I was thrilled to see that in the January issue of the Pic there is an article about the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. My mother was educated by the sisters in London and much later, of course, I was school chaplain and a governor at the same school. It was a great privilege to associated with the FCJs in this way.
Two things impressed me about them. They always cared for the whole pupil. Academic and sporting success were as important as they were in any school, but they also were concerned about the family life and well-being of the whole person. This began with spiritual care but extended beyond this to a real love for the individual student as they developed, even if they were not normally loveable.
I remember two frightened young girls joining the school who had come from the Congo to stay with their aunt. They didn’t know a word of English but very soon they were accepted into the school community; and it was a proud day for me five years later to see these same girls, now self-confident young women, go on to university and take their place in society. These sorts of miracles happened regularly.
The second aspect of the sisters which I love is their refusal to give up. Despite diminishing numbers, they carry on their mission in education with the same vigour, but they are also starting new ventures. Here in Liverpool the spirituality centre at St Hugh’s which the FCJs are developing will be a gift to all of us in the Archdiocese.
Congratulation sisters on your double century, thank you for your work in Liverpool, and may you continue to walk as companions of the Lord.