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franciscan - May 2000

© Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2000

The Clares at Fifty

In January 1950, the little group of women who were to become the nucleus of the Community of St Clare, the Second Order of the Society of St Francis, moved from the convent at Tymawr to St Marys House, Freeland known to many readers.
Sister Elsie Felicity remembers:

A fortnight after leaving Tymawr, on 6 February 1950, Novice Elizabeth and I made our first profession. The day sticks in my mind as one of mixed joy and misery. The joy was mine, but the misery was Elizabeths. She had wanted (and had assumed it would be like that) to be professed at Cerne Abbas, surrounded by brothers. She was profoundly disappointed that Father Algy, Father Charles and Father Denis were the only ones present whereas I thought how well we had done to have all three. It was the first time in our history such a thing had happened, to have three brothers with us.

Novice Elizabeth, had she been present fifty years later on 6 February 2000, would have found her cup of joy full to the brim and flowing over. The First Order Brothers and Sisters were represented by the membership of the Provincial Chapters, and the Third Order by tertiaries from the Oxford Area, at the sung eucharist, when God was praised for those fifty years. As is well known, sermons are not encouraged at Freeland but, after the gospel, a few words managed to infiltrate the proceedings, in which were expressed the love and gratitude of all present for Elsie Felicity and her sisters. Then, fifty-two followers of Francis and Clare moved from chapel to convent to partake of a sit-down lunch provided by two friends, occupying refectory, hall and community room. Fifty years on, someone will remember it as a day of unalloyed bliss!


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