An unforgetable nine months




By Sister Ruth, visiting from Slovakia

In September I came to the UK as a stranger from Slovakia, where I had been teaching Slovak and biology at the St. Ursula's High School. My temporary home became London – the community house in Forest Gate. This year is very unique in my life because I have been spending it by exploring our Ursuline charism and spirituality in new places, through new people, new culture and many unforgetable experiences. Now I can tell that I do not feel like a stranger any more.

Four days a week my ministry is to be present in the Ursuline schools – two days at St. Angela's in Forest Gate and two days at the Ursuline Academy in Ilford. For me it is an invaluable experience to see how school life is going here in the UK. I work mostly with the school’s chaplains and RE teachers. I am involved in retreats for students, different spiritual activities in the schools, and RE and Science lessons. It is also very precious to meet and talk with the students in these schools.

The motto of the Ursuline schools all over the world is Serviam. I am very happy I can take part in the wonderful project Ursuline links. Once a week I help as a volunteer in the soup kitchen provided by the Franciscan friars of Renewal in Canning Town. During the half terms some of our students go with me to this place and together we discover what it means to serve those who are poor, homeless and marginalised. Each one of the people we meet has their own life story and a dignity as a child of God.

Very enriching for me is also to see and meet people of different religions, because in my own country most of the population are Christians, the majority Catholics. In the UK I find what the common things in our faiths are and I can experience the atmosphere of tolerance and respect towards other religions.

Nevertheless it is worthy to see how our Ursuline sisters in the UK work for justice and peace with the homeless, poor, refugees and marginalised in the different places where they see the need, according to the example of our founder St. Angela.

The time spent in this country has broadened my horizons, has given me time to think and endowed me with new friends. I am very grateful for that.