Thoughts of St. Chad's Staff and Volunteers

  • A scared and tired father
    Written by
    A scared and tired father

    A scared and tired father


    A scared and tired father

    A woman pregnant and in pain

    An uncertain future for an unborn child

    Who’ll face anger, exclusion, and disdain

    Behind a census of statistics

    We still hide the human face

    Of a desperation that dares to dream 

    - That begs of another, grace.

    But that one who said he had nothing,

    There’s nothing here left to give

    Was it in putting a face to a number he knew

    You deserved not just to survive but to live?

    And when he stretched an open hand

    Did God’s kingdom touch this earth?

    And is this still an incarnation moment

    When we dare believe in the other’s worth?

    When we smile ‘come in and welcome’

    To those whose lives are tattered and torn

    In these the tiniest glimmers of hope 

    – Each day anew the Messiah is born.



    by Stephanie Neville


    A poem by Steph Neville, a St. Chad's Sanctuary volunteer



    Written on Thursday, 11 December 2014 00:00 in Reflections Read 5693 times
  • A Few Reflections
    Written by


    Steph at St Chad's Sanctuary

    Steph’s Poem

    Being with the ESOL students at St Chad’s has inspired the following poem. I’m not sure, really, I have the right to write from the perspective of an asylum seeker, after all, what would I know? But with that proviso, and in the hope that those who have lived the experience for real would understand that I hope to express something in support of them, not belittle their experiences, here it is:


    -Am I here ?

    I am here

    And in amongst
    The cold grey concrete
    Is a silence
    Which does not sing
    Like the warm red dust
    Of home

    That offered hope
    That does not seem
    So golden as it looked
    When glimpsed
    From in amongst
    My shattered
    war torn

    And will you look
    And try to see
    That I am me
    Just me

    Or will you turn
    Your eyes away
    From all I’ve lived
    And loved
    And lost

    And will you hear
    My children’s tears
    For what they hoped
    And dared to dream
    That cannot be

    Or will you turn
    Your ears away
    From faltered words
    That cannot say
    All I have brought
    And wish to

    And all is cold
    So cold
    As I stand hunched
    Against harsh grey skies
    Of biting wind
    And bitter, angry fear

    You hold
    A hand out to me
    And speak
    A whispered breath
    Of warmth
    And welcome

    When you notice
    That I
    Just I
    I am here

    by Stephanie Neville



    Blessed Nicolas Barré

    Nicolas Barré founder of the Infant Jesus Sisters was born in France on October 21st 1621.  He was educated by the
    Jesuits, joined the Order of Minims of St. Francis of Paola and ordained priest in 1645.  He died in Paris on May 31st 1686

    17th century France suffered the ravages of war, a terrible plague and in 1662, when the Institute of Infant Jesus Sisters had its beginnings, half the children in Rouen died of famine.  Many were homeless and wandered the streets as beggars and for some, prostitution was the only means of livelihood.

    Nicolas Barré was very concerned about those who were ‘far from God’ and very disadvantaged.  He saw the need to make basic education more accessible to all. Nicolas deplored what he considered to be a great evil: the lack of education and learning.  There were hardly any schools for girls and very few for boys. Most primary school teachers were poorly educated and religious education was almost non-existent; there was profound ignorance of the gospel.

    Nicolas invited others to join him in meeting this need and the first non- fee paying school was opened near Rouen in 1662. He urged his teachers not to wait until pupils arrived at the school; they were to seek out especially those who might have been at risk.   He also set up Trade Schools so that girls could earn their living.  Again, the education offered was to be entirely free and any profit derived from the pupils’ work was to go to them.

    Nicolas encouraged the first members of the Institute to offer human and spiritual support in a variety of ways depending on the needs of those they met.  He encouraged them to go out to people in their surroundings; to find those who had lost direction in their lives and to look after people who were sick and abandoned.  He led them in ‘prayer of the heart’ by contemplating the mystery of a God who out of love for humanity became ‘even a little child’.  This way of praying deepened their humility and their abandonment to the will of the Father in union with Christ.  The history of the Institute up to the present day bears testimony to an amazing spirit of courage and daring born from this dependence on Providence, especially when its members are faced with what may seem like insurmountable obstacles!  Here is one of my favourite quotes from his writing:

    ‘It is in the valley of the greatest misfortune and tears that God is pleased to bring the soul to the heights – heights that reach even the infinity of God’s greatness.  Experience shows that one can see the stars shining more brightly from the bottom of a well than in full daylight from the ground above’.  (R.R.)

    The work of Nicolas Barré is carried on today by the international Institute of Infant Jesus Sisters and by lay women and men who are inspired by his spirit.  Nicolas Barré was beatified on March 7th. 1999.

    Margaret Walsh IJS (Infant Jesus Sister)  (October 2012)


    For further information:




    Novena to the Holy Spirit:


    After his resurrection from the dead and before ascending into heaven, Jesus told his disciples tostay in the city until they are‘clothed with power from on high.’ (Luke 24:49)

    Faithful to the Lord’s wishes, the disciples returned to the Upper Room in Jerusalem where ‘they all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus’ (Acts 1:14). When the day of Pentecost came, the promise of the Father was fulfilled and ‘all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:4).

    To be a follower of Christ, we, like the first disciples, need to be clothed with power from on high, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Pentecost Sunday falls onMay 19th this year. Beginning today, May 10th, we might wish to return to our own special ‘upper room’ and make a Novena of prayer leading up to this celebration.



    Let us pray:

    Divine Being, in possession of my soul,

    Holy Spirit, hidden in my inmost being,

    Sacred Flame, consuming from within my bones,

    Spirit of the spirit of my flesh,

    No longer need we search for you abroad,

    since you surround us on all sides,

    and are present in the very depths of our being.

    We imagine you as dwelling in the highest heaven,

    yet you are to be found here among us

    in the lowliest places. (Nicolas Barré: Spiritual Canticle 1)

    Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.

    And kindle in them the fire of your love.

    Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

    And you will renew the face of the earth.

    O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of your faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in your consolation.

    Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Written on Wednesday, 10 December 2014 00:00 in Reflections Read 12510 times