Ursuline Students of English at Westgate: 2017


By Sister Beatrice Garnett

We have had an interesting year, different, but our English student visitors are always interesting, good for a wider audience.

First of all, because of catering constraints, visitors were limited to no more than two at a time.  So, even though the numbers seem small, it lasted us from the end of May right through to the end of August with an occasional week off to re-think and sort out the photo-copying.

Who did we have?  As serious students of English, we had four: one each from Slovenia, Brazil, France and Poland.  The first two, Sr Moyca Cafuta (Slovenia) and Sr Gabriela Andrade (Brazil) had some English and were en route to the Young Ursulines meeting in Rome, needing as much language as possible. 

As they came in June, when our local language school, London House, is not at peak capacity, they were able to have morning classes there.  These are usually useful as our students get experience hearing different nationalities but this year the demand wasn’t for their level so they ended up as a class of two, good in one respect but really rather disappointing.  Their outings were interesting and enjoyed. 

Sr Moyca had already had time in London so she understood Canterbury, the cathedral (we were there at the lead service locally for “Thy Kingdom Come” with Archbishop Justin Welby and a nave full of all faiths and none). 

Sr Gabriela was different, this was her first visit to England so we had a full day in London managing to see what she wanted – the usual sites plus the London Eye and the Natural History Museum!  Gabriela also became adept at using local tourist info and day-rider tickets on the ‘loop’ buses.  How many of us have visited the Hornby toy exhibition and the Crampton Tower?

Then we had a little space before welcoming Sr Daniela Duteriez from France who turned out to be enthusiastic; she really likes English and was already competent, using every resource we had.  Overlapping a week with Daniela was Sr Anna Gargasz, Poland, secretary to her provincial council, almost a beginner in English but determined to make maximum progress.  So I had two more London visits and at last I had the opportunity to do most of the walk set up to commemorate the Great Fire – very well documented.

Our visitors gave to us and Lourdes community, each in their own way.  We had two powerpoint presentations, one from Brazil including the national shrine to Our Lady founded after some fishermen retrieved her statue and the other from the new small community near St Saulve, a Province venture responding to the option for the poor.  Language support was shared, the visitors gained and the rest of us had an enlightening summer.