On Saturday 7th January, in her former parish church - St Malachy's, Armagh - Barbara Gartland made her first vows in the Society.
Barbara knew the Society for several years - including time spent working with our sisters in Uganda - before entering with the Irish-Scottish Province in late 2013. She spent the final part of her candidacy and most of her novitiate here in England, where she became a popular, much-loved sister and "honorary" member of ENW. In September 2016 Barbara moved to Dublin, where she has been volunteering at Merchant Quays Ireland, working with people who are homeless, addicts or families needing support. She has been missioned to continue living and working in Dublin after making her vows.
The Church asks all religious to initially make their vows temporarily, even if their deepest desire is to say "forever" right from the start: thus Barbara made her vows for six years, promising obedience, poverty and chastity, and committing herself to our service of education. By these vows RSCJ hand over all that we are to God in the Society, promising to live simply, open-heartedly and non-possessively, to put our liberty, gifts and potential at the service of the Society's mission and to love freely, generously and whole-heartedly.
The church was packed, with family, many friends - Catholic and non-Catholic - and sisters from different parts of Ireland, Scotland and England. At the beginning of the Mass Barbara greeted everyone with a brief but lovely explanation of the vows and way of life she was committing herself to, which you can read here...
We assure Barbara of our prayer, support and good wishes, as she begins this new stage of her journey with God, and being part of the Society and its mission. May she, in the spirit of the Epiphany, which we celebrated the same weekend, be the revelation of Christ and his love to people far and wide!