Belarus sisters showcase their skills

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St Robert’s Church, Morpeth

What do St Robert’s and St Bede’s (Bedlington) have in common with the Holy Father? Russia, of course.

Pope Francis had an historic meeting with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church on February 12 in Havana, the first time Eastern and Western Christians have had such a union in over 1,000 years.

Whilst not such a momentous occasion, on the Sunday before the commencement of Lent St Robert’s welcomed the Sisters of St Elisabeth Convent, Belarus, to spend the weekend with our parish and at St Bede’s, Bedlington.

In flawless English, unlike our desperate struggle with simply “Zdravstvujtye”, they explained about their work.

The convent is not only a spiritual home for over 100 nuns, but provides sanctuary for sick people, including those with mental health problems, disabilities and learning difficulties.

The homeless, ex-prisoners and those suffering from addictions are helped in their rehabilitation process on a farm run by the nuns, where husbandry, agricultural and building skills are developed, and also in the workshops, which produce exquisite icons, religious items, jewellery, etc.

The sisters very kindly brought some of these to sell after masses, but there was one complaint — not enough time. They should have stayed a week.

However, readers should view their website, a catalogue is available, and you will not be disappointed. It can be found at www.catalog.obitel-minsk.com

• Also just before Lent (no forbidden food and drink yet) the Morpeth Branch of the SVP hosted its annual Senior Citizens’ Dinner and Social.

On Saturday, February 6, 45 of the over 70s enjoyed an afternoon of good food and wine, with excellent entertainment provided by two of our parishioners and a professional artiste.

Everybody was lucky to win at least one raffle prize, and some also succeeded in winning at the bingo interlude, so nobody missed out.

We already have names for next year, so roll on February 2017.