Everyone’s a Winner?

We are blessed at the Irish Chaplaincy with some wonderful volunteers and it was not easy to have to choose just one of them to nominate for the Irish in Britain Volunteer Awards. We did in the end nominate somebody and I was saying to Paul, our Seniors Manager “if that person gets the award it’s good for everyone at the Chaplaincy”, and I added, “everyone’s a winner”. I thought for a few moments, then said “but not in the Champion’s League final!” Continue Reading

Jean Vanier RIP

As I was told of the death, at the age of 90, of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, there immediately came to mind my favourite story connected with the great man: an important story for me, and one which I discovered years later from Jean I’d actually misheard!

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Canon Sydney McEwan and Bring Flowers of the Rarest

Canon Sydney Alfred McEwan (19 October 1908 – 25 September 1991) was a famous Scottish priest who was gifted with an exceptional tenor singing voice, and who sang traditional Scottish and Irish songs. Probably his most famous recording is the Marian hymn ‘Bring flowers of the Rarest’ written by Mary E. Walsh. The hymn was first published as the “Crowning Hymn” in the Wreath of Mary 1871/1883 and later in St. Basil’s hymnal (1889). The hymn is synonymous with Marian processions and devotions in the month of May.

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A Small and Wonderful World

My friend Richard and I first met when we were part of the group of new assistants at L’Arche Kent at the end of the 1980s, a group which included L’Arche UK’s first ever Korean, Yim Soon, the woman who was to become my wife. Richard was a member of the music group at our wedding, which also had in it Lucy Winkett of St James’ Piccadilly.

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The Best Medicine

When coming away from my regular visit to one of our Irish Chaplaincy Seniors I was reflecting on how uplifted I felt and how it had to do, in part, by how much we had laughed during the visit. This particular lady is only in her 70s but has fairly advanced dementia, and her sister moved over from Ireland to stay in the 1-bedroom flat as a live-in carer. It’s a challenging situation but we always regale one another with funny stories, and we hoot with laughter.

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Looking after our mental health

One in four people will experience mental ill health at some point in their lives, this is a stark reality and there is no doubt that as we get older, loneliness and isolation can feel a constant in our lives. Long winter nights, bad weather, ill health and/or poor mobility can prevent many people from leaving their homes and become the key elements to feelings of isolation and depression. As we grow old, we will have seen many of our close friends and family pass away and we may even find that we are the last surviving member of our generation or family, no doubt this brings with it a great sense of loss which can lead to bouts of anxiety and depression.

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