st margaretsIn 1948, we opened our first convent in Scotland in a town called Clydebank. This was at the invitation of Father Michael Ward, Parish Priest of Our Holy Redeemer’s Church who worked hard with the people to build up their community after the ravages of the Blitz. So the Sisters were invited to help. From very small beginnings of Parish Work and teaching, we have now grown to be the largest Hospice in the country.

We are eight Sisters at present; Teresa Michael, Stephanie, Philomena, Monica, Gerard, Marie, Veronica and Rita. Marie and Philomena are involved with the local Parish and Community Prayer Groups.

Sr. Michael has been seriously ill but is now able to become more engaged in some Pastoral work, keeping very much in touch with some of the elderly who are housebound.

Stephanie is engaged as a Pastoral Assistant in a nearby Parish in Glasgow. This includes Adult Education. Stephanie has recently experienced some ill health and is at present, on sick leave.

Philomena works in St Kessog’s Parish, Balloch. She visits the sick and housebound at home, in hospital and nursing home, and brings them Holy Communion weekly. Shortly after coming to St Kessog’s in 1995, Philomena organised Eucharistic Adoration in the parish. Since then, there has been Eucharistic Adoration on Monday and Tuesday every week from 10am to 6pm. She is part of the RCIA team, a group instructing those who wish to learn about the Catholic Faith. She instructs parents who want to have their children baptised in the Rite, Benefits and Obligations of Infant Baptism. She leads a Scripture Group entitled “Scripture Inspired” which meets every month.

Monica’s background is in education and school chaplaincy work. She helps when asked about form filling, drafting of letters and advocacy, as well as non-directive counselling on occasion. Living next to the Hospice, she has the privilege of meeting “old” friends who are on the last lap of their final journey.. Monica also compiles the Annals of the Local Community, These are the historical records of the Sisters through the eyes of the Sisters themselves- their lived experience. As such these are valuable for posterity.

Marie – Just over 2 years ago, the Parishes of St Margaret and Our Holy Redeemer amalgamated whilst still keeping their own identity and having Mass in both Parishes. On 1 December 2006, Marie was missioned as full time Pastoral Assistant to both Parishes. This means taking Holy Communion to the Sick and Housebound, offering Bereavement Support, visiting the parents of children who are preparing for the Sacraments, bringing together various groups, e.g. church carers and supporting the local SVP group.

Gerard, Veronica and Rita work full time in the Hospice.

Monica and Gerard celebrated the joyous occasion of their Golden Jubilee during September/October. This allowed for great celebration with family, friends, colleagues and Sisters, with many friends and relatives travelling from Ireland and New Zealand to join the celebrations. Mass of Thanksgiving was led by Rev Monsignor James McShane.

The Hospice has recently undergone a major building project to provide a new unit for the 30 frail elderly patients within the Hospice. The new unit
will be called the Mary Aikenhead Centre. The patients due to relocate in mid November 2007. It will provide patients with their own en-suite facilities, a small garden area and more private space. More information on the new build and the Hospice can be found at the Hospice Website.