Sr Barbara Kenny
My name is Barbara Kenny and I have the unique experience at this time of living alone, supported by my non-resident Community leader.
I work in a Parish in the East End of London and my role is that of Parish Visitor. This role involves:
- Visiting the elderly and housebound in their own homes or the local Residential Care home
- Taking the Eucharist to those who desire it
- Visiting families of children preparing for First Holy Communion
- Being a member of the Parish Pastoral Council I am involved in attending many meetings ,the aim of which is to build up the community life of the Parish
- As our Parish is a Member of TELCO (The East London Community Organising) I attend meetings with other parishioners and take part in demonstrations calling for e.g. a living wage, Affordable housing etc.
Central to these commitments is my prayer life.
A Day In My Life.
My day usually begins around 6am. I begin by praying the Divine Office – Morning Prayer and then spend time Meditating, usually on a passage from Scripture. As prayer is central to my ministry it must take precedence at the beginning of my day. I leave the house at around 9am to join other parishioners for Mass. Straight after Mass I take the Eucharist to three residents in the Local Care Home and also to three other in their own homes. This is a really special time for these people as they are unable to get to Mass. In the home the three come together and we try to make the little service a meaningful as possible. I find that it is really important to allow time with each one, so that they have opportunity to talk about what is going on for them.
Today I join a group of parishioners in the nearby hostel for the homeless, where we have our dinner. It is a way of supporting the hostel, but also allows us time to meet socially, get to know the staff and meet some of the residents.
I usually arrive home around 1pm and just take time to relax and reflect on the mornings happenings.
When visiting the families of children preparing for First Holy Communion I have to accommodate them as many parents are working. I telephone them and make appointments. Sometimes I need to make visits in the evenings. These visits allow me to find out how the children are understanding the preparation programme, and also how the parents are assisting them. I find it a real privilege as many take the opportunity to share their needs and problems with me.
I leave the house around 2pm for my visits. After my evening meal, I pray the Divine Office- Evening Prayer, and have some time of quiet reflection.
I take time to relax, by reading, maybe watching TV or even playing a game on the computer! But a good bit of my time is spent preparing for the week ahead, by making and receiving phone calls to arrange appointments and catching up on the housework.
Before retiring at around 10.30pm I take time to reflect on how my day has gone, how maybe I could have done things better, but always thanking God for his many blessings in those I have encountered.