During November, many of us will visit the graves of family members and friends, of Sisters and of others- people who lived normal lives with joys and grief, struggles and hopes. These ‘saints’ made life real in our families, in our congregation, in our relationships, in our world. We’ll pray remembering them, weep missing them, and tell stories about them. We’ll talk of their christian-ing of life and what we saw and loved in them.
In In Search of Belief Joan Chittister writes “…this [the] communion of saints is the heritage we received, the promise we make to others, and strength for the journey in which we ourselves are engaged. It is Eucharist, it is the sacramental life, flashed across the cosmos by the beam of my own life”.
A wonderful example of being in communion with the saints occurred on Tuesday 12 November when All Hallows’ School Year 12 students turned the soil for a new reflection and memorial garden that will be named Magnolia Place.
A feature of Magnolia Place, located on the northside lawn of the Covent, will be the plinths that will bear the names of those who girls who died while they were students at All Hallows’ School. The magnolia flower has a special place in the life and enduring mercy story of All Hallows’ School, as it was referenced in a letter written by Mother Mary Vincent Whitty on 2 December 1875. She wrote:
I am sure you are very busy in your department with chickens etc, etc. Here we are eaten up by goats and their kids. Yesterday when in the reception room (of Adderton) what did I see, but a goat tearing and eating a lovely magnolia – if it survives the tearing it got, it will be a wonderful plant.
Mrs Catherine O’Kane, Principal, acknowledged the deep and abiding connections that the School and its pupils share with the Sisters of Mercy, who moved All Hallows’ School from its original location near the Cathedral of St Stephen to the current Ann Street site in 1863. She offered sincere thanks to the Congregation for agreeing to the development of Magnolia Place on land owned by the Sisters.
Earlier this year the All Hallows’ School Board and Property Committee approved the reflective garden project and the Parent and Past Pupil Associations will generously provide construction funding.
A formal ceremony will be held in 2020 for the blessing and opening of this new addition, Magnolia Place, to the All Hallows’ School campus landscape.