12 Nov HOLY SOULS – Day 12
In 1918, some months before the end of the First World War, M. Mary of Jesus of Notting Hill opened her fifth new Carmel, dedicated to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Highbury Park. This was in a small house given to her by the elderly Misses Pebardy as a gift which she accepted gratefully despite some of its practical limitations. Here a small community flourished for many years, and were very much loved by the local people, who used to come to Mass in the convent Chapel. About twenty sisters entered and were professed there during the first 40 years, but after the 2nd World War ended in 1945 the building was found to have dangerously deteriorated. In 1953 a fine new property was found for them at Totteridge, and they moved there hoping for a new lease of life for their little community. Sadly, this was not to be, and instead of receiving new vocations, many of the sisters suffered serious health problems, which all their courage and good will could not overcome, and they accepted advice to close and disperse to other Carmels. The Highbury Carmel had been much too small to allow of a private cemetery, so the sisters who had died there were buried in the local cemetery. However, after they moved to Totteridge four more sisters had died and had been laid to rest in their own grounds, which had been a consolation to them. When the Carmelites had to leave, the house was sold to the Consolata Fathers, a missionary Order, who, with their African students, were very happy to find four Carmelites resting in their midst. However, in 2002, the house again had to change hands. The Missionaries wanted to ensure an honourable arrangement for the four Carmelites, so the asked if they could be transferred to our cemetery. Preparations were made in accordance with Home Office regulations, and on January 14th 2003 Two Consolata Fathers came with the casket containing the remains. Mass was celebrated in our chapel, then a procession to the cemetery, and our sisters were laid to rest close to the grave containing the Bournemouth sisters. One of the four sisters had gone to the original Foundation at Highbury, being a novice at that time. Sr. Michael of Jesus, born in 1883, had entered Notting Hill in 1917, had been the first to make her profession at Highbury in 1919.She had taken part in the move to Totteridge, and died there in 1964 at the age of 81.