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On Ash Wednesday, 6th March 2019, and after a short illness, God called Dorothy Bell to the fullness of life. She was 94 years old, and had been in the Society since 1947. She will be remembered especially for her significant contribution to Catholic education, and by many who knew her when she was principal of Digby-Stuart College. 

 

In February 2015, as she celebrated 65 years of vowed commitment, Dorothy wrote this reflection for this website...

 

 

Sixty-five years a religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart, now aged ninety - a pretty proud innings and not out yet!

 

Because I'd been a pupil at a Sacred Heart school and taught at another for a year before entering, I was fairly well adapted to the noviceship life in 1947, but how times have changed, and only love and trust and faith have carried me through. "Love is His meaning" was what I chose as my motto on receiving the habit, and "trahe me" (draw me) for first profession. Add to this the name and devise given to my group just before our final profession in 1956: "Foi en l'Amour" and "Mon coeur est votre, prenez-le" ("Faith in Love" and "my heart is yours, take it")... faith and love, love and faith!

 

On a lighter note, my mother used to send me flowers on St Valentine's day, the anniversary of my first vows - the idea that these came from a jilted lover spread among the pupils and persisted! But such was the love of parents for an only child called to religious life, they said "if it is her vocation, it is ours too" - how I long to greet them in heaven!

 

Shortly before our final profession in Rome, Pius XII, at a special audience, said he wished us such a thirst for souls that it would never let us rest. The idea of saving souls is not much in fashion these days, though the need has not lessened. In another favourite quote, this time of St Therese of Liseux: "You have only life's brief day to work for the salvation of souls and to give God this proof of your love. I wish that at the morrow of this day, which will be eternity, He may render you a thousandfold for the joys you have sacrified for Him."

 

Yes, of course there has been sacrifice, as there is in every life, in every vocation: to marriage, to parenthood, to a celibate life, to whatever God calls us to be. Looking back over a very long life (which as the years go by passes so quickly), it has all been so worthwhile, as long as I listen to God's voice ~ "trahe me"...

 

May Dorothy rest in peace, and enjoy her eternal reunion with her parents, and with the God who continues to draw her...

A fuller obituary will follow in due course. 

 

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