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9th May 2018 - Reflections on the Mercy Pilgrimage to Knock

Updated: Jun 14, 2018


The thoughts of Margaret Oldham from the Newcastle Mercy Associates


As an Associate of the Sisters of Mercy for two years I was very excited to be going on my first pilgrimage to Our Lady's Shrine at Knock. On the way to Knock we visited some of the local convents which had been founded by Catherine McAuley in the 1800's. I had heard a lot about Catherine from the Sisters Bridie and Betty at Coolock in Newcastle under Lyme, but nothing could prepare me for the powerful encounters to come. For me, from all the beautiful moments I experienced during the pilgrimage perhaps three of them stand out the most


The first was the great warmth of welcome we received from all the Sisters at all the Convents we visited. Most certainly congratulations are due to all the chef's and cooks for the delicious fresh buttered scones which melted in the mouth and sustained us on our journey.


My second special moment must be seeing and walking on and experiencing first hand the highly polished original floor boards where Catherine herself had walked, and the china that had been decorated and used by her and her ladies. Gazing through the sash cord windows at the view she had loved, particularly noticing the way the window frames were intersected to form a cross so meaningful to her was a very moving moment.


The third and perhaps the best moment of the tour was the immersing of oneself into the atmosphere of each place. I found particularly that reading Catherine's handwritten letters and the beautiful poetry which so expressed her personality and her love and values in life helped me to feel in some way connected to this extraordinary and amazing lady so worthy of the beatification sought by the Sisters and Associates."


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