21 Nov HOLY SOULS – Day 19
Sr Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Kathleen Featherston), always affectionately known in community as MIC, was born in Devon on 24th June 1917, while her father was away in the Navy during the first world war. She was the eldest of three girls and they enjoyed a happy family life full of warmth, music and humour, and centred on their Catholic faith. Kathleen was educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame in Plymouth and went on to their college at Mount Pleasant to train as a primary school teacher. She loved her work with the children, preferring, she said, the “under-eights”, as they didn’t yet know more than she did! She was teaching during the difficult days of the second world war when Plymouth, an important naval base, was very severely blitzed, and when the war shortages aggravated the poverty in which many of the children lived. More than once she provided, out of her own pocket, new clothes for a child’s First Communion.
Kathleen entered her local Carmel of Efford in 1947, and the community moved to a new location a few years later. When this house, too, proved unsuitable and the struggling community decided to disperse, MIC came with two other sisters to Notting Hill. She soon settled into the larger community and the more stable conditions of her new home, where her lovely singing voice was much appreciated. She was a generous worker and was in her element as cook for many years. Eventually however, she became handicapped by severe arthritis and had to be relieved of the heavy work of the kitchen. This was a real bereavement for her and she felt quite lost, until she found a new role as companion to one of our invalid sisters to whose bedside she made her laborious way each day. Eventually, she was reduced herself to a life of total dependency, which she accepted with amazing tranquillity. Despite her high level of need, she was easy to care for as she was always serene and cheerful, and grateful for the least thing done for her. Her voice remained sweet and true right to the end, and she continued to entertain us with songs and ditties remembered from a distant past. When she failed further and was told that Our Lord might be coming for her soon, she replied, “I can’t wait”, and she slipped quietly into eternity while her infirmarians were attending to her, on December 3rd 2010, the most recent member of our community to be laid to rest in our cemetery. We know that sister would have beamed with amusement with the mistake made by the stone masons who carved ST instead of SR on her tomb stone!