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The 150th Anniversary of Sion in England

21/06/2010: United Kingdom

On Sunday, 13th June 2010 we, the sisters of Sion, in the UK/Ireland Province,  celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Sion from Paris to England. We enjoyed a wonderful day together, most fitting for this very special anniversary. Most of the sisters from all over the country and some from other Provinces, assembled in the Bayswater Convent to join in the fervour and celebrations of this very special ‘Triple Golden Jubilee’.


As one can imagine, these events don’t just happen. A team of sisters volunteered to organise how best to mark this anniversary. There was a lot of hard work done behind the scenes, several meetings took place to discuss, decide and organise the most appropriate events for this occasion. The liturgy, the venue for the Eucharist, the venue for the reception afterwards, the food catering and every other necessary detail that had to be negotiated to ensure a successful, memorable and enjoyable day for all the sisters and guests.


 The festivities started the evening before by a short service in the dining room to welcome the Sunday. This included various Scripture readings and Hymns, followed by the sharing of bread and wine and dinner. On the Sunday morning of the Jubilee Day, we had a choir practise at 11.00 am followed by lunch. The celebration of the Eucharist was at 2 pm, so at about 1.30 we made our way to the Church of St. Mary of the Angels in Morehouse Road, a short walk from the Convent. The invited guests and some of the parishioners started to flow into the church and in no time it was packed. Everybody was handed the beautifully designed Mass booklet, which also included a small souvenir of the occasion inside it, as they entered the church. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop George Stack assisted by the parish priest, Mgr.Keith Barthrop. Fr Francis Whale (brother of Sr Hedwig Whale) and Fr Victor Camilleri (brother of Sr Mary Camlilleri) concelebrated with them.  There were a few more priests in the congregation, the Lady Mayoress,  past pupils of Sion Schools, as well as many friends of Sion, both Christians and Jews, some of whom were invited to do the readings and take part in the offertory procession.

Sr. Brenda, our province Leader gave the welcome address and Sr. Maureen, our General Leader gave the concluding ‘Reflection’ at the end of the Service. A Jewish Rabbi gave the Hebrew Benediction just before the Bishop gave his final blessing to the whole congregation in the Church. The recessional hymn was sung which brought this wonderful service to a happy and moving conclusion. Then everybody processed out of the church.


The celebrations continued in a reception hall, a couple of minutes away from the Church. The hall was beautifully prepared and decorated with banners and display boards. All around the room there were tables full of delicious food and drinks for everybody to enjoy and celebrate this special Sionion Event!