English Province Roman Union Centenary


English Province Roman Union Centenary


English Province Roman Union - 100 years

Friday 13th October 2023 marked 100 years since we became a province of the Roman Union and this seemed an appropriate point in our history to take time out. Time to celebrate, to give thanks, to reflect on our past, our present and our future.
As a small country, it has never been difficult geographically for us to meet together. Westgate for many years was our Provincial hub, could accommodate us in its boarding school and had the added advantage of companionable seaside walks! As a group, we knew each other and our chapters of the full province, though at times more diverse than unified, have enabled us to face issues, embrace difference, and move forward together. So, the past ten years has been a period when nearly all the sisters have faced radical changes in community structure, apostolate, and location. The many communities in 2014 are now reduced to just two, North Thames and South Thames each made up of component units.

Our Centenary Celebrations had been a year in the making! We had a planning committee and the chaplains of each of the schools met throughout the year to discuss logistics, liturgy and how each school would contribute to the day. We are grateful to all those who worked hard in the planning stages, to ensure the success of the event. The Centenary year was also marked with the creation of a logo. A competition was sent out to the Ursuline schools to create a logo that represented 100 years of the English Province. We received lots of wonderful entries and the winner was a student from St Angela’s, Forest Gate (left).
‘Roots and Shoots’, our much anticipated new book was also released. It is a living history, telling the stories of our Ursuline Sisters throughout our 100 years as part of the Roman Union and it is a fitting tribute to the dedication and service of them all. We are grateful to Sister Una McCreesh and Elizabeth Durrant for compiling the book and ensuring that each Sister in the province was able to contribute in some way.

So, Friday 13th 2023 became A RED LETTER DAY for our province. In our culture, Friday 13th is considered unlucky and normally to be avoided but this Friday 13th changed it indelibly in our memories. We were delighted that Sisters, Sue, Ann-Marie and Benigna were able to come from the Generalate, and also our European Ursuline Provincials, regrettably due to last minute circumstances two were unable to be among them. None the less, there was a real sense of internationalism and joy to be in each other’s company for a weekend.

Friday 13th began with Mass at 12 noon in St Antony’s church Forest Gate. The chief concelebrant, Bishop Alan of Brentwood, was accompanied by ten Priests, nearly 200 friends and 220 staff and students from the Ursuline schools. The Parish Master of Ceremonies, Andrew Corriette (right) took the day off from work, so that the ambitious liturgy, designed by the Ursuline schools’ chaplains went faultlessly and comfortably. After the ecclesial entry, a representative group from each of the 8 Ursuline schools, now closely bonded in Ursuline Education Community (UEC), processed in behind their banners. 

At the offertory there was a beautiful liturgical dance performed by the host school, St Angela’s (left). There was a great sense of unity and participation by clergy, congregation and friends, who had assembled for the occasion and our large church was joyfully filled!

After a very uplifting Mass there was a meal for guests at St Angela’s school. School students met each other at a special Pizza Party in the school hall. The 200 invited guests went to the Sports’ Hall specially decked out for the occasion with round tables and comfortable chairs, there was even a mock red carpet in the entrance! The school caterers excelled themselves with a three-course meal. It was a wonderful social gathering of friends, past students and past staff; the hours slipped away.

We are hugely grateful for the outstanding support and help we received from the Headteacher and staff of St Angela’s school.

After the meal our Ursuline guests crossed the garden to the Forest Gate community house where we socialized and had supper. The day ended with a specially prepared Evening Prayer in chapel. We said our goodbyes and the end came to a very memorable Ursuline international event.

Fortunately, we were able to enjoy the company of many of our Ursuline visitors over the weekend and beyond and we were delighted that Sisters Sue, Ann-Marie and Benigna could be among them. Together they visited the sisters in the Chestnut Manor Nursing Home in Wanstead. This gave a welcome opportunity for our infirm sisters to share in the celebrations and to meet Mother General and Sister Ann-Marie. In addition, the province also had the opportunity to meet Sr. Sue in a special informal question and answer time together which we greatly appreciated.

Sr. Sue also found time to visit the Greenwich community, the founding source of the Australian Province, just before its sad closure this November.

Sr Una McCreesh OSU



13th October 2023 - Ursuline Roman Union - Centenary Anniversary Mass (youtube.com)