I read the story The Silver sword by Ian Serrailler. Its about 3 Polish children who separated from their parents in World War II cross war torn Europe facing war, danger & #disease. These are children like me, I thought & was so glad I had been born after the war finished. 1/20
Living through the war as RAF personnel my parents also had a horror of war, which rubbed off on me. I saw photos of the relief of Belsen & I decided that I would do everything I could to stop war #poverty & #prejudice. 2/20
I remember Dad telling us about the jigsaw at his #Methodist Sunday school with the map of the world on one side and the face of Jesus on the other. “taking care of the world is taking care of Jesus” he said 3/20
Putting my bike away one frosty winter’s evening I looked up and was overwhelmed at the stars stretching to infinity. In a flash I was acutely aware that God who made and loved all this also made me and passionately loved me. 4/20
I started to go to the morning Mass in the convent & also felt drawn to make the Stations of the Cross. Gradually that personal love for Jesus linked itself with a love of the poor and suffering and my decision to do something about it 5/20
Before going into the sixth form each of us had an interview with Sister Mary Webb to discuss our options for A levels and what we wanted to do after #school. I decided that I was going to ‘put it out there’ so to speak and tell Sr Mary what I was considering. 6/20
To my surprise she was delighted & suggested I entered straight away! Oh dear that was not what I was thinking at all! & so continued to do the 2 years sixth form doing A levels in Zoology, Geography & English.7/20
I made contact with the #Vocation sisters as I wanted to find out about other religious orders including the poor Clares. Eventually the decision was between the Daughters of the Cross & one other larger Congregation I had visited & liked. I just couldn’t decide which one 8/20
So I decided to put each name in an envelope and draw lots between them! But, I thought – “I hope it’s the Daughters of the Cross that comes out”! So there I had my decision made. In the September I entered their novitiate at Carshalton.9/20
That summer my friend & I hitchhiked to #Rome for 2 weeks as a last hurrah. It took us 6 days & we slept in ditches & railway stations on the way. In Lyon we met a couple who took us to her parents’ flat for the night while they were away – such kindness & trust. 10/20
I can’t believe my parents allowed me to do this at barely 18. What trust they must have had. They showed the same trust in supporting my decision to enter. Although they were absolutely devastated at my decision & yet they trusted me to do what I felt was right. 11/20
I was to spend the first 6 months at the FC convent on the Kent coast so a few days after entering I went down to the isle of Thanet. There we ran a residential special junior school delicate children & children with a whole range of learning & behavioural difficulties. 12/20
Many of the children had severe #asthma and it was frightening to see them struggling to breathe when in an attack. I saw the same kindness and care from the sisters here that I had seen in school. I also found such a sense of humour, fun & enjoyment of life. 13/20
Together with other Community Service Volunteers the same age as me I worked alongside the sisters and I loved it. I loved being so near the sea, hearing the birds in the surrounding woods, finding fossils in the cliffs and learning how to teach and care for the children. 14/20
What was more difficult was being thrown into the deep end of living a full religious life & I think it was equally hard for the community knowing how to deal with what was an experiment. This was the 1st time someone had done a postulancy outside of the novitiate. 15/20
I still have the card the superior left on my bed after a bout of #homesickness in the first weeks ‘He hushed the storm to a gentle breeze and he brought them to their desired haven’ That phrase ‘a gentle breeze has remained a touchstone for me ever since. 16/20
But I found a soul friend in one of the sisters. Bit by bit we translated a small booklet Prayers of confidence by Jean Galot SJ & I discovered the meaning of the phrase, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us?’ 17/20
It was at this time that I started a journal of quotes and book titles & quotes like this one still move me. ‘Let a man in a garret burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world’ Antoine de Saint Exupery – and the journal lives on and still gives nourishment. 18/20
After 6 months I returned to Carshalton for a week at home before joining the novitiate. But God had other plans as the Provincial asked me to leave & go to college first. In hindsight this was a good decision as Dad’s health was suffering & I was very worried about him.19/20
So I found myself at home, feeling like a fish out of water, not knowing what to do next and with my dreams in tatters. But hey ho, it didn’t stay like that – God works in mysterious ways! More tomorrow 20/20
Woops! I forgot to say at the start of this day's thread - this is Day 2 of my story for #thisnunstory #ofGodandme Thanks @Silvanarscj for the reminder, I shall do better tomorrow! #nunsoftwitter rock on......
Woops! I forgot to say at the start of today's thread that this is Day 2 of my story for #thisnunstory #ofGodandme Thanks @Silvanarscj for the reminder, I shall do better tomorrow! #nunsoftwitter rock on...

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More from @Gillianfc

8 Apr
Thursday Day 4 #OfGodAndMe #ThisNunsStory
In the last 2 years at Brighton I drove a Honda 50 CC motor bike and this came with me to ‘London. It wasn’t very fast & I enjoyed the smells of the countryside (can anything beat the smell of a field of flowering beans?) 1/25
London was a very different experience, however in more ways than one. I decided to live at the Chelsea convent of the Daughters of the Cross in Cale Street & while the house was a hostel/home for the elderly I was living with the community. 2/25
And so I became a postulant (seeker) This was very different to my first postulancy, however as I had complete independence. Each weekday morning I travelled on the underground from South Kensington to my school in Mile End in East London 3/25
Read 25 tweets
7 Apr
And so Day 3 of my story of God at work in my life as part of #OfGodAndMe #ThisNunsStory series. Yesterday mention of the book, The Silver Sword seems to have struck a chord with many so perhaps its not out of place to mention that today 7th April is #Worldhealthday 1/20
Ian Serraillier ended his talks by showing this photo with the words, ‘No child should ever again have that expression on his face’. My hope this the UK as host of the upcoming #G7 summit will prioritise Universal health care for all. #UCH 2/20
So back to my story. Living at home again and my dream of religious life gone out the window I applied and got a place for September at Brighton College of Education to do a cert ed in biological science & primary education 3/20
Read 21 tweets
5 Apr
This week I'll be sharing my story of God at work in my life as part of #OfGodAndMe #ThisNunsStory series. Inevitably its a series of snapshots I have plucked out of my memory album in order to tell my story. At a different time I might well have chosen different snapshots. 1/15
I was a post #war baby born in the leafy suburb of #Sutton to parents who had met in the RAF during the war.I now belong to the Congregation of the Daughters of the Cross of Liege (FC) & live in Much Hadham, Herts. 2/15 ImageImage
Dad, a teacher on #sthelier council estate was the son of a Rhondda valley miner who had died at 49 of TB & silicosis. Mum is a Geordie handweaver who drove 3-ton lorries in the war. Her father had been orphaned age 7 when his Dad died of TB. 3/15
Read 15 tweets

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