From the director

Published on 26 Jun 2019
Tree planting at St Beuno's

by Fr Roger Dawson SJ

One of the realities of working in a retreat house is that we meet people for brief but intense periods, often during an important moment in their lives, and then have to say goodbye to them.  Welcome is important at St Beuno’s, and saying goodbye is a reality too. 

Last week we said a goodbye of unusual significance.  Sister Anne Morris DHS has been on the team at St Beuno’s for eleven years, many of them as Deputy Director.  Retreatants will know her as the indefatigable one who is always making sure that things are ready, making sure the ship is on an even keel and making sure that everyone is ok.  Many of the Friends have experienced her welcome and kindness, and over the last five years as Director she has been my loyal friend and wise counsellor on many matters.  So it was not easy to say goodbye to someone so many of us have come not just to respect greatly but to love greatly.  At Sister Anne’s request, having departed earlier this month she returned to a proper English (OK, Welsh) tea party in a beautifully decorated dining room with the team and the Beuno’s staff.  Before the party she planted a tree in her honour (her knowledge of gardens and gardening is encyclopaedic) which Fr Dermot, the Jesuit Superior, blessed and I said a few words of appreciation; and in the dining room Fr Tom Shufflebotham, who was Superior at St Beuno’s for ten years gave a warm and witty tribute before Sister Anne responded with her own words of gratitude. 

Sister Anne leaves us to become Provincial of her province of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit.  Sad though I am to lose her, I accept this decision as the will of God, believing too that God wills St Beuno’s to flourish and thrive into the future, and trusting that God will give us the graces and practical help that we need to continue this great work.  So while there is sadness, there is great gratitude for all that Sister Anne did for so many of us – team, staff, retreatants, Friends – over her time here.  In recognition of this I am delighted to say that she will be an honorary Friend of St Beuno’s.  A Friend for life, indeed!

Fr Roger Dawson SJ