Today we arrived at last at Stone where we were met at the rail station by Sister Pauline, the major superior of the Dominican Sisters of Stone. Over a cup of tea and some Belgian biscuits we had a nice little chat about our congregations and our own spiritual journeys. Sister Pauline gave me a copy of their recently (2011) published congregational history titled "A Peculiar Kind of Mission." I promised to send her our own when it comes out in print.
Sister Cecily gave us a tour of the archives and copies of photos and documents related to my study. We discussed the connection between our congregation and theirs and searched for record of visits mentioned in Mother Pia's diary in their annals. Unfortunately nothing is recorded about those visits. Sister Cecily showed us a treasure chest of first editions and scrap books belonging to Francis Raphael Drane. I took photos to share when I get home.
Sister Mary Henry took us an extensive tour of inside and out upstairs and down and told us the stories of the people and places who are precious to them. I was able to videotape some of this and took photos of the shrine of Our Lady of Stone and the resting places of Mother Margaret, Francis Raphael Drane, and Bishop Ullathorne.
I lit your fifth candle and we prayed with the image of Our Lady Refuge of Sinners that is believed to be the first one used in public processions of Our Lady in England after the Act of Emancipation of Catholics in 1829. We prayed for all members of the Dominican Order, particularly those on mission in areas where life is hard and religious are persecuted because of their faith. We prayed for perseverance in the face of difficult decisions and economic hardship and for Our Lady to protect all who preach the Gospel with Love and Truth.