Fr Roger's Icon
by Prim Herridge
I thought I would just give you an update on the icon which we have had written as a leaving gift for Fr Roger. You will remember that we made the decision to collect for this after the last Friends’ weekend and immediately the word went out, the funds just started tumbling in. You will be delighted to know that we have collected in excess of £1500 for him, after the icon has been paid for. This excess will go towards the funds being raised for the St Beuno’s prayer room, perhaps with the exception of a small amount for a Scottish-type personal gift for Fr Roger. I am not sure what he might choose but have suggested either new walking boots or a warm jacket as an example.
I had the honour of going to collect the icon from Hyning last week. What a treat! It is an 18th century Manor House near Carnforth in Lancashire which was once the home of the Peel family. The grounds are simply beautiful and Sister Stella, the lady who wrote the icon for us, said hesitantly that she supposes that she is the groundsman. A little while later as she was showing us around, she said that she supposes that she is probably the site manager too! If you ever get the chance, do go to visit. The guest rooms are all being renovated from November, so you would want to schedule a visit or retreat sometime after May next year. Sister Stella is such a character, whose personality and energy far outweigh and outshine the tiny 4’6 frame. She is an insightful, prayerful lady - but I haven’t yet fathomed how she combines that with such naughty eyes and such a wicked sense of humour. Just ask her to tell you about the Health and Safety checks and her ladder problems!
Sister Stella showed us around the studio and explained how the wood is prepared for the icons - it takes days of preparation before she can even begin to consider starting to write. One of the attached photos shows the wording on the back of the icon; her hand is sure and steady, and her writing so beautiful. The idea of her praying in the studio for Father Roger as she worked is thought provoking, and makes our gift much more meaningful that anything we could have ever simply ‘bought’ for him.
Before we left, the nuns asked if we would like to join them for midday prayer and as you can see from the photographs, their chapel is a big converted barn. It is a beautiful yet simple space which provides a sense of calm and reverence and it felt such a privilege to share those moments with them. There are 12 sisters at Hyning - there is a photo of them all on the website - and I know that they would appreciate your thoughts and prayers.
The plan is to finally hand over the icon to Fr Roger once he has settled in to his new post in Scotland, probably in early October. Further photos to follow!