Friday, April 17

1938: The Sisters of St Catherine

Each Sunday at the end of all Masses at the Cathedral there is a retiring collection; the proceeds go to the 'doorstep fund', which is set aside for helping those in need. This weekly opportunity to help the poor and disadvantaged is nothing new: back in 1938 a new community of nuns was moving into the parish to help those suffering with illness, and the Mass-going community supported their work. The notice book for 20th March 1938 records, "At General Meeting last Sunday it was decided to amend the decision of three years ago and to devote one special collection per month towards the maintenance of the Sisters of St. Catherine instead of the school debt. This collection will be the last Sunday of the month or thereabouts. This decision will avoid any extra burden on the members of the congregation and will give each and every member the satisfaction that they are helping the cause of nursing the sick of the parish." This was, of course, in the days before the NHS, and there are records elsewhere that the parish supported in other ways those suffering through illness. At this time of year in 1938 the nuns were about to arrive, as the entry for 17th April tells us: "The new convent, 35 Higher Greaves, will be open Monday from 10 to 12 and from 2.30-5. If any member of the congregation wishes to look around, he or she will be welcome. The sisters leave their Mother House on Wednesday and will arrive here in Lancaster about 4pm on Friday. I would like you to give them a hearty welcome and to receive them kindly."