Bi-centenary Celebrations – in Bonnie Scotland
The second group had a completely different experience from those who went to Hampton Court. They found themselves among the mountains and lochs of Scotland. They were joined on the trip by Sr Rita’s sister-in-law and niece. Margherita Dawson writes:
On 30th May 2015, a group of Sisters, along with my mother and I, travelled to the beautiful Highlands of Scotland as part of the 200th celebration of the Sisters of Charity.
With what had been a dull, damp and windy first few days upon our arrival in Scotland, luck was on our side and the weather changed on Saturday morning much to everyone’s delight.
As part of the celebration a number of events were to take place throughout the course of the day, everything was timed to perfection. Mass was celebrated by the wonderful Fr. Wilson and he wished the Sisters all the best with their day out and wished us a safe journey. Afterwards, tea and refreshments were served in the Education Centre before we headed off on our journey.
We then gathered together on the bus, ecstatic to be heading off on such a beautiful, sunny, vibrant day. We were introduced by Sister Rita to our bus driver Mark and our tour guide David who was going to show us all the wonderful sights and scenery along the way. We said our usual prayer, before heading off on our journey with David keeping us entertained along the way, pointing out various landmarks and features and Mark ensuring a smooth journey all of the way.
Our first port of call was Inveraray, a place I had visited in my childhood but I had little recollection of it. What struck me when we arrived into Inveraray was how stunning the place looked and how dainty a town it is, with its white and black buildings and quirky shops which we visited. We arrived there at 12pm with lunch to be provided in the George Hotel at 12.30pm. We had the chance to explore the town and view the scenery and shops. We also got to visit Inveraray Jail, allowing us to take some lovely pictures together. Lunch was served in the George Hotel with many opting for the beautiful fish and chips that were on offer, fresh from the sea and only the best. 2pm came around very quickly and off we went again on our journey to our next destination, Oban, passing the stunning scenery of Glencoe along the way, allowing us to take some fantastic photos. The weather was on our side and we were having a glorious day full of sunshine and great company. The bus journey along the Highlands allowed us to see the sights, scenery and the marvels of Scotland in all its wonders. David pointed out the snow that still remains on the mountains and the effects of weather on landmarks. We also spotted some trees growing out from rocks and beautiful bluebells growing along the roadside, looking all the better with the glorious weather.
Our next stop was the lively town of Oban, the seafood capital of Scotland, known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’. What struck me about this town is its beautiful setting. Afternoon tea was booked in the Caledonian for 4.30pm and what a delight the afternoon tea was. Everyone was looking forward to tea and some treats and what lovely treats they were! The cakes and sandwiches and tea were a delight and again we were full up and ready for our journey homeward.
Off we set for Clydebank at 5.30pm, having seen so much in just one day. The journey home provided us with more scenery with David keeping us going right until the end with his stories and pointing out sights all along the way. Mark managed to get us home safely and on time and everything went according to schedule having said our prayers to the angels. We arrived back at the hospice at 7.45pm, with an abundance of food and sweet cakes upon arrival to finish off a wonderful and enjoyable day. We all said our goodbyes and praised Sr Rita for organising such a fantastic and well deserved day out and we chatted about the day and how much we enjoyed it.
Writing this from a young person’s perspective, I wish to state how much I enjoyed my day out, getting the chance to get to know all the sisters and to celebrate their special day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this celebration. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Sisters of Charity on their 200th anniversary celebration and wish them all the best in their endeavours and with all the wonderful work they have done and continue to do.
Bhaineamar an-taitneamh as an lá a bhí againn agus bhí an aimsir go haoibhinn (we really enjoyed our day and the weather was beautiful). Mar a deireann an seanfhocail ‘Trí na chéile a thógtar na cáisléain’ (As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, teamwork is needed to create great projects).
Wishing St Margaret of Scotland Hospice and the Sisters of Charity every good wish.
Le gach dea-ghuí (with every best wishes),
Rose and Agnes share their thoughts of the day:
For some weeks we looked forward to the 30th of May, when we in Scotland would have our Province Day celebrating our 200 years. For days before the weather was inclement but the day dawned with not a cloud in the sky. The day began with Mass in St. Margaret’s Clydebank, celebrated by Fr. Frank Wilson who gave us his blessing for the day. Tea and coffee were served before we left sharp at 10.30am
On board we given our travel itinerary and introduced to our guide Mr David Frood. On crossing the Erskine Bridge we looked down on Dumbarton Rock and Castle. Traveling along the West side of Loch Lomond we got a glimpse of Ben Lomond, which is Scotland’s most southern Munro. Our route took us along the head of Loch Long and next we came upon Rest and be Thankful mountain pass, what a view we had of the mountains and valleys! Onwards then to Inveraray.
On arrival in Inveraray we had time for a sea breeze and some retail therapy before a lovely lunch in the George Hotel with lots of chat and catch up with sisters not seen in some time.
On departing Inveraray we passed along Glencoe, known as the Weeping Glen. The scenery was spectacular. We arrived in Oban for afternoon tea at the Caledonian Hotel. After this we started on the home journey for Clydebank where a relaxed supper awaited us and chat of the lovely experience we had all enjoyed.
The day, besides, enjoying the beautiful scenery, was a day of prayer, experiencing the wonderful works of God in nature.
We express our deep thanks to Sr. Rita and her team for a most memorable day out together.
Srs Teresa Harmon and Mary Teresa Clarke also share with us about the day:
“The day out was wonderful. We gathered, celebrated Mass, enjoyed the lovely beauty of the Scottish Highlands and Lowlands, enjoyed each other’s company and lots of good food!
We can only thank God for all the blessings He sent us. We thought that no artist, no matter how good, could do justice to the awesome scenery which we saw on the journey. Every bend in the road revealed a new picture, be it water, mountain and even snow.
But there was something else very special about this Congregational Day of Celebration. There was a sense of joy and gratitude as we came together to celebrate 200 years. The love and companionship was something to treasure.
For us, as we have reflected, we were celebrating the great love and abundance of Our Lord, who gave us, through Mother Mary Aikenhead, the joy of serving Him in his most favoured ones the ‘suffering poor’
We, the Sisters of Charity of the English and Scottish Province, in the little patch of time given us, have each one, in her way responded to His call and accepted with love this timeless charism.
The joy and privilege is ours.
May Caritas Christi Urget Nos – into the next 200 years!”