On Saturday 10th July, Bishop Terence Drainey, Parish Priest – Fr Jim O’Brien, Fr Paul Roche CM, diocesan clergy, Marist Fathers, members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, parishioners, colleagues, and friends of the Sisters gathered with 12 Daughters of Charity in St Vincent’s Church, Queens Road. Over the span of 131 years, the Daughters have lived and worked in Hull serving the people in various ministries within the parishes of St Charles, St Vincent’s, West Hull, East Hull, and Bransholme. Despite COVID restrictions, the liturgy of the Mass was incredibly beautiful. In his homily, the Bishop thanked the Sisters for their work in Hull, and indeed throughout the diocese of Middlesbrough, reminding them of Jesus’ words in the Gospel: “ You did not choose me, no I chose you and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit.” In the life of the Sisters, these words have of Jesus have been realized. Sr Ellen Flynn, Provincial, traced the history of the Sisters in Hull from the beginnings in 1890 right up to the present day. She thanked both priests and people for their collaborative support and reassured everyone of the Sister’s prayerful support as they continue together on the journey of life in Hull as witnesses to the Kingdom.
Blessing of the Commemorative Blue Plaque
After Mass, the Sisters, priests, and people gathered outside at the front of the church beneath the Commemorative Blue Plaque. This had been erected by Hull City Council to honour the memory of the Sister’s 131 years of service. The plaque was blessed by Bishop Terence and Councillor Abhimanyu Singh who spoke of the unselfish work of the Sisters as the highest form of love and graciously gave thanks to them on behalf of all the people.
BBQ in the Garden of St Joseph’s
The original plans for the day included a sit-down afternoon tea for all in St Vincent’s School Hall. However, because of COVID restrictions, these plans had to be abandoned and the West Hull Parish Priest, Fr Ivan Dawson, came to the rescue putting on a wonderful mid-afternoon BBQ on the grounds of St Joseph’s Church. A wonderful meal for the Sisters and clergy.
Sunday Mass at St Wilfrid’s, Hessle Road
The next day brought further celebrations at the 9 am Sunday Mass in St Wilfrid’s Church – the parish of Sisters Ann and Eleanor. This is a multi-cultural parish and Fr Ivan had invited his parishioners to turn up dressed in their national costumes. The Gospel that day was from St Mark in which Jesus missions his disciples to go out wearing their SANDALS: Sandals which protect the feet and can be easily slipped off when entering the sacred space of a person’s home. Many years ago, Jesus called the Sisters to put on their sandals and come to Hull and enter the homes of the people. Now he calls them to other places. The parish has been blessed by having Sisters as travelling companions on its journey so far. At the end of Mass after receiving Holy Communion, Sr Ellen spoke to the parishioners and gave them thanks for being part of our journey too. The only reason The Daughters of Charity are leaving Hull is lack of Vocations. She encouraged the people to pray for Vocations. If they do, who knows what could happen? One day the Sisters may come back to Hull. Meantime we should pray for each other and ALL OF US put on our sandals and go wherever the Lord sends us and do whatever he asks of us.