Packed mass as Holbeach nuns retire

Sister Veronica (front left) with (from left) Father Jim Burke, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Sister Catherine, Louise Yarnell and Sister Margaret.
Sister Veronica (front left) with (from left) Father Jim Burke, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Sister Catherine, Louise Yarnell and Sister Margaret.

TWO nuns who have looked after Holbeach’s Catholic community for 16 years have retired.

Sister Veronica and Sister Theresa-Anne, who are members of the Order of the Sisters of Providence and the Immaculate Conception, said goodbye to the Parish of Holy Trinity, Holbeach, at a special farewell celebration.

During their 16-year stay, the sisters have become well known throughout the parish, not only among the Catholic community.

The farewell celebration began with a mass of thanksgiving at Holy Trinity Church, Holbeach.

Sister Theresa-Anne was not well enough to travel from London to take part in the celebrations but a message from her was read at the mass.

Celebrant was Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham, who explained he had known Sister Theresa-Anne before she came to Holbeach.

Also on the altar were Father Martin Gosling, the priest who welcomed the sisters to Holbeach as parish priest at Spalding, together with other priests and deacons from the Deanery of Grantham.

Following the mass, there was a reception at the WI Hall, complete with a banner, designed and made by the pupils of St Norbert’s Primary School, Spalding.

The hall was packed with those wanting to show appreciation of all the sisters had achieved during their time in Holbeach.

During the reception, there were several speeches and presentations, including from Sister Veronica who thanked Father Jim Burke and the Norbertine priests with whom they had worked in the parish.

She made special mention of the support which she and Sister Theresa-Anne had received from their own community at the convent in London.

She ended by thanking people from other Christian denominations with whom the sisters had worked, stressing it’s part of everyone’s vocation as Christians to live according to his Word.

The evening concluded with a toast to the sisters proposed by Father Burke and presentations, including a laptop from the Lourdes Group at Holbeach and a cheque for £3,000 from the Catholic Community of South Holland.