Knowle West is a Council House Estate in South Bristol consisting of five and a half thousand homes. It was built in the early nineteen thirties to re-house people from the slum areas of the City. There are approximately thirteen thousand three hundred people living on the Estate. Knowle West has suffered much neglect over the years, yet its people struggle on with a determination to see their area changed and regenerated, they are active and committed in doing this.
In 1935 the Sisters were invited by the Bishop of Clifton to build a Convent in Filwood Broadway which is the heart of Knowle West, he had already secured the site and also the site for a Parish School and Church. The Sisters accepted the invitation and the convent was completed in 1937 when a Community of Sisters moved in.
The Sisters worked as catechists giving religious instruction to adults and children, they organized various clubs for all age groups, planned social outings and events. They also visited families in their homes, supported the sick, elderly and housebound. Later on when the Parish School was built some of the Sisters taught in it.
It was several years later that the Parish Church of Christ the King was built, up until then it was to the Convent people came to seek advice and help.
Today, there are three Sisters in our Community, Florence, Jacqueline and Maura, all of us are involved in the life of the Estate, in building Ecumenical relations and in our Parish of Christ the King. Florence is involved in the Filwood Hope Project, an Advice and Drop-In Centre set up by the Christian Churches on the Estate in partnership with Network Christian Counselling. Jackie ministers to the sick, elderly and housebound in their own homes and she also set up a Ladies group who meet fortnightly and other times to do flower arranging for the church. Jackie organised and set up a Parish Choir which is a great asset to the Liturgy. Florence is a volunteer Assistant Chaplain in the University Hospital Bristol. Maura volunteers in our Parish Primary School, working with disadvantaged children, many of whom have major difficulties with learning, speech, socializing, and play. Maura also assists with preparation of children preparing for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
Our Convent is a centre for the Estate and Parish. As a Community we meet each evening to pray together, we dedicate one hour of prayer each week to praying for the Estate. We offer a regular safe space to a Prayer Group and to a Parent and Carers Support Group who cope with the problems of various addictions and to other needs as they arise. Our chapel is available to anyone who may wish to drop in for a short visit and prayer.
We feel privileged to live and minister in Knowle West, and we receive much more than we ever give.