One year on

Published on 25 Jun 2020
Ena Harkness rose bush

by Sr Anne Morris DHS

Just one year ago, on the 2nd June, I left St Beuno’s. The very last thing I did, after loading up the car, was to take a cutting of my favourite rosebush that bloomed outside what has now returned to being the main entrance. (For the gardeners among you, it’s an Ena Harkness with the most heavenly scent.) Much to my amazement the cutting produced, not just one, but two rosebushes and the photo shows them as they came into bloom this May. I feel I have something of St Beuno’s blooming in my garden and it led me to contemplate the symbol of how we take something from one place and allow it to transplant and bloom in another.

Anyone who has worked at St Beuno’s will have witnessed this happening hundreds of times. Retreatants and course participants experienced a shift, a change in their relationship with God, that allowed them to return home and live life differently. Often these changes were quite subtle, other times dramatic, but the house was associated with the alteration. No wonder so many people describe St Beuno’s as their spiritual home. It feels true for me also. Eleven years soaked in its atmosphere has enriched me greatly and I feel I continually draw on so much received during that time, as I carry out the service now asked of me as provincial.

There’s a little twist to this story. When I returned to St Beuno’s in the Autumn, the Ena Harkness rose had been dug up! Even if I had been there to tie myself to the rosebush, I could see that it would have been in the way of the paving that needed to be done. Neither do well established roses like to be moved. (There’s another line of reflection!) My hope would be that sometime in the coming Autumn or Winter, I can bring one of its daughter plants and re-establish it in its spiritual home.

While not wanting to be too grand about it, it has parallels with the story of a Jesuit vineyard in Europe. A cutting was taken to the New World, thus taking the ancient art of wine making to another continent. Then came the great wine blight of the 1850s that devastated the vineyards of Europe, including that of the Jesuits. The New World was able to come to the aid of the Old to help re-establish the vineyards. One small rose bush isn’t in quite the same league, but the spirit in which it is offered is one of gratitude.