The Ursuline Sisters in Shotton
Sr. Gwyn and Sr. Vianney live in the Ursuline Community House in Beaconsfield Road, Shotton. They are privileged to live with the Blessed Sacrament present in their chapel.
Linked with Sisters in Lancaster and Wythenshawe, Sr. Gwyn and Sr. Vianney form a “North West Cluster” Community in the English Province of Ursuline Sisters (an international Religious family.)
For more than 400 years Ursuline Sisters quietly built up family life and contributed to the christianisation of society by educating girls in schools and colleges. Large convent buildings were the norm.
In 1980, among the Ursuline Sisters in England, was a strong desire to explore new forms of community and mission –to share Gospel values in smaller groups, among people who would become neighbours and friends. When the decision was made in 1980 to withdraw the community of Ursulines from their apostolate in Christ’s College, Liverpool, a door providentially opened in Shotton, hard-hit at the time by large-scale unemployment as a result of the virtual closure of the steelworks. Two adjoining house, 2 and 4 Beaconsfield Road, came up for sale and five Ursuline Sisters moved in. The date-1st September 1980.
From the beginning until now the Sisters have tried to keep an open, welcoming house, a house of prayer. The chapel and Meeting Room are well used, and so is the kitchen -particularly for cups of tea and coffee! Using their gifts and experience to respond to the needs of the Parish and local community a great variety of service has been given over the years:
Sr. Josephine gave her energies to the elderly and house-bound. Sr.Philip to the young Mums in the neighbourhood, to the students in Deeside College, and to issues of justice and peace. She also took on responsibility for the parish newsletter and worked to set up a parish council.
Sr. Louis Marie taught in St. Richard Gwyn School and focussed on young people. Sr. Alison, a convert herself, was concerned with fostering unity through the Deeside Council of Churches; she worked tirelessly too for Our Lady’s catechists, for sacramental preparation in the parish and shared her musical and artistic gifts with different groups.
Sr. Teresita, as prioress, kept the home fires burning. Sr. Mary John delighted to visit the house bound parishioners and those in Residential Homes and to take them Holy Communion, regaling them with stories from her years in Botswana.
Sr. Jayne dedicated herself to the students in St Richard Gwyn for 10 years until she was asked to go to the Cameroon. Sr. Anne continued her work as part-time Chaplain to the Catholic High School, Chester, whilst involving herself in sacramental preparation in her own parish, until her death from cancer in 1991.
As for Sr. Brendan she spent 18 years befriending everyone in the area!
Now Sr. Gwyn and Sr. Vianney, helped on all sides, strive to carry on in the same spirit -the spirit of St. Angela, the Foundress of the Ursulines.