Letter from a Companion

After spending the last two days at the Community of the Resurrection, I have been reflecting on the many years I have been visiting Mirfield and what an important part it has played in my life.

On Saturday 23 of July I celebrated Companions Day with some of my close friends. It was an excellent day attended by many people. There were two very interesting talks, given by Iain McKillop (priest and artist) and Rachael Young (priest and musician). Fr Nicolas gave us an update on CR affairs and Fr John gave us the latest information on the Auction, which is to be held on the 22 October.

We attended mass in the refectory chapel and a new member was admitted as a Companion. We also enjoyed lunch and refreshments and some of us stayed for evensong, which for me was the perfect finish to the day.

Sunday 24 July was "Family Fun Day" - a good old fashioned event enjoyed by hundreds of people in glorious sunshine. It was wonderful to see so many families enjoying time together in the Monastery grounds, meeting the Brethren and enjoying all the activities, including guided tours of the church as it undergoes the alterations, with illustrations of how the church building should look when the work is completed. It was encouraging seeing the many people, especially young families who were interested.

There were the usual children's favourites to enjoy; races, welly throwing, bouncy castle, puppet show and martial arts display, plus many other attractions, not forgetting the excellent refreshments, my favourite being the jam and cream scones.

I had a fun afternoon working on a stall with Fr Simon. We fancied a go on the bouncy castle but common sense prevailed, as we both admitted that if we went on it we wouldn't be able to get up to get off!

Both of these events could not have taken place without much planning and hard work and, as my organising skills are very limited, I appreciate the dedication shown by many people to ensure that the events were successful and would like to say a sincere thank you to everyone involved in planning these days.

I went on a tour of the church and, as Fr George explained the plans for the future of the building, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of excitement, thinking about the many thousands of people who will come through the doors in the future and wondering how many lives will change, as mine has, in this place.

It is these thoughts which have prompted me to write this letter, realising just what an important role that CR has played in my life. 

I well remember my first silent retreat  at Mirfield. At that time I was going through a particularly difficult time and searching for something which was missing in my life, away from all the frantic activity. I will be eternally grateful to my parish priest at that time, the Rev'd David Robinson, who suggested that my friend and I explore a "beginner's retreat" at Mirfield. As we were both quite outgoing and talkative, another of my friends couldn't believe what was happening and said "Whatever are you two doing going on a silent retreat? You will never be quiet".  How wrong she was. The weekend completely changed my life.

When I arrived I felt like a little girl going to her first big school, apprehensive but excited. I told Fr Clifford Green how I felt. From that moment he took me under his wing and over the years we developed a deep friendship. Fr Ronald Haynes conducted the retreat and we were given the opportunity to chat with him. I shared some of my problems with him and he continued to support me until his death.

Over the years I have tried to spend two retreats a year at Mirfield but when this has been impossible I have still managed a quiet day from time to time. In these times I have come to appreciate and value the support of the Brethren. Experiencing the silence has enabled me to take time out when life gets too hectic, which leaves me refreshed and able to carry on with much more enthusiasm.

This letter may come as a surprise to the Brethren; that, as they welcome people to the Community as part of their everyday lives, the effect it has on just one life, can enable that person to encourage and support other people. I thank God for all that has happened in the past at CR, am enjoying the present, and look forward to all that is to come at Mirfield.

(with grateful thanks to Fr Oswin for passing on this letter for publication here)