As Sr Joanna prepares to leave us she reflects on her time with us.
Sr Joanna wrote in the Parish Magazine:
Almost eleven months ago, I arrived in Abergavenny to begin my year as a lay member of the Holywell Community. I wasn’t quite sure what was expected of me or what I’d be doing. I had an idea that I would spend the year morphing into a very serene, very wise monastic-type. Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t happened!
The real gifts of this year living in community have all been surprises. I learnt that living with other people requires graft and organisation; that to make the peaceful moments and time worshipping and praying together happen also means time spent shopping, comparing diaries, planning sessions, and plenty of emails! One of the best surprises has been discovering how much joy can be present in difference. The Rule of St Benedict, and our shared love for this community and parish, holds us together despite occasional theological and political disagreements. Living in faith in this world means living with the wound of our divisions and disagreements, but in community we are able to talk about that wound in Christ’s body, and by living as one body, make it whole. In short, I came to community expecting it to be a group of holy people, trying to be perfect, and what I found is a group of imperfect people, trying to be holy.
There were a few ‘firsts’ for me this year – my first time preaching, my first time leading a study group, my first time eating potatoes… Now the last few weeks are rapidly upon me, I’m thinking about lasts, of which there are far too many. I’ve never been good at goodbyes. Bilbo Baggins’ party goodbye at the start of The Lord of The Rings comes to mind: I’d happily slip on a magic ring and disappear – which it would make my last service here rather exciting!
The Holywell Community is a transient community. It takes young people in for a little while, and it sends them out again. In coming here, we get to be part of the community of believers in Abergavenny for a little while. Later this year, I will be spending some time with another community; our sister convent of Tymawr, just outside Monmouth, considering God’s calling on my life. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel ‘ready’, but being in the Holywell Community has taught me that I don’t need to be: I only need to trust in our God, who has strength and patience and love enough, enough for the unprepared and uncertain, the anxious and the doubtful. Please pray for me as I go on with my journey, as I will continue to pray for you.
The Prior Fr Mark :
I wish Joanna many Blessings as she explores her vocation with the Sisters at Ty Mawr and thank her for her service of the last 11 months.
Sr Joanna will leave us on St Benedict’s Day (July 11th ),the end of the Community Year. A new Community will be Commissioned a month later on August 12th.