; in my spirit I knew it was for me. The whole of life was about the crib, the cross and the altar and taking that message into the world. I also had the joy of praying together, finally with other people, I have always found it easier to pray with people and it’s always preferable to praying alone. I was thrown together with people with the same intentions and aims, people whom, however much we sometimes test each other and fail in charity, people whom only God could bring together who become your family. A family who share their vulnerability and allow you to share yours and, when prayer is doing its work of emptying us out and reforming us, bear with you. Yes, and Amen.
Are all these what a vocation to the Religious Life is? Truth be told I don’t know. But this is my experience and what’s kept me going. In the end it’s about love; learning to love, being changed by it and changing each other. Here in a deprived part of Leeds or in a monastery in Worcester, it’s all the same, the Gospel words ring true and challenge me ‘Lord teach us to pray’ as for the disciples so for me. Again our Lord asking Simon Peter, ‘Do you love me?’ my answer is ‘Yes Lord, I do and I want to; teach me, take it all away and start again’ That I think is what vocation to the Religious Life is.
If you think you may have a vocation to the Religious life and would like to know more, why not come along to our Taster Day, the details of which are on this page.
Brother Michael Jacob SSF
Posted on the 1st Jun 2019 in the category News
The Union of Monastic Superiors is an organisation which consists of all the superiors of communities which follow the Rule of St Benedict in the UK and Ireland. Anglicans are full members and the constitution states that there must be an Anglican member on the council. Mother Mary Luke CHC is at present the Anglican member and last year was approached by the Abbess of Stanbrook who invited her on behalf of the Communio Internationalis Benedictinarum (International Communion of Benedictine Women) to attend a symposium being held in Rome in September 2018. It is held every four years. She had been invited twice before but had been unable to go so this was third time lucky.
Mother Mary Luke writes: I flew to Rome on the 4th September, two days before the symposium began as I wanted to go on the optional trip to Monte Cassino on the 5th. Most people probably know that the monastery, which is the one where St Benedict wrote most of his Rule and where he died, is on the top of a hill and was almost completely destroyed in the last war because of its strategic position. In the 1950s the abbey was rebuilt as an exact copy of the one destroyed by the bombing, complete with fabulous mosaics and tons of gold leaf. The most holy place is under the altar where both Benedict’s and his twin sister Scholastica’s remains are enshrined.
The participants in the symposium were housed mainly in the Pontifical Athenaeum of St Anselm which is an international Benedictine university on the top of the Aventine hill. The symposium proper began on the 6th September with an introductory address welcoming us all by the Abbot Primate of the Benedictines, Gregory Polan OSB. The theme of this symposium was “Receive everyone as if they were Christ”. As our main work apart from worship is hospitality it was a theme dear to my heart. There were five official languages represented: English, Italian, French, German and Spanish. Translators were there to translate from any one language into another. On this first day the official language was English but at None each day a minority language was used so we had Offices in Swahili, Polish, Swedish and Korean.
On the 7th September the speaker was the former Abbot of Einsiedeln in Switzerland, Martin Werlen, who asked us to differentiate between Tradition and traditions. In the discussions in our groups afterwards it became clear that different countries have different traditions but the underlying reality was the same. We are to welcome those who don’t fit in: we have to live in tension and be open to visitors but have regard also to our own situation. Guest are not to be regarded mainly as a source of income.
The 8th September, the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, was the high point of the stay for me. Two buses took all the participants to the Vatican and once there we passed through a security check and then waited until an official called us through and we climbed up many stairs to the room where Pope Francis was to give a Papal Audience. Just after 11am there was a flurry of activity and the Pope arrived. He gave an address in Italian of which we had been given a translation into English beforehand. He encouraged us to find new ways of evangelization in our monasteries, to pray for those who suffer, to contemplate the marvels of creation, administer God’s good gifts and to continue in our work of hospitality, so showing a communion in diversity that expresses God’s hope for the world.
We had been warned that when we went up to the Pope we were merely to shake his hand and move on, but the Pope had other ideas. He spoke to each sister individually and then gave her a rosary which he had already blessed. In his introduction to the Pope, Abbot Gregory mentioned that there was an Anglican and a French Reformed presence, so when I went up I said firmly: Anglicana. At this the Pope beamed and pressing my hands asked me in English to pray for him. I replied that we did so every day at Mass and also prayed for Christian unity. I had taken with me a rosary which was one that had been given to the sisters in 1959 by Pope St John XXIII (see the obituary for Sister Mary Michael) and so that has now been blessed by two popes.
Sunday was a free day so I got a taxi and went to Mass at All Saints, the Anglican Church in Rome. I was made very welcome by Fr John Kilgore and the resident members as well as meeting Anglicans from all over the world. After the service we had refreshments in the tiny garden next to the church. After lunch and a short siesta some of us set out for St Paul’s without the Walls by metro. It is staffed by Benedictines and one of the resident monks gave us a tour. It is fairly certain that St Paul’s body is buried there and there is a stone taken from a sarcophagus with the words: ‘Paul, Apostle and Martyr’ carved into it. We were allowed into some areas not open to the public such as the sacristy and saw beautiful vestments and church plate. We joined the monks for Vespers before catching the metro back to St Anselm’s.
Monday 10th was a quieter day with the symposium in full swing. Two sisters from Spain and the Philippines gave addresses on ‘Hospitality within the Community’: ie relationships with the sisters. These led to lively discussions afterwards. After lunch one of the resident monks gave us a tour of Sant’ Anselmo which included the sacristy, library and the new building work. On Tuesday there were further addresses on ‘Hospitality to those outside the Monastery’ given by sisters from Brazil and South Africa.
Leaving Rome at 7.30am on Wednesday we arrived at the Abbey of St Scholastica in Subiaco at 9am and were warmly welcomed by the monks there who showed us round this very interesting monastery. It was twice destroyed by Saracens in the 9th century but was restored and became very rich and powerful. The monastery is arranged around three cloisters and in one area you can see three arches each in a different style: romanesque, gothic and renaissance. We had Mass in the abbey church and all renewed our vows there, which was powerful. After a meal at a local restaurant we set off in a bus up the hill in a series of breath-taking hairpin bends to the Abbey of St Benedict and the Sacro Speco or Holy Cave.
The monastery of St Benedict is built into the side of the hill and there are three cave chapels, the lowest of which is the oldest and where St Benedict lived as a hermit for three years having been disgusted by the loose morals in Rome where he was studying. The cave complex is decorated with frescoes dating from the early 12th century including a famous one of St Francis painted in his lifetime when he came to Subiaco. There was far more sense of being on sacred ground than at Monte Cassino as it has escaped destruction by invading armies.
On Thursday the 13th I had to leave the symposium a day early as I wanted to be back home for Holy Cross Day on the 14th so I said my goodbyes to all the people I had met and set off for the airport to catch the flight back to Gatwick. So many wonderful memories which I will treasure in my heart and I thank especially the organisers of the symposium for inviting me. I was a guest and they welcomed me—an acted parable of the theme of the meeting. I also thank my sisters for letting me go to the symposium and for keeping going in my absence.